Spurs Knock Off Kings For 11th Straight Win

Friday, March 9th 2007, 7:32 am
By: News On 6

The San Antonio Spurs say there's a simple reason for their recent success: They're starting to play good team defense.

Manu Ginobili scored 31 points, including five 3-pointers, and the Spurs beat the Sacramento Kings 100-93 Thursday night for their 11th straight win.

The Spurs have held four of their opponents during their season-high winning streak to 74 or fewer points. The Kings, who had scored over 100 points in their last four games, committed 19 turnovers.

``I don't know what it is, but we have turned the corner (on defense) and been more consistent,'' said Tim Duncan, who had 15 points and 13 rebounds. ``We use the regular season to get into form and get ready for the playoffs. Maybe it's taken us that long to understand playing defense, but we're starting to do it.''

In Orlando, Fla., Chicago beat the Magic 100-76 in the only other NBA game Thursday night.

Ginobili scored 11 of San Antonio's first 15 points in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers. He finished with 16 points in the period to help hold off the Kings, who had their four-game win streak snapped.

Ginobili carried much of the offensive load in the final quarter, yet it was point guard Tony Parker making the game's two biggest baskets.

With fiancee Eva Longoria watching in a seat along the baseline, Parker put the Spurs ahead for good on a driving layup with 2:50 remaining, igniting a 9-0 run. On the next possession, Parker flipped in an off-balance shot after being fouled by Corliss Williamson, putting the Spurs ahead 89-86.

``I was trying to get to the basket, I wanted to be aggressive and get to the free-throw line,'' said Parker, who scored 15 points.

Kevin Martin went scoreless in the game's first 17 minutes, but finished with 26 points and had a career-high 12 rebounds for Sacramento. Williamson had 21 points for the Kings, who have won eight of 10 at home.

The Spurs were especially effective in slowing down point guard Mike Bibby, who averaged 21 points the previous five games. Bibby never got going, scoring 12 points on 4-for-14 shooting.

``We definitely can't beat a team like the Spurs with 19 turnovers,'' Williamson said. ``They do such a good job of taking care of the ball and capitalize on teams making a lot of turnovers.''

The Kings played their second straight game without Ron Artest, who has been excused indefinitely by the team following an alleged domestic violence incident at his home earlier this week. Sacramento is 5-5 without Artest this season and had won four straight when he wasn't in the lineup before this slide.

``We scored 32 points in the fourth quarter against arguably the best defensive team in the league,'' Kings coach Eric Musselman said. ``That's a lot of points against San Antonio, especially down the stretch.''

Bulls 100, Magic 76

Ben Gordon scored 25 points and Kirk Hinrich had 17 to help Chicago bounce back from its worst defeat this season.

The Bulls used a 14-0 run in the middle of the second quarter to seize control of a game they dominated from start to finish. Luol Deng added 15 points and a season-high 14 rebounds for Chicago, which lost 103-70 at Miami on Wednesday night.

Dwight Howard led the Magic with 17 points and 14 rebounds, but the center was 5-for-14 from the free-throw line. Jameer Nelson had 13 points and Trevor Ariza finished with 10.