Coach Gregg Popovich made an adjustment to the way he managed his minutes rotation in this game, and it paid dividends in the first half.
He started the usual group of Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, DeMar DeRozan, Keldon Johnson, and Jakob Poeltl.
Murray notched four early assists, pushing the pace and attacking to create wide open opportunities for his teammates. In transition, he slowed down just enough to occupy multiple defenders, leaving DeRozan free on the outside, streaking in for an easy dunk.
Derrick White got into a flow, shooting 4/6 from three in the first half and getting some wide open catch-and-shoot looks out of the gate.
Popovich took Murray off, and allowed the red-hot White to keep shooting and play more of a ball-dominant role. He finished the first half with a game-high 16 points.
Murray came back on for a few shared possessions with White, who then went off for Lonnie Walker IV. Popovich staggered his starting backcourt until the final four minutes of the half.
San Antonio carried a 55-44 lead into halftime.
The entire starting lineup thrived in the third quarter, pushing the lead up to 21. The bench ran into a snag trying to generate good shots, but heading to the fourth, San Antonio still held an 82-66 lead.
Jakob Poeltl made one of the most electrifying plays of his career, and it started with a situation most centers dread.
He switched onto Malcom Brogdon on the perimeter, forced him to pass on the drive, then ripped a steal. Then, the big man dribbled FOUR TIMES as he pushed the pace in transition before diming it to the open man. He got it right back, and crammed a huge dunk.
In the fourth quarter, JaKarr Sampson decided to pick on Patty Mills for some reason. The 3.4 point-per game scorer shoved Mills under the basket, and when Patty came back and popped him on a hard screen, Sampson got in Mill's face and head-butted him.
Mills didn't flinch or step back, he even appeared to laugh. Rudy Gay came in and said wordlessly, "pick on someone your own size."
Sampson was ejected, and Mills and Gay each given technical fouls. The rest of the game was pretty dull, a good thing for the Spurs as they maintained a large lead.
The third unit of Tre Jones, Devin Vassell, Keita Bates-Diop, Luka Samanic, and Gorgui Dieng closed the game out. San Antonio won 109-94.
San Antonio Spurs. vs. Indiana Pacers
When, where: Monday, 7:00 p.m., Indiana
All-time series record: Spurs lead 54-49
Last season: Pacers won series 1-0
Season series: Pacers lead 1-0
Last meeting: Pacers won 139-133 (OT), April 3, 2021
Pacers' last game: Lost vs. Celtics, 116-115
Spurs' last game: Lost vs. Raptors, 117-112
Pacers' last 10 games/streak: 5-5, lost 2
Spurs' last 10 games/streak: 3-7, won 1
Pacers' injury/inactive report: Myles Turner, OUT (toe); Doug McDermott, questionable (ankle); Domantas Sabonis, OUT (back); TJ Warren, OUT (foot); Jeremy Lamb, OUT (ankle).
Spurs' injury/inactive report: Trey Lyles, OUT (ankle).
The Pacers will be without a number of key players due to injury as the Spurs come to town coming off a big win and looking to avenge an overtime loss they suffered two weeks ago.
Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis are both out, and the only Spur on the injury report is Trey Lyles. San Antonio should be well rested, as DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and Patty Mills all rested in a shocking blowout win over Phoenix.
Shorthanded Spurs cool off Suns with dominant 111-85 win in Phoenix
The Spurs came into Phoenix with no rest, no DeMar DeRozan, no Jakob Poeltl, no Patty Mills, and nobody thinking they'd win.
Against all odds, they came out with a dominant 111-85 win over a now 40-16 team that had won nine home games in a row.