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Spurs win 12th of last 13 vs. Rockets

12/1/2001

HOUSTON (AP) -- A fast start was enough to carry the San Antonio
Spurs.

Tim Duncan had 25 points and 12 rebounds to lead San Antonio to
an 85-75 victory over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

David Robinson added 12 points and 10 rebounds, and the Spurs
dealt the Rockets their fifth straight loss.

The victory failed to mask the Spurs' inconsistent play.

San Antonio scored 13 unanswered points and raced to a 17-2
first-quarter lead. The Spurs overcame an eight-point second
quarter and shot just 30 percent over the final three quarters.

"We were just missing shots," Duncan said. "We had a lot of
great looks during that second quarter. But the shots just weren't
going in."

The Spurs were at a loss to explain their play after the first
quarter.

"We got off to a good start and were in a really good rhythm,"
Terry Porter said. "But after that, something just happened. I
don't know what it was but we were saying after the game that we
set basketball back about 10 years those last three quarters."

Coach Gregg Popovich said the Spurs are still getting
comfortable with each other.

"You have to take your hats off to the Rockets," Popovich
said. "They played very well in a game they were 'not supposed to
win.' They played better than us in a lot of ways.

"We have a long way to go on offense. We have to try to be
consistent and get to know one another so we can execute better."

The Spurs beat the Rockets for the 12th time in 13 games.

"It wasn't pretty but it was a win," Duncan said. "We didn't
play our best but we never have up and made some things happen in
the end."

Houston lost its fifth straight and played its third straight
game without starting guards Steve Francis (ruptured plantar fascia
in left foot) and Cuttino Mobley (left ankle sprain).

"We have our best basketball ahead of us," Houston coach Rudy
Tomjanovich said. "So, we can't get in that desperate situation
where we make unsound decisions.

"We missed 25 layups. They had a lot to do with it. If we make
five, we've got a game. We kept our composure. If effort and desire
can get you a win, we should have had it."

Oscar Torres and Kenny Thomas each scored 21 points for Houston.

Duncan scored 13 and Steve Smith added 12 as San Antonio pushed
its lead to 16 points late in the first period.

San Antonio missed 10 of its first 11 shots in the second
quarter and shot 4-for-22 in the period, managing just eight points
and going 5:48 without scoring.

Norris scored four points in an 11-2 run late in the quarter as
Houston closed within 40-35 at the half.

Houston got within 55-53 in the third, but the Spurs built their
lead to 57-53 by the end of the quarter.

The Rockets got within a point twice in the fourth, but San
Antonio used a 10-2 to open a nine-point lead with 4:52 remaining.

Antonio Daniels scored eight points in the Spurs' run.

Game notes
Francis and Mobley missed their third straight game. The
Rockets are 0-4 all-time when both players are out. ... Spurs have
held 10 of their last 11 opponents to fewer than 100 points. ...
Spurs won 11 straight from Houston before dropping the last game of
the series last season. ... San Antonio is now 72-71 all-time vs.
Houston.