PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- With the game on the line, the San Antonio
Spurs turned to -- who else? -- Tim Duncan.
Duncan scored a season-high 34 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to
lead the Spurs to their fifth straight victory, 88-80 over the
Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.
"It's almost like you take it for granted like David
(Robinson's) games used to be," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
"He just played a great all-around game. He really put it on his
shoulders, showed some great leadership and brought his team
Rasho Nesterovic had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Manu Ginobili
scored 17 for San Antonio, which had lost four in a row in
Philadelphia since winning on Nov. 22, 1999. The Spurs improved to
7-1, their best start since the 1991-92 season.
"It was a great game for us," Duncan said. "We played pretty
good defense. They missed some shots and we gave ourselves a lead
there. They did a hell of a job coming back, but we fought straight
The Sixers, who trailed by 14 in the first half, took their
first lead, 55-53, on a 3-pointer by Korver with 3:14 left in the
third. Philadelphia held the lead until the Spurs went on a 10-0
run early in the fourth quarter.
A 14-footer by Duncan gave San Antonio a 64-62 lead it never
relinquished. Ginobili's 3-pointer made it 67-62, and the Spurs
held on down the stretch.
A three-point play by Iverson cut it to 82-78 with 1:36 left,
but Duncan answered with a running, one-handed jumper from the
"We didn't knock down shots available to us," Sixers coach Jim
O'Brien said. "They did what they had to do in the fourth quarter.
They're a potential world champion."
Philadelphia finished its five-game homestand with two
consecutive losses after winning the first three games.
Iverson left in the final minute after injuring his right elbow
running into a broadcast table. X-rays were negative.
Spurs point guard Tony Parker was scoreless in 32 minutes,
missing two shots and two free throws. He had eight rebounds and
six assists, and held Iverson to 8-for-24 shooting.
"I didn't have that many opportunities," Parker said. "I just
tried to run the game, move the ball and get it inside."
The Sixers missed their first 16 shots before Korver made a
short jumper with 4:30 left in the first quarter. Iverson missed
five shots during the 7½-minute scoreless stretch, and Andre
Iguodala missed a dunk.
Philadelphia finished the quarter 3-for-25 and trailed 20-6.
"It was hard to watch," Korver said. "They were good shots,
but the ball didn't want to go in the basket for some reason."
The Sixers outscored San Antonio 23-10 to start the second
quarter, closing to 30-29 on a jumper by Iverson. The Spurs
finished the quarter on a 10-4 run to take a 40-33 halftime lead.
The Sixers' previous low for any quarter was 9 points
against Boston last March 28. ... The Sixers didn't allow 50 points
in the first half for just the second time in nine games. ... The
Spurs had won their first six games by an average of 14.5 points.
... Spurs F Malik Rose, a Philadelphia native who went to Drexel,
had 2 points in 12 minutes. He missed an open layup in the third
quarter. ... Iverson has at least one steal in 29 straight games,
dating to last season.