The San Antonio Spurs have been the NBA's most dominant team of the past decade with Tim Duncan in their lineup. Thanks to Manu Ginobili, the defending champs know they can persevere without their center on a temporary basis.

San Antonio is unsure if Duncan will be able to play when it hosts the Utah Jazz on Friday in their first meeting since last season's Western Conference finals.

The Spurs have won 16 straight regular-season home games against the Jazz - 19 straight including the playoffs. Utah has not won at San Antonio since Feb. 28, 1999.

Duncan sprained his right knee and ankle in the Spurs' win against Portland on Sunday. Although an MRI exam came back negative, he was held out of Wednesday's game against Dallas. Coach Gregg Popovich says Duncan is 50/50 to start on Friday.

Playing without the two-time MVP for the first time this season, it was Ginobili - making his first start of 2007-08 - who made the difference against the Mavericks.

Ginobili, who was a game-time decision after bruising his finger against Portland, scored a season-high 37 points to go along with six assists and four rebounds to lead San Antonio (16-3) to a 97-95 win.

"I woke up feeling pretty good," Ginobili said. "After I saw I could dribble and shoot pretty well, I had no doubt in my mind that I was going to try and help the guys.

"Sometimes when you have to play without your franchise players others try to work harder to make up for that and we did a great job of that."

It was the fourth straight victory overall for the Spurs, who are 11-0 at home this season and haven't lost at the AT&T Center since Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals to Phoenix on May 12, 17 games ago.

Utah (13-6) has turned into one of the league's offensive juggernauts a season after losing in five games to the Spurs in the conference finals.

The Jazz rank among the league leaders with 107.1 points per game. The offense has been led by third-year point guard Deron Williams, averaging 19.8 points and 8.9 assists. Many of those assists have gone to Carlos Boozer, who is scoring 24.9 points per game - four above his average from last season - while remaining one of the NBA's best rebounders, pulling down 11.4 per night.

Boozer has struggled in his regular-season career against the Spurs, though, averaging just 12.1 points in 11 games and failing to reach double figures five times.

Utah played well again offensively Tuesday night against Sacramento, but allowed the Kings to score 43 points in the first quarter and lost 117-107, snapping a three-game winning streak.

"We can't guard anybody,'' said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, who signed a one-year contract extension this week. "When they shoot as many layups as they did, that is a problem. We were trying to outscore them most of the time instead of trying to get stops. Our ambition is to try to get stops. They just beat us off the dribble all night.''


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