SAN ANTONIO — When the San Antonio Spurs got the ball back with 8.5 seconds left in the game and trailing by one, everyone in the AT&T Center knew where the ball was going for the final shot.
And even with the Indiana Pacers’ own All-Star and best defender Paul George on him, Kawhi Leonard backed his way into the paint, turned, and nailed a fadeaway jump shot with 2.4 seconds left for what proved to be the final score, 100-99.
Leonard led San Antonio with 31 points on the evening, but that shot could’ve been avoided.
With nine seconds remaining and Indiana up by one, Monta Ellis stepped to the line to try to push the lead to three. Instead, the career 77% free throw shooter missed both shots, setting the stage for Leonard’s game-winner.
Paul George missed a three-pointer at the buzzer and the Pacers were forced to leave San Antonio with yet another agonizing road loss, dropping them to 10-20 in games not played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this season.
George finished the game with a team-high 22 points, breaking a slump of five straight games below 20 points.
“I thought we played hard, there’s not doubt about that,” head coach Nate McMillan said. “We gave ourselves a chance to win this game. You just have to make plays.”
The Pacers have a few days off before continuing their current road trip in Atlanta on Sunday and Charlotte on Monday.