KAWHI Leonard scored the San Antonio Spurs final nine points, including the game-winner, to survive a wild finish over the Indiana Pacers, 100-99, at the AT&T Center on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time).
The Spurs played catch-up for most of the game in a back-and-forth battle where the Pacers led by as much as eight early on but could not put away a gritty San Antonio side.
Trailing by three entering the fourth period, the San Antonio reserves led by David Lee mounted a run to take a 91-89 lead midway through the quarter. But Indiana’s trio of Paul George, Myles Turner, and CJ Miles never gave up and countered every Leonard basket, with Turner’s 18-footer putting the Pacers back on top, 99-98, with 1:35 to go.
Both teams traded turnovers in the ensuing possessions before Monta Ellis drew a foul on Patty Mills and headed to the stripe for a chance to extend the lead with only nine ticks left. But the Pacers guard came up empty, setting up Leonard’s go-ahead jumper with only two seconds remaining. George then flubbed a three-pointer at the buzzer as the Spurs escaped with their fifth straight win.
Leonard finished with 31 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio, now at 46-13. Pau Gasol and Lee came off the bench to add 18 markers apiece.
George led the Pacers (31-30) with 22 points, while Miles and Turner added 19 and 16 markers, respectively.