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Spurs cruise by Heat for 11th win in last 12

2/26/2003

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Whether its on the road, or at home, the San
Antonio Spurs and Tim Duncan have stayed focused on their winning
ways.

The Spurs have won 11 of their last 12 games, and Tuesday night
Tim Duncan got 17 points and 10 rebounds as they defeated the Miami
Heat 84-69.

Since the new year started, the Spurs have an NBA-best 20-4
record. With Dallas' loss to Orlando, San Antonio inched closer to
the Midwest Division lead. The Spurs still are 4 1/2 games behind.

"We're not worried about Dallas, honestly,'' Duncan said.
"There are so many games left. They control their own destiny.''

San Antonio had three other players in double figures: Malik
Rose with 14, Bruce Bowen with 11 and Manu Ginobili with 10. The
all-around performance of the Spurs was lauded by Duncan.

"Honestly, it started out with our guys on the perimeter,'' he
said. "Bruce and Tony (Parker) were out there putting pressure on
the ball. Once we did that, they pushed it into the middle and we
had great rotation all night.''

The Spurs swept the season series from Miami. They beat the Heat
67-65 earlier this year.

The Heat, who have dropped four of their last five games, were
led by Eddie Jones with 13 points. Sean Lampley chipped in 11.

The defense by the Spurs was applauded by coach Gregg Popovich.

"Everybody combined in that effort and everybody got
involved,'' said Popovich. "We defend as a group.''

San Antonio pulled away at the end of the third quarter when it
went on an 11-4 run, with Bowen getting five of his points. The
Spurs took a 66-44 lead.

Miami helped out San Antonio, committing 11 of its 24 turnovers
in the third period. The Spurs turned those turnovers into 29
points.

"Our offensive performance tonight was dismal,'' said Heat
coach Pat Riley. "We just shot ourselves in the foot offensively.
We just couldn't keep it close at all. We were just not focused
tonight.''

The Spurs continued to pour it on in the fourth quarter, getting
their biggest lead of the game at 31 when Steve Smith hit a
3-pointer to make it 82-51.

Miami opened the game when Jones hit a 17-foot jumper. It was
the Heat's only lead.

Rose hit a 16-foot jumper with :01 left, giving the Spurs a
43-30 halftime lead.

"You have to credit the role players they have, because they
all step up and make big shots and plays when they have to,'' said
Heat guard Travis Best. "We definitely could take a lesson from
them tonight on just how to be focused and make things happen.''

Game notes
Rookie forward Caron Butler, not on the trip to Texas,
missed his second game with flu-like symptoms and is not expected
back until Wednesday. Rasual Butler, a rookie from La Salle,
started in his place and had seven points. ... The Spurs have won
15 of 16 at home against the Heat. ... San Antonio is 10-0 at home
against Eastern Conference teams this season. ... Attendance for
the game was 17,322, one of the lowest for a Spurs game at the SBC
Center since it opened. Freezing weather that caused road closures
and schools to shut down kept the crowd down.