Duncan, Ginobili Lead Spurs Past Heat
San Antonio 98, Miami 84
SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 7 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili toyed with the travel-weary Miami Heat.
Duncan and Ginobili took turns dominating stretches of the decisive second quarter as the surging San Antonio Spurs built a big lead and coasted to a 98-84 victory over the Heat, who completed a five-game road trip.
"There were a lot of contributions by a lot of people," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "It worked out well for us. We had pretty good overall defense and good offense. We got a little sloppy at the end, but good defense carried us through."
Miami began its trek with wins in Atlanta and Sacramento but followed with losses in Denver and Los Angeles. The seesaw game of the trip tilted in San Antonio's favor in the second quarter, when the two All-Stars of the Spurs took charge.
Duncan scored nine points - on all the interior - in an 11-0 run that gave San Antonio the lead for good at 36-25 with 4:22 left. He made it look easy against Alonzo Mourning and Udonis Haslem, a pair of rugged post defenders.
"We have to attack down low, especially with Shaquille (O'Neal) out," Duncan said. "Manu and Tony (Parker) got in there a lot tonight and drew a lot of fouls, which really helped us out."
After Miami pulled within 36-29, Ginobili scored nine points in an 11-1 spurt that closed the first half and gave San Antonio a 47-30 lead. In the first half, the Heat had 10 baskets and 12 turnovers.
"I can play better than I did tonight, but I'm happy because I needed a good one," said Ginobili, who scored just four points Monday after missing two games with a bruised ankle. "It helps to get some confidence and get shots going to the basket. I tried to attack the rim more often tonight than I had been."
A 3-pointer by Bruce Bowen, who scored 10 points, gave the Spurs their largest lead at 67-47 with 3:35 left in the third quarter.
Miami closed to 71-59 entering the final period and narrowed the margin to single digits behind Dwyane Wade, who had 31 points and 10 assists.
With 1:52 remaining, Wade rose for a jumper and twisted his ankle when he landed on the foot of Bowen, who has crowded scorers such as Ray Allen and Vince Carter in similar fashion in the past.
"It was just a freak accident," Wade said. "It's always tough going against him, as Bruce is one of the best defenders in the league. Every possession he is going to make you take a tough shot."
Wade's free throws made it 90-83, but Ginobili, who scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, split the defense for the clinching layup with 1:06 to go.
"They really dominated us in the second quarter particularly," Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said. "It was a tough night all night for us to get good shots. Obviously we've got a long way to go to get back to this level because that's where we want to be. Getting Shaq back is a big part of it, but we also have a long way to go in terms of our game to get back to this level."
Parker had 14 points and a season-high 11 assists for the Spurs, who shot 47 percent (38-of-81) despite 3-of-18 shooting from 3-point range.
"Tony Parker, if you've been watching this year, has just been picking people apart on the pick-and-rolls," Van Gundy said. "We made it a major emphasis and made a decent effort. It was tough to contain him tonight."
Antoine Walker scored 10 points but made just 3-of-15 shots for the Heat, who shot under 36 percent (28-of-78) and had no other players in double figures.
"It's gonna happen," Walker said. "I just try to get to the basket, draw some contact and get to the line. I got there a couple of times, but I just really couldn't get my shots to go tonight."
The Heat fell to 1-18 all-time in San Antonio. Their only victory came on December 23, 1996, a game in which Spurs center David Robinson suffered a broken foot that ended his season and relegated the team to the lottery - which they won, using the pick on Duncan.
The Heat (10-9) continue to wait for the return of O'Neal, who has not played since the second game of the season due to a sprained ankle.
"It would make it a little easier on me," Wade said. "I have had to take on more responsibilities this year than I thought I would have to. That's part of basketball. Having him back will help everyone's confidence."