SAN ANTONIO, April 12 (Ticker) --
After a tough stretch, the San Antonio
Spurs returned home to wrap up another division title.
scored 30 points and Nazr Mohammed
added 10 and 14
rebounds as the Spurs clinched the Southwest Division title
with an 95-89 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
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It was the fourth division title in five years for San Antonio,
(58-20), which remained one game behind Phoenix for the Western
Conference's best record with four games to play. The Spurs own
the tiebreaker over the Suns.
"It was a great first step," Ginobili said. "When Timmy (Duncan)
went down, we started to get a little worried because we were
not winning on the road and were having a hard time at home.
Dallas was playing really well. At least we got spot number two
(in the Western Conference playoffs) tonight. It's a big
"If some were to choose, they'd say they wanted number one, but
I don't buy into that," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
doesn't matter who you play. Everyone in the West presents a
problem. Everyone competes. Every matchup is going to be
contested hotly. There are so many good teams out there."
Coming off back-to-back double-overtime victories on the road
over the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, the
Spurs never trailed in winning their eighth straight home game.
"The guys showed chutzpah," Popovich said. "They had the energy
to get through the game. I'm happy for them."
Ginobili, who missed Sunday's contest against Golden State with
a stomach virus, returned for this game. The All-Star made
10-of-16 shots and added seven rebounds, four assists and three
Ginobili scored 14 points in the first half, helping the Spurs
build a 48-30 lead.
"It is important to be aggressive in attacking the basket, and
we were able to do that tonight," Ginobili said. "We were able
to draw some fouls and get to the line. Overall, I think it was
very good win for us tonight. The last three games have been
very big for us."
Portland fought back in the second half, cutting the deficit to
85-78 with 2:45 remaining on a three-point play by
. On the ensuing possession, Ginobili made a follow
shot to give San Antonio back the momentum.
After Ruben Patterson
's layup with 1:22 remaining pulled the
Trail Blazers within 89-82, Ginobili responded with a 3-pointer
to all but seal things.
"In the first half, we didn't play the way we needed to play,"
Blazers interim coach Kevin Pritchard
"I challenged the team at halftime. I told them that what's fun
to watch and fun to coach is unselfish basketball. When you
play unselfishly, you score more points, you play better
defense, and you win more games. That second half we played as
hard as we have all year long. Now it's my job to get these
guys to believe in that and do it for 48 minutes. You don't win
games by playing right for a half. You have to play the right
way for the whole game."
scored 18 points and Przybilla added 16 and eight
blocks for the Trail Blazers (25-52), who lost for the eighth
time in nine games and fell to 3-19 under Pritchard.