INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 32 points and the San Antonio Spurs clinched their NBA-record 20th consecutive winning season with a 110-106 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 10 of his 19 points during the final 6 1/2 minutes as the Spurs improved to 42-13 in the season following Tim Duncan’s retirement. They have had a winning record every season since 1997-98, when Duncan was a rookie, and broke a tie with the Utah Jazz, who had 19 straight winning seasons from 1985-2004.
George’s 3-pointer with 21 seconds left cut it to 107-104, but the Spurs closed it out at the free-throw line to bounce back from their loss in New York on Sunday.
Indiana took a 95-91 lead with 5:17 left. But the Pacers missed five free throws after that and turned the ball over with 29 seconds left in a four-point game.
San Antonio looked ready to pull away when it used an 11-0 run in the third-quarter to make it 81-72.
But the Pacers closed the quarter on a 7-2 flurry to get within 83-79 and opened the fourth on an 8-1 spurt to retake an 87-84 lead on back-to-back breakaway dunks from Monta Ellis. They just couldn’t hold it against the team with the NBA’s second-best record.
Leonard has scored 30 or more points in five straight games.
Spurs: Leonard also extended his streak of double-digit scoring games to 84, the longest streak by a San Antonio player since Duncan’s 91-game streak ended in 2003. … Danny Green, Tony Parker and David Lee each scored 12 points and Dwayne Dedmon had six points and 12 rebounds. … San Antonio was 23 of 27 from the free-throw line. … Coach Gregg Popovich earned win No. 1,031, moving within 24 of Phil Jackson for sixth in league history.
Pacers: Jeff Teague had 15 points, Rodney Stuckey finished with 13 and Kevin Seraphin had 12 in his first start of the season. … Indiana has lost eight of its last nine home games against San Antonio. … Indiana was outscored 15-4 on second-chance points and 44-36 on points in the paint. … The Pacers were 21 of 30 on free throws. … Starting forward Thaddeus Young sat out again with a sprained left wrist. … C.J. Miles made one 3 to move within two of Mike Dunleavy (408) for No. 7 in the franchise’s NBA history.