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Parker leads San Antonio's third-quarter spurt

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Tony Parker quashed whatever hopes the
Charlotte Bobcats had for a highly unlikely upset.

Parker scored 24 points, half of them in the decisive third
quarter of San Antonio's 93-76 win over the Bobcats 93-76 Friday
night, clinching a spot in the Western Conference playoffs for the
Spurs.

"Tony's energy was great all night," Spurs coach Gregg
Popovich said. "He pushed the break, he moved the ball. His
aggressiveness set a tone."

After trailing by 10 at halftime, Charlotte got its deficit down
to 60-54 midway through the third on a short jumper by Emeka
Okafor. But the Bobcats went scoreless and committed six turnovers
during the final 6:05 of the quarter.

"Every time you make a move, somebody is there," Charlotte's
Primoz Brezec said of San Antonio's defense. "They put pressure on
your first pass. There are no easy shots."

Parker shot 6-for-8 in the third period, which ended with a 12-0
run by San Antonio. Parker scored three of those six baskets and
assisted on two others.

"We decided to play a little more defense," Parker said of the
third-quarter lockdown. "I had some good looks because we were
pushing them on the pick-and-rolls."

San Antonio's lead widened to as many as 23 points in the
fourth.

Tim Duncan added 19 points for the Spurs, while Devin Brown had
15 and Robert Horry 11.

The Spurs, playing their fifth straight game without injured
swingman Manu Ginobili, improved their NBA-leading record to 50-15.
They are 31-3 at home, also best in the league.

The loss was the ninth straight for the Bobcats and their 18th
in the past 20 games. They are 2-30 on the road.

Brezec led Charlotte with 18 points, and Jason Hart and Melvin
Ely each scored 10. Okafor, the team's top scorer at 15 points per
game, finished with 7 points on 3-for-13 shooting and had 12
rebounds.

As a team, Charlotte shot 37.3 percent (28-for-75).

The Bobcats went up 13-9 in the first on a 3-pointer by Jason
Kapono before a short turnaround jumper by Duncan started an 11-3
run that put the Spurs ahead by four late in the period.

Charlotte made its first three shots in the second, tying the
game at 26 on a jump hook by Ely. A dunk by Duncan with 2:57 left
in the half began a 9-2 burst that ended the half at 52-42. The
Bobcats missed their final seven attempts before the break.

Game notes
In reaching 50 wins in 65 games, San Antonio was three
games quicker than their previous best, set in 1994-95 and tied the
following season. ... Dion Glover, signed Thursday to a 10-day
contract, had two points, four rebounds and two assists in 12
minutes for San Antonio. ... The Spurs have held opponents under 40
percent shooting 25 times this season. ... Charlotte's starting
backcourt of Keith Bogans and Brevin Knight shot a combined
3-for-15 from the field.

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