SAN ANTONIO, March 31 (Ticker) -- Manu Ginobili
and the San Antonio
Spurs had no problem shooting the ball against the Sacramento
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Ginobili scored 29 points - 15 in the fourth quarter - on
11-of-16 shooting as the Spurs defeated the Western
Conference-leading Sacramento Kings, 107-89, to cap a perfect
Ginobili was coming off a 21-point effort in a 101-93 triumph
over Cleveland on Monday.
"We had one player who was ridiculous," Spurs coach Gregg
Popovich said of Ginobili. "I don't know how to describe it.
He was off the charts. When you're on, you're on. It was
obvious everything he did was golden."
Ginobili was so hot that he even hit a drifting, banked jumper
from just inside the arc with 3:56 remaining that made it 96-87
and appeared to demoralize the Kings.
"I'm glad Pop said I was off the charts," Ginobili said. "I was
taking off-balance shots, especially in the second half. I
kept making the shots so I was trying to make it last forever."
"Defending Ginobili was tough on all of us tonight," said Kings
forward Chris Webber
, who scored 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting.
"He kept getting in the paint, driving to the basket and then
everybody has to help on him. It takes everbody's game out of
added 19 points and Bruce Bowen
17 for San Antonio
(50-25), which shot 58 percent (42-of-73) as it remained 1 1/2
games behind Minnesota (52-24) in the Midwest Division.
"We're actually better when I'm just another option," Duncan
said. "They move the ball around and I can get my shots here
and there. We get a lot of different guys playing well."
Sacramento (52-22) saw its lead for the best record in the
conference slip to one game over Minnesota and the Los Angeles
San Antonio saw a 14-point lead early in the third quarter
dwindle to 69-63 on a jumper by Peja Stojakovic
with 2:31 left
before Ginobili took over. He scored six points in the rest of
the period and six in the first 1:45 of the fourth to open an
85-71 edge, and Sacramento did not threaten thereafter.
"He's a special player," Popovich said. "His size (6-6), he's a
good athlete, he's fearless. He plays to win. ... Actually,
it's beyond a job for him - it's a passion. I've seen him play
with the Argentinian team and he plays the same way. He's a
Stojakovic scored 19 points and Doug Christie
added 17 for the
Kings, who were opening a "Texas Triangle" road trip. They have
lost three of their last four games.
The Kings were without injured All-Star Brad Miller
Sixth Man candidate Bobby Jackson
"We have to raise our level of play," Kings coach Rick Adelman
said. "It's all in our hands right now. We are still in front
of this conference. We can't bemoan our tough schedule, or
bemoan guys we have out right now. We have to accept the
challenge and respond."
"We just have to suck it up," Christie said. "The shots they
got tonight, we can't allow Dallas to get tomorrow night. It's
coming down to the wire and you have to play championship-style
basketball. Just playing better is not good enough right now.
We have to get the win."