CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 8 (Ticker) --
Even without Tim Duncan
the San Antonio Spurs performed like a well-oiled machine.
scored 20 points as the Spurs won for the ninth time
in 10 outings with a 104-85 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats
in their first meeting.
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Duncan, a two-time NBA MVP, sat out for the first time this
season with a sprained right ankle and will also miss
Wednesday's contest at Washington.
Without their superstar, the Spurs never trailed and got seven
early points from the returning Rasho Nesterovic
to jump out to
a 16-5 lead. The expansion Bobcats shot just 26 percent
(6-of-23) from the floor in the first quarter.
"We knew that even though they are not supposed to be a good
team that we had to make sure they didn't get confident and stay
in the game," Spurs All-Star guard Manu Ginobili
"Rasho was on fire for us," Parker said. "He played very good,
especially early in the game. He gave us that extra weapon that
we needed inside since Timmy was not playing tonight."
The Spurs are hoping to get production out of Nesterovic while
Duncan is out. Nesterovic notched double-doubles in all six
games Duncan missed last season.
Parker scored 10 points in the third period, including a driving
layup with 27 seconds remaining to extend San Antonio's lead to
"We played very unselfish tonight," Parker said. "Everybody was
sharing the ball. It was moving and the transition was the key
tonight. We had to play a little more up-tempo because Timmy
Charlotte showed some life in the fourth quarter by going on a
17-3 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Jason Hart
to cut the deficit
to 85-72 with five minutes left.
Nesterovic, who was activated from the injured list before the
game, and Devin Brown
scored 15 points apiece and Ginobili added
12 for San Antonio, which had a 49-38 rebounding edge.
"I thought we had a good game," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
"I was really pleased with our performance because Charlotte
is so well-coached and plays so aggressively. It's a team
that's earned a lot of respect."
The Spurs raised their record to a league-best 39-10 and made it
three straight wins on their seven-game, 17-day road trip that
takes them to both coasts before returning home after the
Even without Duncan, the Bobcats were outmatched by the league's
"We caught them on a day when everything was clicking,"
Charlotte forward Melvin Ely
said. "It kind of helps us when
teams come in here and overlook us. But great teams like the
Spurs, they come out and execute even with the best player
came off the bench to score 17 points and Primoz Brezec
added 14 for the Bobcats, who have lost 20 of their last
"If you're going to try and beat them, you definitely have to
make shots," Kapono said. "In the first half, we didn't make
them and that's why we were down so quickly."
The Bobcats, who just returned from a four-game road trip, were
down to just eight healthy players at the end of the game.
"Hopefully we can get some rest and try to get some guys back as
quick as possible," Kapono said. "The bottom line is we have
to play with who we have."