Spurs 88, 76ers 80

Friday, November 19th 2004, 6:49 am
By: News On 6

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The Philadelphia 76ers got a firsthand demonstration of why Tim Duncan might be the toughest player in the NBA to defend.

Duncan scored a season-high 34 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Spurs to their fifth straight victory, 88-80 over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.

The 76ers think Duncan creates more matchup problems than Shaquille O'Neal or Kevin Garnett, two of the league's most dominant offensive players.

``When you go against Shaq, you know they are going to just run him down to the block and turn and that's it,'' Sixers center Marc Jackson said. ``When you go against K.G., you know he is going to get a lot of his stuff from the outside. San Antonio runs so many things to get (Duncan) the ball in certain spots at any given time. It is just great the way they do it.''

Rasho Nesterovic had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Manu Ginobili scored 17 for San Antonio, which had lost four in a row in Philadelphia since winning on Nov. 22, 1999. The Spurs improved to 7-1, their best start since the 1991-92 season.

In other games, Cleveland defeated Charlotte 106-89 and New York edged Houston 93-92.

Allen Iverson scored 24, Kyle Korver had 17 and Corliss Williamson added 15 for the Sixers, who set a dubious team record by scoring just six points in the first quarter.

``It was a great game for us,'' Duncan said. ``We played pretty good defense. They missed some shots and we gave ourselves a lead there. They did a hell of a job coming back, but we fought straight through.''

The Sixers, who trailed by 14 in the first half, took their first lead, 55-53, on a 3-pointer by Korver with 3:14 left in the third. Philadelphia held the lead until the Spurs went on a 10-0 run early in the fourth quarter.

A 14-footer by Duncan gave San Antonio a 64-62 lead it never relinquished. Ginobili's 3-pointer made it 67-62, and the Spurs held on down the stretch.

A three-point play by Iverson cut it to 82-78 with 1:36 left, but Duncan answered with a running, one-handed jumper from the baseline.

Philadelphia finished its five-game homestand with two consecutive losses after winning the first three games.

Iverson left in the final minute after injuring his right elbow running into a broadcast table. X-rays were negative.

Spurs point guard Tony Parker was scoreless in 32 minutes, missing two shots and two free throws. He had eight rebounds and six assists, and held Iverson to 8-for-24 shooting.

``I didn't have that many opportunities,'' Parker said. ``I just tried to run the game, move the ball and get it inside.''

The Sixers missed their first 16 shots before Korver made a short jumper with 4:30 left in the first quarter. Iverson missed five shots during the 7 1/2-minute scoreless stretch, and Andre Iguodala missed a dunk.

Philadelphia finished the quarter 3-for-25 and trailed 20-6.

``It was hard to watch,'' Korver said. ``They were good shots, but the ball didn't want to go in the basket for some reason.''

Cavaliers 106, Bobcats 89

At Charlotte, LeBron James helped break the game open late in the second quarter by driving baseline for a windmill dunk, one of three crowd-pleasers among James' 19 points.

It was the fifth consecutive victory for the Cavaliers and moved them two games over .500 for the first time since 1999 _ James' freshman year in high school.

Jeff McInnis scored 18 points for Cleveland, Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 16 and Ira Newble scored 11.

Jason Kapono, a former Cavalier selected by Charlotte in the expansion draft, led the Bobcats with 16 points. Keith Bogans had 14 and Melvin Ely added 10.

Knicks 93, Rockets 92

At Houston, Jamal Crawford banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the Knicks to their first road win.

Crawford finished with 19 points, going 5-of-11 from the 3-point arc, and Kurt Thomas added 23 points and 14 rebounds to hand the Rockets their fourth loss in five games.

New York, which ends a four-game trip against Dallas on Friday, came back from an 11-point deficit to start the fourth quarter, getting plenty of clutch baskets from Crawford and Thomas down the stretch.

Tracy McGrady led the Rockets with 24 points and Yao Ming added 23 points and 11 rebounds.