SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Ron Artest did not come out for the second half. Neither did the rest of the Indiana Pacers.
Another strange scenario involving Artest accompanied a collapse by the Pacers, who suffered their season-high fourth straight loss as they took a 105-96 beating from the red-hot San Antonio Spurs.
After a poor second quarter, the Pacers went to the locker room with a 50-39 deficit. When they returned to the court, Artest - who has exhibited some strange behavior this season - was not with them.
Initial reports said nothing was wrong with the defensive-minded forward. When Artest did return to the bench, he was in street clothes, with his injury status described as a sore right elbow.
"He's day-to-day," Pacers trainer Dave Graig said. "Something with the right elbow. It came up in pregame."
By the time Artest rejoined his teammates, the game was out of hand. The Spurs began the third quarter with a 24-4 burst, opening a 74-43 lead with 4:54 remaining.
San Antonio coasted thereafter to its 10th win in 11 games as it bounced back nicely from a tough loss at league-leading Dallas on Thursday. The Spurs are 9-0 at home against the Eastern Conference.
"They respond well after a loss," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They may not always win every game, but after a loss they play better than they did the night before."
Tim Duncan had 21 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks and Tony Parker scored 18 points for the Spurs, who welcomed back center David Robinson. After missing six games with knee and back woes, Robinson started and scored nine points.
"I think the injury was a blessing in disguise for me," Robinson said. "It really forced me to rest, and I found myself just being a fan and just cheering them on."
Erick Strickland scored 22 points for Indiana, which has lost four in a row for the first time since February 3-15, 2002.
"This was by far our worst performance on the road all season," Pacers coach Isiah Thomas said. "That's gonna happen sometimes. With 41 games on the road, some will be ugly."
Artest was scoreless in 13 minutes, missing four shots. He left without talking to the media, and Thomas said, "I can't talk about medical issues. I can only talk about the game."
Parker scored 14 points in the third period, including 10 in the decisive surge that was capped by Malik Rose's free throw.
During the run, Robinson stepped into the passing lane and made a steal that he took in for a breakaway dunk. Duncan followed with a transition follow dunk to make it 68-43 and force the Pacers to call timeout.
"Everything felt real good tonight," Robinson said. "I was real anxious and excited about returning to the court. Physically, I am feeling better, but I still have to continue to work out and get into a rhythm."
"We're glad to have him back," forward Stephen Jackson said. "We wanted him to get involved, and he definitely jumped right in."
Rose scored 15 points for the Spurs, who shot a blistering 57 percent (40-of-70) from the field and swept the season series.
Al Harrington scored 19 points for the Pacers, who shot 40.5 percent (32-of-79).
"Lately we've given some games away and tonight was no different," said Pacers guard Reggie Miller, who scored just four points. "We had no continuity."
Indiana hung around for less than a quarter. A jump hook by Duncan gave San Antonio the lead for good at 21-19 just over 10 minutes into the contest, and the lead was 26-21 after one period.
Duncan scored 10 points in the second period, when the Spurs widened the bulge to 15 points.