He high-stepped halfway down the baseline in celebration after Al Jefferson dunked on Gasol early in the fourth quarter. … The Pacers concluded their longest trip of the season, going 3-2. … Indiana came in averaging 106.5 points per game, which was 10th in the league.
Spurs: Ginobili was a late scratch after being listed as questionable with bruised right thigh. … Popovich said he is still not sure when Leonard will return as he continues to rehabilitate right quadriceps tendinopathy. … Spurs players have missed 123 games collectively because of injuries and sat out 10 games for rest. … Aldridge’s previous low was 11 points against at Boston on Oct. 30.
The events that have unfolded the past several days have upset and angered many players and continues to demonstrate the lack of seriousness that some league officials are approaching our discussions. It is this lack of earnest words and actions that provoke and reinforce the continuation of our protest.
“As long as the prevailing reality of our league includes a culture where owners feel such behavior and language is permissible, our cause will continue to be stifled and progress will remain elusive. This isn’t about being a player or a club owner — but basic human decency.”
Irving was spectacular on Sunday, connecting on 14 of his 23 attempts, including five of the seven 3-pointers he hoisted. Irving added seven rebounds and five assists over 40 minutes.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he didn’t think his team was too reliant on Irving on Sunday and praised how the All-Star guard played in his return.
As for Boston’s three-game losing streak, Stevens noted, “I think we all have to play better.”
Khris Middleton had his first career-triple double — 23 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists — for the Bucks in their second straight loss. They were without top scorer Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was sitting out the first of two games to rest a sore right knee.