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Duncan, Robinson key Spurs' inside game

12/30/2001

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Memphis found out that San Antonio's
strength still is in its inside game.

Tim Duncan scored 27 points and David Robinson added 21 as the
Spurs held off a Memphis rally Sunday night and defeated the
Grizzlies 83-79.

Duncan had 18 rebounds and Robinson grabbed 12 boards as the
Spurs inside strength took over.

"It was a great game both ways," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
said. "We were very fortunate to come out the way we did. They're
not easy. They are competitive, and they are difficult to play."

Memphis cut the San Antonio lead to 74-72 with about two minutes
to play when Robinson took over, scoring three straight San Antonio
baskets, including a pair of dunks to build the margin to 80-74.

"We just took one of the top teams in the league down to the
wire," Memphis coach Sidney Lowe said. "I thought we could win,
but we turned it over twice after we made two big stops. We were in
position, but didn't pull it out."

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for San Antonio and
marked the Spurs' 16th straight victory over the Grizzlies. That is
the Spurs longest streak against an NBA opponent.

Pau Gasol led Memphis with 24 points and 15 rebounds, which tied
his career high. Jason Williams added 20 points and eight assists,
while Shane Battier scored 14 for Memphis.

Gasol said it was a challenge to face a pair of 7-footers like
Duncan and Robinson, but he tried to be aggressive under the
basket.

"They're real big and real strong," Gasol said, "and maybe a
little intimidating. We weren't scared of them.

"It's a bigger challenge when you play against players that
have a name. Tim Duncan is an All-Star. David Robinson has been an
All-Star and could be again. I tried to go straight at them and not
be afraid. Just score on them and go to the hole."

San Antonio led 44-41 at the break behind Duncan's 13 points and
11 from Robinson. Bruce Bowen scored nine of his 13 points in the
half as all but 11 of the Spurs' first-half points came from the
frontcourt starters.

The Spurs led despite missing 10 of 13 free throws, including
five misses in six attempts by Duncan.

The Grizzlies got 10 points and six assists from Williams in the
half, and Memphis led by as many as seven in the second.

The Spurs opened the second half with eight straight points as
Memphis missed its first five shots.

Every time the Grizzlies got close, the Spurs went to Duncan,
who had 10 points in the third quarter, and helped San Antonio
maintain a 60-55 lead after three.

The Spurs hit their first six shots of the fourth period to
build a nine-point lead.

Memphis, behind three straight baskets by Williams, made a run
midway through the fourth, but was unable to overtake San Antonio.

"(The Grizziles) are pretty impressive," Robinson said. "They
hit big shots, showed poise and ran good plays. We, especially me
and Tim, play a lot of young teams that after they get their shots
blocked a few times quit playing. Those guys didn't quit playing.
They kept coming at us."

Game notes
Grizzlies reserve point guard Brevin Knight did not play
because of an injured right shoulder. ... Memphis' Rodney Buford
sat out the game because of the flu. ... Williams drew a technical
foul at 3:41 of the third when he thought he was fouled on a drive
in the lane. Williams tried to hide his frustrations by hollering
at the basket support, but official Mark Wunderlich walked the
baseline in time to hear Williams colorful description of the
no-call. ... Duncan's double-double marked the 24th time in 28
games he has reached the mark. ... The 83 points marked the fewest
points scored by the Spurs this season.