INDIANAPOLIS – San Antonio is steamrolling its way into the playoffs. Indiana can’t even figure out what’s wrong.
And a game that might have been billed as an NBA Finals preview just a week or two ago demonstrated just how wide the disparity is now.
Tony Parker scored 22 points, Boris Diaw added 14 and the Spurs broke the franchise record with their 18th consecutive victory, 103-77 over the Pacers on Monday.
“Great streak right now, this was a good win for us tonight,” Tim Duncan said.
“To continue the streak, all that is good. We’ll worry about a couple of things, staying healthy, finishing the season strong and hopefully going into the playoffs with the confidence we’re playing with now.”
It seems nothing can derail the Spurs (58-16) right now.
On a night Duncan went 3 of 10 from the field and Manu Ginobili managed only six points and two assists in 16 minutes, San Antonio’s Big Three added one more line to its already impressive resume by breaking the franchise record on the 18th anniversary of the only previous 17-game winning streak in Spurs’ history.
This was not just another win.
The loss was a devastating blow to the Pacers (52-23), who have made no secret of their desire to get home-court advantage in the East and had a seemingly safe three-game lead after beating Miami at home last Wednesday. But Indiana has lost three straight, finished March with an 8-9 record and with the lowest scoring average of any team in the league.
Indiana has lost five of six overall and seem to be in full panic mode with seven games left in the regular season.
“It’s awful, we’ve been in a downward spiral and we’ve been splintering a little bit,” Pacers center Roy Hibbert said.
The Spurs put Indiana in a 13-5 hole, then used a 15-0 run to take a 32-15 lead early in the second quarter, forcing Indiana to play catch-up. The Pacers never got closer than seven.
Heat 93, Raptors 83
In Miami, LeBron James scored 32 points, Chris Bosh added 18 and the Heat moved into the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a victory over Toronto.
Chris Andersen scored 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting and Mario Chalmers added 12 for Miami, which was again without Dwyane Wade, Greg Oden and Ray Allen.
Bobcats 100, Wizards 94
In Charlotte, Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson each had a double-double and the hosts rallied from an 11-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat Washington,.
Hawks 103, 76ers 95
In Atlanta, Paul Millsap scored 28 points and Lou Williams added 22 off the bench, rallying the Hawks to a victory that denied Philadelphia its first winning streak in nearly three months.
Clippers 114, T-Wolves 104
In Minneapolis, Darren Collison had 28 points and seven assists, and Los Angeles didn’t miss a beat with Blake Griffin out with a back injury against Minnesota.
Star guard Chris Paul had 22 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, and Matt Barnes scored 19 points for the Clippers (53-22).
Knicks 92, Jazz 83
In Salt Lake City, Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points on 11-of-19 shooting, and New York pulled away from Utah to stay one game back of the final Eastern Conference playoff berth.
Tyson Chandler added 15 points and nine rebounds, to help the Knicks (32-43) finish 3-2 on their western trip.
Grizzlies 94, Nuggets 92
In Denver, Zach Randolph had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Mike Conley added 19 points and Memphis kept pace in the playoff race with a victory over the Nuggets.
Bulls 94, Celtics 80
In Chicago, Mike Dunleavy had 22 points to lead five Bulls in double figures and Chicago broke open a close game with 13 straight points at the start of the fourth quarter to beat Boston.
Pistons 116, Bucks 111
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Greg Monroe had 28 points and 14 rebounds and Detroit ended a three-game skid with a win over lowly Milwaukee.
Kings 102, Pelicans 97
In New Orleans, DeMarcus Cousins had 35 points and 14 rebounds, and Sacramento snapped a three-game skid by beating the hosts.