The San Antonio Spurs are on a historic roll while the Indiana Pacers remain stuck in a late-season downward spiral.
Tony Parker scored 22 points and the surging Spurs steamrolled the slumping Pacers 103-77 on Monday for their franchise-record 18th consecutive regular-season victory, in a mismatch of Conference leaders.
“We don’t think about the streak,” Parker said. “We just want to play well. We’re playing great basketball and hopefully we’re not peaking too soon.”
Though the Spurs finished March a perfect 16-0, coach Gregg Popovich says its not about the numbers.
“We’ve never set any numerical goals to win a division or x number of games in a row,” he explained. “We just talk about being the best team we can be by playoff time and improve.”
Boris Diaw added 14 points while Kawhi Leonard had 13 with 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who haven’t tasted defeat since February 21.
While red-hot San Antonio keeps winning, icy-cold Indiana is searching for answers.
The Pacers had been atop the Eastern Conference since the start of the season but recorded their sixth loss in seven games to slip behind Miami after the Heat’s 51-22 win over Toronto.
“We have to regroup and answer some questions about ourselves and our identity,” frustrated Pacers forward David West explained.
After an 8-10 March, the Pacers must get back to trusting each other.
Paul George scored 16 points, Lance Stephenson and Roy Hibbert added 15 apiece for the Pacers, who shot a frosty 38 per cent en route to their worst home loss of the season.
“I don’t know what it is. It’s just dead out there for us,” George said.
Elsewhere, the Charlotte Bobcats beat the Washington Wizards 100- 94, Atlanta Hawks beat the Philadelphia 76ers 103-95 to halt a six-game slide and remain the eighth seed in the East playoff race.
The New York Knicks beat the Utah Jazz 92-83 with Carmelo Anthony dropping in 34 points to stay one game behind Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the East.
The LA Clippers defeated Minnesota Timberwolves 114-104, while the Memphis Grizzlies scraped home against the Denver Nuggets 94-92. The victory moved Memphis into a three-way tie with Dallas and Phoenix for the seventh spot in the Western Conference playoff race.
The Chicago Bulls won 94-80 against the Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons beat Milwaukee Bucks 116-111, and the Sacramento Kings won 102-97 over the New Orleans Pelicans.