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Spurs dominate second half, crush Pacers

Feb 6, 2008 - 4:14 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- The San Antonio Spurs got themselves a new point guard on Tuesday night, and they immediately introduced him to their brand of suffocating defense.

Damon Stoudamire scored 11 points in 22 minutes in his debut as the Spurs dominated the second half and cruised to a 116-89 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

"I haven't played in a game in like 35, 40 days, so it felt good to get back out there and run up and down," Stoudamire said. "As the game went on, I got more comfortable."

Tim Duncan led the way with 19 points and 15 rebounds and Manu Ginobili pitched in 15 points for San Antonio, which held Indiana to just 30 points in the second half on 11-of-42 shooting to even its record at 2-2 on its current nine-game "Rodeo Road Trip."

"We made some subtle changes in our defense, but honestly, they just missed some shots finally," Duncan said. "They missed some shots, and we continued to make some shots, and that pressure mounted a little more and all of a sudden their shooting gallery became a little tougher for them."

Stoudamire, who signed with the Spurs on Saturday after being bought out by the Memphis Grizzlies, was making his first start for his new team.

"I learned about another 10 plays tonight just in the game," Stoudamire said. "A lot of the things we were doing we hadn't went over. I was learning a lot of it on the fly."

With starting point guard Tony Parker missing his third straight game with a bone spur in his left heel, Stoudamire and backup Jacque Vaughn combined for 27 points.

Indiana matched San Antonio basket for basket in the first half, going into the locker room in a 59-59 deadlock.

The Pacers shot 68 percent (23-of-34) in the first 24 minutes, highlighted by Travis Diener, Troy Murphy, Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy, who combined for 51 points on 21-of-28 shooting.

But the Spurs matched that offense, shooting 23-of-45 (51 percent) led by Duncan's 14 points.

"We stood toe-to-toe with them and just kind of waited for our defense to catch up," Duncan said.

The third quarter proved to be the turning point for Indiana, which went stone cold out of the break, scoring just nine points on 4-of-22 shooting in the third. The Pacers went nearly eight minutes before hitting their second field goal of the quarter - David Harrison's layup with 4:01 remaining.

"They turned it up another notch in the third quarter and we didn't have that notch to match them," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "I think our guys knew (San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich) wouldn't be happy with how they defended us in the first half."

Ginobili said San Antonio wanted to improve its defense after halftime.

"We were not very happy with the kind of first half they had but, in the third quarter, we really stepped up and our defense improved totally," Ginobili said. "We changed the game there."

Leading, 81-68, going into the final quarter, San Antonio turned up the offense and ran away with the win. With the reserves playing most of the final 12 minutes, the Spurs put 35 points on the board on 14-of-24 (58 percent) shooting.

Granger led the Pacers with 16 points - just two in the second half - as Murphy, Dunleavy and Diener combined for four points after the half. Indiana now has dropped seven straight games.

"We had some chances tonight, but we didn't get it done," Pacers guard Jamaal Tinsley said. "We must improve our chemistry and return to a high level of work ethics."

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