SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- With one game remaining, the San Antonio
Spurs hold their playoff destiny in their own hands.
Tim Duncan's 24 points and 11 rebounds led a 95-71 win over the
Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, putting the Spurs on the verge of
the Midwest Division title and an automatic No. 2 seed in the
The win improved San Antonio's record to 57-24, the same as
Dallas, which defeated Utah on Tuesday. But the Spurs went 3-1
against the Mavericks this season to earn the tiebreaker should the
teams finish with the same record.
San Antonio ends its regular season Wednesday at playoff-bound
Utah, while Dallas will wrap up in Phoenix.
Duncan said the Spurs will face a major challenge in the Delta
Center. The Jazz are trying to move up in the seedings, and the
teams have a long-established and heated rivalry.
"It's a tough place to play and the fans are always loud," he
said. But, he added, "we're stepping up in stretches like this.
... We've really played well in the last couple of games."
The Spurs have won eight straight overall and 13 consecutive
games at home. This was the final regular-season contest in the
Alamodome, where San Antonio has played since the 1993-94 season.
Majerle, playing the next-to-last game of his 14-year career,
went 3-for-4 on 3-pointers.
San Antonio played without center David Robinson, who was placed
on the injured list earlier in the day with a lower back strain. He
was hurt in Friday's win at Detroit and didn't play in Saturday's
victory in Memphis.
The plan is for Robinson to rest up, stay loose and be ready to
go this weekend.
"Every day things are getting a little bit better," Robinson
said of his injury. "We want to be at full strength in the
Mark Bryant started in place of Robinson and showed some flair
by making a pair of jump shots to help San Antonio to a 15-6 lead
in the game's opening minutes. Phoenix, which finished with 20
turnovers, never led in the contest.
The Spurs soon had their edge into double figures and kept
building on it by shooting 62 percent from the floor in the first
half. Duncan made eight of his 11 attempts for 17 points before the
break, while Daniels sank five of his seven shots for 12.
At the other end, the Suns managed but 34 percent, with Marbury
and Marion limited to only 11 points on 5-for-18 shooting.
"The best thing about this game is that it's over," said Suns
coach Frank Johnson. "They're gearing up for something and we're
gearing down for some time off. It's a big difference."
Heading into the playoffs, the Spurs' record in the
cavernous Alamodome is 258-95 (.731). Next year they'll play in the
SBC Center, which is still being built a mile away. ... Duncan is
shooting 80 percent from the foul line this season, up nearly 20
percent from last year. ... Phoenix has lost six straight on the
road. ... The Suns' 71 points was the lowest against San Antonio
this year ... Majerle is the Suns' career leader in 3-pointers with