SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Indiana found its bearing in the paint after losing its composure late against San Antonio.
Malcolm Brogdon scored 26 points, TJ Warren added 23 and the Pacers rallied to beat the Spurs 116-111 on Monday night after blowing a 15-point lead.
“We just had to calm down,” Indiana coach Nate McMillan said. “We had get back to calm and execute out there.”
The Pacers won their fourth straight, moving into a fifth-place tie with the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference.
Patty Mills scored 24 points to lead San Antonio and Trey Lyles added 20. The Spurs, who have lost eight of 11, dropped four games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for eighth place in the West.
“It’s all about being competitive and executing and you’ve got to do it for more of the 48 minutes than your opponent,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “We didn’t do anything in the second quarter to help ourselves. In the second half, we competed our and did a really good job, but little things got us, execution-wise.”
San Antonio trailed 84-69 with four and a half minutes left in the third quarter before rallying. The Spurs went ahead 102-98 with 6:44 remaining in the game, fuelled by a pair of three-pointers each from Mills and Lonnie Walker IV and an emphatic slam by Walker.
Walker finished with 10 points.
The Pacers regained control by pounding the paint against the undersized Spurs, who were without injured big men LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl.
Domantas Sabonis had nine of his 14 points in the final quarter.
Indiana was without Victor Oladipo, who suffered swelling in his right knee following the team’s morning shootaround. McMillan said it’s too early to tell how long Oladipo will be out.
“He’s a huge piece to what we do,” Brogdon said of Oladipo. “But this is a locker room full of confident guys. When one person goes out, the beauty of this team is we adapt, and we have guys that can step up and fill in and continue to play good ball.”
It took some adjustments early, though.
The Spurs made their first four shots, including back-to-back three-pointers by Lyles and Bryn Forbes, in racing to a 10-0 lead.
“They are a couple of players down right now, but you can’t expect to come to San Antonio and get an easy win,” Indiana centre Myles Turner said. “Every time I’ve played here since I’ve been in the league it’s been a tough time.”
The Pacers responded with their own hot streak on threes. Indiana was nine for 14 on three-pointers in the second quarter.
Brogdon’s driving, reverse layup gave the Pacers their first lead at 48-46 with 6:21 remaining in the first half. Indiana extended its lead to 61-51 on one of Doug McDermott’s four three-pointers.
McDermott had 14 points, going four of five on threes.