Spurs limit Nets to 36.6 percent shooting


SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The San Antonio Spurs had a high roller's
dream night Thursday against the New Jersey Nets.

Tim Duncan, who wears No. 21, scored 21 points and grabbed 21
rebounds, and Tony Parker added 21 points, 10 in the fourth
quarter, as the Spurs fended off a too-little, too-late charge by
the Nets en route to a 92-78 win.

The win was San Antonio's 17th in its last 21 games.

The Nets, who lost their fifth in six games, cut the Spurs'
margin to 83-77 with 1:41 left on consecutive jumpers by Jason
Collins and Kenyon Martin. But San Antonio finished with a 9-1 run
capped by a 3-pointer by Duncan at the final buzzer after New
Jersey, the outcome assured, stopped playing defense.

The Spurs, who allowed Phoenix to shoot 59 percent in a loss
Tuesday, limited the Nets to 36.6 percent from the floor.

Jason Kidd, guarded mostly by the 20-year-old Parker, shot
4-for-19 for 11 points, about half his season average, but he
exceeded his norm with 13 assists.

"If the ball is not going in, you have to find another aspect
of your game," said Kidd, whose name tops the list of potential
free agents the Spurs might pursue in the offseason.

The Spurs certainly would like to roll the right numbers with
Kidd. But on the question of free agency and the Spurs, Kidd tried
to rein in the chatter and at the same time teased reporters,
saying "you guys have kind of taken it overboard, but we'll see
what happens come July 1," the date his current contract expires.

Reserve Manu Ginobili scored 18 points for the Spurs, and he
energized his team with seven assists and five steals.

"He has really been a spark for us and just is fun to watch,"
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the rookie from Argentina.
"Sometimes he scares me out there, because I don't know what is
coming, but he is so creative and we have to give him that freedom
to just make things happen."

Ginobili, who has scored in double figures in four of the past
five games, said, "Tonight just felt very easy out there."

Bruce Bowen had 11 points and Stephen Jackson 10 for San

David Robinson left in the third quarter with a strained lower
back, an injury that has plagued him all season. He scored eight
points and had five rebounds in 24 minutes.

San Antonio jumped to a 13-4 lead, making five of its first
eight shots while the Nets managed only a pair of baskets in their
11 attempts from the floor.

Kittles hit a corner jumper and then a 3-pointer to start a 10-0
New Jersey spurt that gave the Nets their first lead at 14-13 late
in the first quarter.

The teams stayed close through most of the second period before
an 11-footer by Duncan began a 10-3 burst that put San Antonio up
40-32 about a minute before the break.

Aaron Williams made a layup with 7.3 seconds left in the half,
and then Kidd stole the inbounds pass and got the ball to Kittles
for a 17-foot jumper at the buzzer, drawing the Nets to 40-36.

Kidd made only two of his 11 shots in the half, while Martin
went 3-for-9. Duncan secured his double-double early by scoring 10
points and grabbing 14 rebounds in the first two quarters.

San Antonio got its lead over 10 points late in the third period
and kept it there most of the way.

Game notes
The Nets won the first matchup between the teams this
season, 91-82 on Nov. 13 at Continental Airlines Arena. Jefferson
scored a career-high 27 in that game, but he was held to eight
points Thursday. ... Bruce Bowen is shooting better from behind the
3-point line (45.2 percent) than at the free throw line (43.8
percent). ... The Spurs are 10-0 playing at home against Eastern
Conference teams. ... New Jersey is 15-15 since Jan. 1, but still
leads the Atlantic Division. ... San Antonio outscored the Nets
54-24 in the paint.