Josh Richardson scored 27 points from the bench and Tre Jones made a crucial pair of free throws in the final seconds as the San Antonio Spurs held on after a crazy final stretch to win 137-134 over Indiana Short-term Pacers on Friday in Indianapolis.
The Spurs survived a bad final five minutes as Indiana repeatedly fouled Jakob Poeltl, forcing the 51.8% career free-throw player into a successful conversion. Poeltl made 10 of his 16 fouls in that span while the Pacers cut 21 points to 135-134 after being robbed by Tyrese Haliburton and cleared the ball to just 6.7 seconds.
Jones’ two free throws with 3.8 seconds remaining forced the Pacers to take 3 points in an attempt to equalize the game. Bennedict Mathurin missed a shot from 26 yards for Indiana with 1.7 seconds left for Spurs to get down.
Devin Vassell scored a career-high 23 points for the Spurs while Keldon Johnson also had 23. Poeltl had 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Jones added 18 points and Zach Collins reached 11. San Antonio had 102 points at the end of the third inning, matching its total output in its season-opening loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.
Haliburton led the Pacers with 27 points and 12 assists, while Mathurin added 26 points. Isaiah Jackson scored 16, Andrew Nembhard scored 14 and Buddy Hield scored 13. Indiana played without starting center Myles Turner (ankle sprain).
Indiana took the lead from the start but trailed off 50-47 after a 5:02 save by Goga Bitadze before Spurs took an eight-point lead to take an 11-point lead. Richardson hit a three-pointer on the whistle to give San Antonio a 70-55 advantage at halftime.
Mathurin led all scorers in the half with 16 points from the bench while Richardson’s 14 edged past Spurs. San Antonio hit 12 3-pointers at halftime after taking just seven shots from outside the arc in their opening loss of the season.
San Antonio never took his foot off the accelerator, taking the lead by 21 points in the third inning before giving it a 102-85 advantage in the final 12 minutes. Five players scored doubles at the end of the third round.
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