Spurs Beat Warriors 101-72

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

Tony Parker scored 17 points and Tim Duncan added 16 points and 13 rebounds before both stars sat out the fourth quarter, and the San Antonio Spurs kept pace with Houston atop the Southwest Division with a 101-72 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Monday night.

Drew Gooden had 20 points and 15 rebounds in his hometown for the Spurs, who won their third straight to pull even at 53-28 with the Rockets and Portland, who both won earlier in the night.

If Houston and San Antonio both win their regular-season finales on Wednesday, the Rockets will win a complex tiebreaker and get the No. 3 playoff seed, while San Antonio could end up starting the postseason on the road against the Trail Blazers unless Dallas knocks off Houston.

Duncan looked fairly sharp in less than 23 minutes of play after sitting out Sunday night's game at Sacramento to rest his aching knees, which have limited the two-time MVP's effectiveness. He didn't have to do much against the Warriors, who didn't even have enough healthy bodies to compete in their home finale.

Anthony Randolph had career highs of 24 points and 16 rebounds, and C.J. Watson added 18 points for the Warriors, who had just seven available players. Injured guard Marco Belinelli again had to dress for the game just to give Golden State the NBA-minimum eight in uniform.

The tiny contingent that improbably beat Utah last Saturday with 38 points from Watson had little chance against the Spurs, who led by 30 points midway through the third quarter. Golden State scored just 14 points in the second quarter and 13 in the third.

Although the Spurs have improved lately, their middling stretch of play over the past month has forced them to root for the rival Mavericks on Wednesday if they hope to win the Southwest.

If San Antonio beats the Hornets and Houston wins at Dallas in their finales, they'll have identical marks in the NBA's first two postseason tiebreakers: their records against the division and the Western Conference. The third tiebreaker is the clubs' record against West playoff teams, which will give the No. 3 seed to Houston.

If the Mavericks beat Houston, they'll surge past New Orleans into sixth place in the West - and if the Spurs beat the Hornets, they'll meet Dallas in the first round.

Roger Mason scored 14 points for San Antonio, which finished the second quarter in Oakland on a 19-6 run to take a 57-38 halftime lead. The Spurs surged to a 77-44 lead midway through the third, when three of the Warriors' four starters - Kelenna Azubuike, Ronny Turiaf and Anthony Morrow - were a combined 4-for-29.

Golden State played one last home game without Jamal Crawford (lower back), Corey Maggette (concussion), Monta Ellis (ankle), Stephen Jackson (foot surgery), Brandan Wright (shoulder) and Belinelli, who has barely played in the last six weeks while battling an ankle injury and turf toe.

The Warriors declined to sign any players simply to fill out the roster - no surprise for a strange team that occasionally benched Crawford and Jackson when they were healthy earlier in the season.

Yet the basketball-crazy Bay Area still turned out to support the Warriors, with the 12th sellout crowd of the season giving Golden State an average of 19,631 fans per game despite its dismal record and sharp decline from last season.

They saw another solid game from Randolph, the rookie forward with a diverse range of skills. Although coach Don Nelson seemed reluctant to play him earlier in the season, the Warriors' injury problems have allowed Randolph to pick up hundreds of valuable minutes for next season, when he could be a key component of Golden State's frontcourt.

Notes:

About the only problem in San Antonio's evening occurred early in the fourth quarter, when Oracle Arena security apparently had to remove a heckler by force from the row of seats behind their bench.

Mason banked in a 3-pointer from straightaway just past midcourt at the first-quarter buzzer.

Azubuike missed 10 of his first 11 shots for Golden State. He finished 4-for-21 after making his final shot.


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