INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Monta Ellis scored 26 points and Paul George added 23 to help the Indiana Pacers end the San Antonio Spurs’ eight-game winning streak with a 99-91 victory Monday night.
The Pacers led by double digits most of the night and hung on after San Antonio trimmed the deficit to three several times in the final 2 minutes.
It’s only the second time in 17 meetings since 2008 that the Pacers have beaten the Spurs.
Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge each had 23 points for the Spurs.
The loss came hours after the team said coach Gregg Popovich did not make the trip because of a “family medical situation.” A team spokesman did not provide additional details about his absence.
Without Popovich, San Antonio wasn’t the same and the Pacers took advantage.
Indiana grabbed the lead with a 14-0 first-quarter run and never trailed again.
It was a stark contrast to the first meeting between the old ABA rivals, which San Antonio won 106-92.
George had his worst game of the season, going 1 of 14 from the field and 1 of 5 on 3-pointers. On Monday, George was 7 of 20 from the field, 2 of 5 on 3s, made all seven of his free throws and completed a three-point play with 15.7 seconds left to seal it.
But San Antonio had much bigger problems. It missed 14 of its first 15 3s, shot a season-low 35.4 percent from the field and spent almost all night playing catch-up.
After giving up back-to-back baskets to start the game, the Pacers ran off 14 points in a row to take the lead that they extended to 25-13 after one quarter.
They led by as much as 16 in the second and never let San Antonio get closer than five until Aldridge scored on a follow shot with 1:55 to play.
The Spurs cut the deficit to three two more times after that, but Ellis’ basket with 26 seconds left and George’s three-point play wrapped it up.
Popovich is also expected to miss Tuesday night’s game at Minnesota. In his place, assistant coach Ettore Messina filled in. Popovich is expected to return to the bench Thursday night when the Spurs host Chicago.
Spurs: The Spurs scored 13 points in the first quarter, their lowest total in any quarter this season. … San Antonio still has the best record in franchise history after 63 games…. Tim Duncan had 14 rebounds to give him 14,998 in his career. … Tony Parker left with a bruised left toe in the second half and did not return. … The loss also ended a six-game road winning streak.
Pacers: Forward C.J. Miles missed the game with a strained left calf. … George was 2 of 5 on 3-pointers, making him 175 of 461 and putting him within striking distance of Reggie Miller for fifth on the team’s single-season list in both categories. Miller made 180 3s in 2001-02 and attempted 464 in 2000-01. … The Pacers held a moment of silence before the National Anthem in honor of former first lady Nancy Reagan, who died Sunday. … Indiana University guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell drew loud applause when he was shown on the big screen television.