INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Derrick White and Jakob Poeltl took advantage of their early mismatches by delivering a quick knockout punch and leading the San Antonio Spurs to a 109-94 victory over short-handed Indiana on Monday night.
White scored 16 of his 25 points in the first quarter, while Poeltl finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in the Spurs’ second straight win.
”I think we were aggressive and decisive on offense,” Poeltl said. ”We didn’t hestitate, we just kind of went for it. I thought our defense was really good against Phoenix as well and that’s just what fueled us. We’re playing with more energy now and it’s showing up in games.”
It certainly did against the short-handed Pacers.
Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert each scored 18 to lead Indiana, which has lost three in a row. But this time, the Pacers were without two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis (sore lower back) and defensive player of the year candidate Myles Turner (right foot) as well as T.J. Warren, who will miss the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his left foot. Turner’s replacement, Goga Bitadze, also didn’t finish the game because of a sprained left ankle.
”It’s a challenge,” Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren said. ”Goga we wound up playing him a lot more but he spained his ankle in t he first and you could see he was having a hard time getting up and down the floor, so I had to take him out.”
Without the Pacers missing so many key players, White and Poeltl made sure Indiana never had a chance.
White’s 3-pointer capped a 15-4 run to close the first quarter, which gave the Spurs a 36-21 lead they never surrendered. LeVert scored six straight late in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 47-38. But San Antonio still led 55-44 at halftime and sealed the victory by extending the lead to 21 in the third quarter.
The game was marred by a fourth-quarter shoving match that resulted in technical fouls on the two instigators – Indiana’s JaKarr Sampson and Patty Mills – as well as Spurs forward Rudy Gay. Sampson was ejected following the brief fracas.
”No,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said when asked if he could recall any time when Mills got involved in a similar scenario. ”He’s too sweet, too nice a guy. He’s not looking for a fight.”
Spurs: DeMar DeRozan finished with 18 points and needs five more to pass Earl Monroe (17,454 points) for No. 87 on the NBA’s career scoring list. … Poeltel also had seven rebounds and Drew Eubanks matched his career high with (13) rebounds. … Dejounte Murray had 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Pacers: Brogdon also had six rebounds and five assists. … Bitadze had seven points, ninerebounds and matched his career high with (five) blocks. … … Indiana also played without backup forward Jeremy Lamb (sore left knee). … Indiana is 1-5 in its last six home games and 9-17 this season at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Pacers announced Monday that Turner is out indefinitely because of a partial tear in the plantar plate of his right foot. He has missed 10 games this season and yet started Monday ranked second in the league with 159 blocks, trailing only Rudy Gobert of Utah. Turner’s streak of 64 consecutive games with a block ended during Indiana’s recent road trip. Turner has a league-leading 12 games with five or more blocks this season.
The Pacers wore a black stripe on their uniforms for the first time Monday in honor of Hall of Fame coach and longtime color analyst Bobby ”Slick” Leonard, who died last week at age 88. They will wear the stripe on both home and road jerseys the rest of this season.
Then, before the national anthem, the Pacers also paid tribute to the eight people killed in last week’s mass shooting at the FedEx facility. The public address announcer announced each name as photos of the eight victims were displayed on the video board above center court.
Spurs: Head home Wednesday to take on Miami in the first of back-to-back home games.
Pacers: Host Oklahoma City on Wednesday in the second game of a three-game homestand.
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