SAN ANTONIO, March 7 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan
made sure the San Antonio Spurs continued their dominance of the Houston Rockets.
Duncan had 30 points and 16 rebounds as the Spurs led from start to finish and defeated the Rockets for the 14th time in their last 15 encounters, 99-97.
Rookie Tony Parker
added 16 points, a career-high 10 rebounds and five assists for San Antonio, which beat its intrastate rival for the ninth straight time at the Alamodome.
"He's got such good poise," Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said of the 19-year-old Parker. "You don't see that often in a player that young. He was aggressive tonight and led his team well."
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Tony Parker puts up a floater against Eddie Griffin in San Antonio.
D. Clarke Evans
Duncan had 11 points and eight rebounds in the first quarter, after which the Spurs led, 32-17. The All-Star forward had 20 and 11 for his league-leading 49th double-double by halftime, when San Antonio held a 51-38 advantage.
The Rockets scored the final 10 points of the third period to climb within 74-68, but the Spurs countered with eight straight points to begin the fourth quarter. Walt Williams
hit two 3-pointers in the final 12 seconds to keep it close. But Duncan safely inbounded the ball to Antonio Daniels
after Williams' second shot from the arc, and Daniels ran out the clock.
"We did a great job in the first half D-ing up their key guys," Duncan said. "In the second half, they got a little out of hand. Things tonight came out OK, though."
Although San Antonio shot only 44 percent (38-of-87), it limited Houston to 39 percent (35-of-90).
"It was a good win," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "I'm always pleased when we can beat Houston. It's kind of like the Army vs. Navy game. The records don't matter, everyone plays hard and it only matters when there's no time left on the clock."
"We had a chance to make it a game and I feel good about the way we came back," Tomjanovich said. "We just have to shoot the ball better. We just have to have a better shooting day."
The Spurs dominated the boards, outrebounding the Rockets, 56-41. San Antonio had four players reach double figures in rebounds and pulled down a season-high 21 offensive boards.
Duncan, Malik Rose
(14 points) and Daniels (13) frequently had their way with the undersized Rockets inside, helping the Spurs hold a 52-26 edge in points in the paint.
"It's a rivalry," Daniels said. "I think that's the easiest way to put it. They come in here and play with all they got. Regardless if we play here or there we know it's going to be a tough, competitive game." Cuttino Mobley
scored 20 points, Steve Francis
added 19 and Kenny Thomas
18 for the Rockets, who are 0-3 against the Spurs this season.
"I can't tell you why we tend to get down in the first quarter," Francis said. "But it happens and it tends to burn us. You can see it early in games -- we tend not to get to as many loose balls early in the game as we do late in the contests."
With the win, the Spurs (40-21) moved into a tie with Minnesota for fourth place in the Western Conference. San Antonio's next four contests are against lowly Chicago (twice), Denver and Memphis.
"There are no teams in the league right now that we can take lightly," Duncan said. "Over the next 20 games or so we need to show some consistency. Some nights we might not come out as hard as the others, but with only 20 or so left we need to be consistent and win all of them."