INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Derrick White and Jakob Poeltl took advantage of their early mismatches by delivering a quick knockout punch and leading the San Antonio Spurs to a 109-94 victory over short-handed Indiana on Monday night.
White scored 16 of his 25 points in the first quarter, while Poeltl finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in the Spurs’ second straight win.“I think we were aggressive and decisive on offense,” Poeltl said.
“We didn’t hestitate, we just kind of went for it. I thought our defense was really good against Phoenix as well and that’s just what fueled us. We’re playing with more energy now and it’s showing up in games.”
It certainly did against the short-handed Pacers.
Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert each scored 18 to lead Indiana, which has lost three in a row. But this time, the Pacers were without two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis (sore lower back) and defensive player of the year candidate Myles Turner (right foot) as well as T.J. Warren, who will miss the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his left foot. Turner’s replacement, Goga Bitadze, also didn’t finish the game because of a sprained left ankle.
“It’s a challenge,” Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren said. “Goga we wound up playing him a lot more but he spained his ankle in t he first and you could see he was having a hard time getting up and down the floor, so I had to take him out.”
Without the Pacers missing so many key players, White and Poeltl made sure Indiana never had a chance.
White’s 3-pointer capped a 15-4 run to close the first quarter, which gave the Spurs a 36-21 lead they never surrendered. LeVert scored six straight late in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 47-38. But San Antonio still led 55-44 at halftime and sealed the victory by extending the lead to 21 in the third quarter.
The game was marred by a fourth-quarter shoving match that resulted in technical fouls on the two instigators — Indiana’s JaKarr Sampson and Patty Mills — as well as Spurs forward Rudy Gay. Sampson was ejected following the brief fracas.
“No,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said when asked if he could recall any time when Mills got involved in a similar scenario. “He’s too sweet, too nice a guy. He’s not looking for a fight.”