San Antonio Spurs

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

San Antonio Spurs and Atlanta Hawks November 15

The San Antonio Spurs never got rattled, even when they fell behind by 13 points after the first quarter.

Tim Duncan had 23 points and seven rebounds to lead San Antonio to a 103-79 victory over the winless Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.

"The team kept their composure well when we were down," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They didn't try to come back quickly 1-on-1. They did it as a team."

Duncan bounced back from a sluggish performance in a loss to Washington on Saturday, when he shot 3-for-18 from the field and scored only 11 points.

Manu Ginobili had 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting for the Spurs, who have beaten the Hawks eight straight times at home and 11 of 12 overall. Tony Parker finished with 18 points.

"The first quarter was really bad for us tonight," Ginobili said. "We played better and more aggressively as the game went on."

Al Harrington led the Hawks with a season-high 23 points and nine rebounds. He scored Atlanta's first 14 points and shot 10-for-15 in the first quarter to help the Hawks build a 31-18 lead. The Spurs struggled to find the basket and turned the ball over five times in the first.

Harrington struggled in the second and San Antonio rallied to tie the score 52-all at halftime. Duncan, Parker and Ginobili combined to score 30 points, and Harrington missed both of his shots in the quarter.

"I heard Pop say he was tired of that guy getting off, and it was really tough to get anything 1-on-1 after that," Harrington said. "They made some good adjustments and really took me out of my game."

Parker and Bruce Bowen combined to limit Atlanta guard Joe Johnson to 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting, far below his 19.5 average.

"That's why they're the champs," Johnson said. "They fought hard. Pop made some adjustments that really slowed us down, and we never got back in rhythm."

The Hawks, who lost to Memphis on a last-second putback Saturday, dropped their seventh straight. Yet coach Mike Woodson believes the team's first victory is close at hand.

"Sometimes it's like we are our own worst enemy," he said. "We have stretches where we don't shoot. We don't defend," he said. "When San Antonio turned up their defense, we needed to turn up ours. If we play the way I know we can play for 48 minutes, then we can compete."

Monday, November 07, 2005

Spurs and Bulls

CHICAGO (AP) -- San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich wanted a timeout, but Tony Parker saw an opportunity he couldn't pass up.

So he headed toward the basket, broke the tie and led the Spurs to a 104-95 overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday.

Parker scored eight of his 22 in overtime, and Tim Duncan finished with 24 points and 16 rebounds.

"Pop always tells me everytime he calls a timeout I've got the freedom to do that," Parker said. "He said, 'Anytime you want to go all the way to the basket, just do it.' And tonight, it was just a great opportunity to make it happen, and it worked out for me."

Parker was 6-of-14 from the field and 10-of-12 from the foul line and finished with nine assists as the Spurs rebounded from a 103-84 loss at Dallas on Saturday.

Duncan also blocked six shots -- giving him 1,505 rejections for his career. Nazr Mohammed added 15 points on 7-for-8 shooting, and Manu Ginobili scored 14.

Tied at 91 after regulation, the Spurs outscored Chicago 13-4 in overtime.

Parker hit two free throws 30 seconds into the extra period. Luol Deng tied it for Chicago, but Parker's drive put the Spurs ahead for good, 95-93, with 3:45 remaining.

Michael Finley hit a three from the corner to make it 98-93 with 3:18 left in overtime. After a layup by the Bulls' Mike Sweetney, Parker drove again to boost the lead back up to five with 2:06 remaining. Duncan added a jumper in the final minute, and Parker hit two free throws with 31.5 seconds left.

Popovich called more pick-and-rolls for Parker in overtime, and he responded.

"I thought our guards did a good job [on Parker], but it's not just one person; it's their whole team," Deng said. "You try to help, but they have shooters. That team has so many weapons, and they just keep coming at us from the bench. Everybody knows their role, but Tony -- he's quick."

Deng led the Bulls with 19 points, and Ben Gordon finished with 14 after missing six of his first seven shots. Tyson Chandler had 11 points and 12 rebounds for Chicago, which lost its second straight game.

"We did a lot of good things," Gordon said. "It's just a pity we couldn't finish it up."

After trailing most of the game, the Bulls tied it at 77 on Deng's basket just over four minutes into the fourth quarter. He gave the Bulls their first lead since the opening minutes -- 87-85 -- when he hit two free throws with 2:49 left after Robert Horry committed his sixth foul.

Duncan tied it with two free throws, and Mohammed picked up a loose ball underneath and scored to give the Spurs an 89-87 lead with 1:34 left.

After another basket by Deng, Parker hit two free throws to put the Spurs ahead 91-89 with 1:03 left in regulation.

