HOUSTON, March 2 (Ticker) --
The San Antonio Spurs are receiving
contributions from lots of sources as they continue to tear up
NBA TV highlights from|
Rookie Emanuel Ginobili
scored a season-high 20 points to lead a
balanced effort as the Spurs defeated the Houston Rockets,
97-88, for their 13th victory in 14 games.
"Manu has been working hard all year," Spurs coach Gregg
Popovich said. "He's had it tough because he missed training
camp (with a right ankle injury). He plays defense, makes
steals, gets loose balls. There's more there. He's a special
"I'm just happy I really helped," Ginobili said. "I began to
feel healthy after the All-Star break."
added 17 points, Tony Parker
and Malik Rose
apiece and David Robinson
14 and 10 rebounds for San Antonio,
which has won four in a row and nine of its last 10 road
"Manu was great, all over the floor," Duncan said. "We called it
before the game. We were on Telemundo and Gino is the only who
can speak Spanish on the team, and we gave him the ball and
told him to go."
Ginobili missed his first shot, a 3-pointer, then shot 6-of-6
from the field and 6-of-6 from the line the rest of the game.
"The ball went in," Ginobili said. "I made my free throws. It
was a good day for shooting."
"He's a fiery guy, very talented," Rockets coach Rudy
Tomjanovich said. "He attacks the game with a passion. He has
a lot of tools that you didn't see a lot early because of the
Parker scored 10 points and Duncan and Stephen Jackson
apiece in the first quarter as the Spurs opened a 30-18 lead.
San Antonio shot 70 percent (14-of-20) in the opening 12 minutes
and limited Houston to 36 percent (8-of-22).
San Antonio held a 12-point advantage at the half and by as many
as 22 points early in the third quarter. The bulge was 17
midway through the fourth before Houston made a late run,
pulling within 94-88 on a 3-pointer by Glen Rice
with 52 seconds
"We've got to do something about our slow starts defensively,"
Tomjanovich said. "We got into a comfort zone, and then when it
got to the embarrassing stage, we picked it up later on. I
expected a completely different game today. What I liked about
the game was we didn't quit, but we can't just keep waiting
until it gets to that point for the life to come back in us."
"You can't continue to dig holes for yourself and try to bail
yourself out," Rice said. "That has to change. You spend too
much energy, especially at this time (of the season)."
With the loss, Houston fell one game behind Phoenix for the
final Western Conference playoff spot.
collected 21 points, eight rebounds and eight
assists before fouling out in the final minute and Rice added 19
points for the Rockets, who lost for the ninth time in 13
"I think our defense has kind of lacked in the last couple of
games," Francis said. "We've been falling behind early and
trying to dig ourselves out of a hole against a veteran team.
"I just don't think we are prepared to play at the beginning of
the game," said rookie Yao Ming
, who scored 14 points and
grabbed nine rebounds. "We have some concerns. Sometimes we
are able to thoroughly beat our opponents, but a lot of times it
seems like we let the opponent do what they want.