SAN ANTONIO, March 20 (Ticker) -- It had been a while since Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs had their way with the Los Angeles Lakers. They certainly made up for lost time.

Duncan scored 25 points in limited minutes as the Spurs routed the Lakers, 108-90, for their season high-tying 10th straight victory.

"This was great for us," Duncan said. "Especially with the roll we're on, this really caps it off. We played as well aswe have (during) the entire streak here tonight."

"This was good. We hadn't beaten them in a little while," said Spurs center David Robinson, who scored 14 points. "When you get on a little streak like we've been where you're playing good basketball, this is one of the games you feel like you have to come and get. For us, it's a good win."

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Malik Rose made seven of 10 shots, and was hustling all over the court.
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The Spurs had not beaten the Lakers in over a year. Their last win was a 93-89 overtime triumph on March 9, 2001, but the memory of that victory was erased by an embarrassing sweep in the Western Conference finals and losses in the first two meetings this season.

However, San Antonio caught Los Angeles at the right time in this one. In addition to being the hottest team in the NBA, the Spurs were rested, while the Lakers were coming off a loss in Dallas on Tuesday.

"We were the cowards tonight," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "You know the old statement, `Fatigue makes cowards of all men.'"

The two-time defending NBA champions put up little resistance. The Lakers trailed by nine points in the first quarter and made just seven baskets in the middle two periods, falling behind 62-40 at halftime and 87-56 after three quarters.

Lakers superstars Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant were kept off their games by the Spurs. O'Neal made just 2-of-10 shots and finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Bryant was limited to 20 points, had only one rebound, no assists, and committed seven turnovers.

"I don't ever make any excuses for bad play," O'Neal said. "They kept us on our heels. We've now lost two in a row and we'll just have to get back on track. It was just one of those games for us and one of those nights for me."

"I'm upset about the losses to Dallas and again tonight," Bryant said. "We need to look at what we did bad over the past couple of nights and make some changes."

Two trip-ups in Texas and San Antonio's surge has reduced the distance between the teams to one game. The Spurs (46-21) are fourth in the Western Conference and the Lakers (47-20) are third, 1 1/2 games behind pace-setting Sacramento.

Duncan's basket capped a 9-2 run that gave San Antonio a 19-10 lead with 6:44 left in the first quarter. He scored 13 points in the first period, which ended with the Spurs holding a 33-25 lead.

Malik Rose, a strong candidate for the Sixth Man Award, scored 10 points in a 16-3 burst that opened the second quarter. His jumper made it 49-28 with 7:35 left and the rout was on.

Los Angeles made just 3-of-15 shots in the second quarter. It was not much better in the third period as the Lakers made 4-of-14 shots and committed eight of their 21 turnovers. They got no closer than 18 points in the second half.

"We came out real focused in the second half," Duncan said. "The first five to seven minutes of the half is when teams usually make their run. We were able to sustain our energy tonight and didn't allow that to happen."

"There's not a whole lot you can take from this game," Jackson said. "We didn't get back defensively, didn't move the ball around well and we let them take it away from us."

Rookie Tony Parker scored 12 points and Danny Ferry added 11 for the Spurs, who shot 48 percent (40-of-83) and held a 43-39 rebounding edge. Duncan swept nine boards.

Twelfth man Brian Shaw scored 16 points in garbage time for the Lakers, who shot 40 percent (31-of-77).