Parker missed a runner along the right baseline, and Chandler grabbed the rebound and called time with 24.2 remaining. A driving Kirk Hinrich threw up a wild shot, but the ball caromed out of bounds off a Spur.

Gordon struck again.

This time, he came off a double screen from Deng and Chandler, lost Parker, caught the inbounds and made an 18-footer from the right wing to tie it at 91 with 16.2 seconds left in regulation.

"I got two good screens, got open and knocked it down," Gordon said.

After a timeout, Ginobili caught the inbound and let about 10 seconds tick away before driving right. He missed, the game went to overtime, and the Spurs shut down the Bulls in overtime.

"We showed some good composure," Duncan said. "Nobody panicked. Nobody forced shots. We took every possession and tried to get a good shot ... and defensively, we were contesting shots very well."

Game notes
Spurs guard Brent Barry headed to the locker room with lower back spasms midway through the second quarter and did not return. ... Horry committed a flagrant foul early in the second quarter after delivering a forearm to the head of Chicago's Andres Nocioni while running upcourt. ... Bulls forward Tim Thomas, who missed most of the preseason with foot problems after being acquired from New York in the Eddy Curry trade, did not play. He played eight minutes against New Jersey on Saturday and scored six points in 16 minutes in the season-opener against Charlotte. ... San Antonio has won nine straight and 13 of 14 against the Bulls.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Spurs and Cavs

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Bruce Bowen's main job was hounding LeBron James on defense. He also threw in a shooting lesson for the Cleveland Cavaliers' star.

Bowen made all three of his 3-point attempts while leading a San Antonio defense that held James to 10 points over the final three quarters of the Spurs' 102-76 victory on Friday night.

"Night in and night out I look forward to playing the other team's top player," said Bowen, who finished with 12 points. "You have to pay attention to every detail when you are defending [James]. ... He's going to get his shot. You just have to contest it."

James, who scored 31 points in the Cavs' opening-game win over New Orleans, finished with 20 points on 7-for-16 shooting. He went 0-for-3 on 3-pointers after making six against the Hornets.

"I was able to attack at times, draw the defense in and kick it out -- sometimes we made the shots, sometimes we didn't," James said. "We try to do the exact same things they try to do, only they do it about five times better right now."

Up five points at halftime, the Spurs (2-0) broke the game open in the third quarter at both ends of the floor.

Bowen hit two 3-pointers and Tim Duncan (21 points, 10 rebounds) added four quick baskets as San Antonio went on an 18-7 run to start the quarter.

At the defensive end, the Spurs limited Cleveland to four baskets in the period while extending their lead to as many as 21 points. After a 3-pointer by Larry Hughes and a jumper by James, the Cavs missed 13 of their next 14 shots, most in the paint.

"They let you stick around a little, think you can run with them, then they kick it up another notch," said Cleveland coach Mike Brown, a former Spurs assistant.

San Antonio shot 13-for-21 in the decisive quarter, including 4-for-6 on 3-pointers. The Spurs went 10-for-17 from 3-point range, and they outscored the Cavaliers 62-32 in the paint.

Cleveland (1-1) scored only 31 points in the second half on 10-for-43 shooting.

"First half, we kind of played terrible defense, gave them wide-open shots," said Tony Parker, who had 18 points and eight assists for the Spurs. "The second half, we matched their energy. Every time they tried to penetrate, everyone was in good position."

Drew Gooden scored 14 points for Cleveland and Hughes added 11. Donyell Marshall had 10 rebounds.

San Antonio got two baskets each from Rasho Nesterovic and Bowen in taking an 11-2 lead, but the Cavs battled back to go ahead 19-17 on a jumper by Hughes.

Cleveland maintained a small advantage through most of the second despite James making only one basket in the quarter. His two points matched the number of times he was called for traveling in the period.

A 3-pointer by Manu Ginobili with 3:36 remaining in the half gave San Antonio a 42-41 lead, and he followed with a short fadeaway jumper. Parker added two layups and Duncan a tip-in to build the Spurs' lead to 50-43 in the final minute.

Notes: The Spurs have beaten Cleveland 16 straight times at home. The last time San Antonio lost a regular-season home game to the Cavs was in December 1988. ... Cleveland general manager Danny Ferry, assistant GM Lance Blanks and reserve guard Mike Wilks, all with the Spurs last season, received their 2005 championship rings before the tipoff. ... Duncan had one block, leaving him seven short of 1,500 for his career. ... After scoring 11 key points in the final quarter of San Antonio's opening-night win, Michael Finley went 1-for-6.