SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The San Antonio Spurs' sixth consecutive victory came with a twist -- potentially a costly one.
Tim Duncan sprained his right ankle with about three minutes
left in San Antonio's 108-97 victory over Chicago. Duncan scored 22
points and had a game-high 12 rebounds.
An X-ray of the ankle was negative. Team officials said Duncan
will undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the
''He did it pretty good,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
''He's walking gingerly.''
San Antonio's next game is Tuesday at home against New York, and
two days later, the team has a crucial road matchup with Midwest
After Duncan was helped off the floor by teammates, point guard
Tony Parker stepped into the scoring void. Parker made a 3-pointer
on San Antonio's next possession and a pair of free throws to
extend the Spurs' lead to 15.
''He has been solid all year, but really gave an extra effort
down the stretch,'' Spurs forward Bruce Bowen.
Chicago, down 12 at halftime, made a strong run in the third
quarter behind Jamal Crawford's 13 points in the period. Crawford,
who had 21 points on the night, went 3-for-3 on 3-pointers in the
quarter, which ended with the Spurs clinging to a 76-73 lead.
Steve Kerr connected on 3-pointers on consecutive possessions
early in the fourth, and Steve Smith followed with another
3-pointer to build San Antonio's lead to 89-80 with nine minutes
left. A three-point play by Duncan made it a 13-point margin with
''When we shut down the inside, they'd go outside,'' said
Chicago forward Donyell Marshall, who led all scorers with 29.
''When we shut down the outside, they went inside. That makes them
hard to defend.''
Bulls coach Bill Cartwright said his youth-filled team, which
has lost seven of its past nine games, also hurt itself on the
offensive end with turnovers and poor shooting down the stretch -- Chicago managed only 6-for-20 in the final period.
''Our ability to handle pressure and play with poise is
something we need to work on,'' Cartwright said. ''That's the
difference between young players and veterans.''
Jalen Rose, who turned in his third consecutive subpar performance,
was tossed from the game after picking up two technical fouls in
the final seconds. He finished with 12 points, about half his
season average, on 4-for-24 shooting.
Rose's first technical came when he jostled with Bowen after
Bowen committed a hard foul on him with 11 seconds left.
''I felt like he unnecessarily tried to trip me,'' said Rose,
who picked up the second technical moments later for taunting Bowen
on the San Antonio bench. ''It all just happened so fast I don't
really know for sure what happened.''
The Bulls came out shooting well, making nine of their first 14
attempts, and led for most of the first quarter.
San Antonio had trouble handling the ball early, committing four
turnovers in the first six minutes. The Spurs also played most of
the period without Duncan, who went to the bench after picking up
his second personal at 7:52.
Chicago had its largest lead, 28-19, late in the first when its
offense stalled. A 5-foot jumper by Malik Rose started a 17-2 run
by the Spurs. Rose scored nine points in the second period, and Duncan
added eight after returning to the game.
The Bulls, who shot only 8-for-22 in the second, fell behind by
as many as 15 before trimming San Antonio's lead to 59-47 at the
break on a buzzer-beating putback by Tyson Chandler.
Manu Ginobili, the Spurs' rookie backup shooting guard, did
not play. He bruised his ribs in the victory Friday over the Los Angeles
Clippers. ... The Spurs are 12-0 at home against Eastern Conference
teams, while the Bulls are 0-13 on the road against Western
Conference opponents. ... David Robinson missed his fifth consecutive game with a lower-back injury. ... Rose came into the game
averaging 23 points for the season, but has averaged only 13 points
in the past three games.
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