SAN ANTONIO, March 2 (Ticker) --
After the Toronto Raptors made things
interesting, Manu Ginobili
and Tony Parker
ended the drama.
Ginobili and Parker made key baskets in the final two minutes as
the San Antonio Spurs held off the hard-charging Raptors,
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The All-Star Ginobili scored 17 points and Parker added 15 for
the Spurs, who held a 21-point lead midway through the third
Toronto reduced the deficit to 70-56 entering the fourth and
pulled within 88-82 on a 3-pointer by Rafer Alston
remaining. But Ginobili made a bank shot 19 seconds later and,
after a dunk by Toronto's Chris Bosh
, Parker made a layup for a
92-84 cushion with 43 seconds left.
"Disappointed isn't the word, but we know that we are not
playing as sharp as we could right now," Ginobili said. "We are
playing well in some spots and we are also struggling at other
times. So I would say we are a little worried. We can still
improve on some things and get better."
scored just 13 points - 8.4 below his average - but
grabbed 11 rebounds and played his usual great defense for San
Antonio, which avoided being swept by the Raptors for the first
time. The Raptors beat the Spurs in Toronto on November 21,
"We are just trying to be ourselves and take care of the things
we do every night," Duncan said. "We play great some nights and
not so well other nights, but all in all, we are consistent
with what we do. Certain nights the shots fall and when that
happens, it's a different game. All in all, if we take care of
the basketball and run our stuff, the result will come out in
San Antonio shot 51 percent (37-of-72) and held Toronto to 37
percent (26-of-71). The final margin was closer than expected
because the Raptors sank 29-of-35 free throws and the Spurs just
"We lost to a better team today," said Raptors guard Jalen Rose
who scored 15 points on 4-of-13 shooting. "They played good
defense and they held us to a low shooting percentage. We did a
good job of attacking the basket and getting to the free-throw
line, which was a good thing."
The Spurs also committed 17 turnovers, which the Raptors
converted into 19 points.
"When you miss free throws and have turnovers, it keeps teams in
the ballgame," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
said. "Those are our
two weaknesses. We decided to go ahead and count this as a win
after much discussion.
"We've been sloppy since before the break and tonight was no
different. We're inconsistent in turning over the ball and
playing with intensity for 48 minutes. We've been playing like
that often and it's not gotten any better."
The Spurs limited the Raptors to just 24 percent (9-of-37)
shooting in the first half yet held just a 42-36 edge at the
break. But Bruce Bowen
opened the third quarter with a
3-pointer to trigger an 11-0 run, and his jumper with 6:13 left
in the period pushed the advantage to 59-38.
"I thought we had some good looks, but they're a good defensive
team," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell
said. "I thought we rushed
some shots, but our guys competed and played hard. That's all I
want from my guys is to just play hard and never give up. I'm
just proud of our guys."