San Antonio 89, Atlanta 74

SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 25 (AP) - After an opening period in which his team set a franchise low for points scored in a quarter, San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker had one comforting thought.

"We can't do worse,'' Parker said. "So it was like, hopefully we'll make shots and get it going.''

They sure did. The Spurs went from a disastrous five-point first quarter to a season-high six straight wins with an 89-74 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.

Parker had 15 points and nine assists, Tim Duncan had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Manu Ginobili scored 13 for the Spurs, who have lost just five games at home this season. The lousy start set franchise lows in field goals made (1-of-17) and field goal percentage (6 percent) in a quarter.

"Very good team defense sustained us until we could get some points on the board,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

Joe Johnson scored 17 points for the Hawks, who have dropped two in a row. Reserve Zaza Pachulia tied his season high with 14 points, while rookie Al Horford added 12 points and 13 rebounds.

The Hawks, whose stop in San Antonio was the last of a six-game road trip, are trying to make the postseason for the first time since 1999. They're in ninth place in the East, 1 1/2 games behind Philadelphia.

Down seven points at halftime, the Spurs turned things around in the third quarter. Parker exploded to the basket to lead a 21-4 run by San Antonio that gave the Spurs the lead for good. He had 13 points in the period to put the Spurs up 57-48 with one quarter to go.

"I thought our energy level in the first half was phenomenal,'' Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "To start the third quarter, they did everything defensively and we couldn't make shots. It went the other way so fast that we couldn't maintain.''

Parker, in his third game back after sitting out nine with inflammation in his left ankle, said he's feeling his rhythm return.

"He's coming around,'' Duncan said. "It's going to take a couple of games. He'll have some ups and downs for a little while.''

The Spurs kept a comfortable lead in the fourth. Atlanta got within six points early, and a pair of free throws from Pachulia cut the deficit to seven with four minutes to play. But the Spurs sealed it with an 8-0 run that included a 3 from the corner by Ginobili to put them up 80-65 with 1:50 to play.

Though they outrebounded the Spurs 53-43, the Hawks turned over the ball 23 times to give up 23 points.

"I felt that our intensity went down as the second half started,'' Horford said. "We had a lot of opportunities but unfortunately we couldn't take care of the ball. And that's something where if we want any hope or anything we have to clean those things up.''

Josh Smith added 13 rebounds for the Hawks, and Ime Udoka scored 10 points for the Spurs.

New addition Kurt Thomas played his first minutes as a Spur on Monday. The veteran, obtained in a trade from Seattle last week, scored four points and grabbed nine rebounds in 13 minutes.

"I felt OK,'' Thomas said. "My teammates were really talking to me, telling me where I needed to go.''

Mike Bibby, acquired by the Hawks earlier this month, shot just 1-of-11 from the field.

Horford scored 12 in the first half to help Atlanta get a 16-5 advantage after one and 37-30 lead at the break. The Hawks led by as many as 12 in the first half.

Notes: The Spurs' previous low in points for a quarter was eight, which they most recently had on Christmas Day in 2005 at Detroit. ... The Spurs won the season series with Atlanta 2-0. ... Hawks G Acie Law missed his third straight game with a sprained right wrist.


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