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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spurs win 10th straight, move into first in West


SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs rose to the top of the Western Conference standings by overpowering the weakest team in the conference.

News photo
Big obstacle: Denver's JaVale McGee tries to block a shot by Phoenix's Markieff Morris in the fourth quarter on Friday night. The Nuggets beat the Suns 105-99. AP

Tim Duncan scored 19 points to lead San Antonio to a 128-103 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night, giving the Spurs their 10th straight win.

Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills scored 14 points apiece, and Stephen Jackson and Gary Neal each added 13 for San Antonio, which scored 72 points in the first half and swept the four-game season series.

The win, coupled with Oklahoma City's loss to Indiana, moved the Spurs percentage points ahead of the Thunder for first place in the West. The Spurs were prevented from clinching their 15th consecutive playoff berth when Houston beat the Los Angeles Lakers later Friday.

The last time San Antonio didn't make the playoffs was in 1996-97, the season before Duncan arrived.

Duncan said the team's strong play at the outset was a result of its struggles late against Boston on Wednesday.

"We didn't play well the second half of the last game, so we wanted to come out and be a little more focused and play a little better," Duncan said. "It was a good start for us. . ."

Eric Gordon, playing in only his second game in three months, scored 31 points to lead the Hornets, who have lost four of their last five games.

San Antonio jumped out to a 72-45 halftime lead and was never threatened in the second half.

The Spurs' reserves, led by Ginobili, scored 82 points, allowing Duncan to play only 20 minutes and Tony Parker just 16.

Grizzlies 97, Heat 82

In Miami, Rudy Gay scored 17 points, Zach Randolph had 14 points and 14 rebounds off the bench, and Memphis put seven players in double figures to snap the Heat's 17-game home winning streak.

Rockets 112, Lakers 107

In Los Angeles, Goran Dragic had 26 points and 11 assists, Luis Scola scored 10 of his 25 points during a 2:39 span of the fourth quarter, and Houston capitalized on the ejection of Andrew Bynum to beat the Lakers.

Pacers 103, Thunder 98

In Indianapolis, Danny Granger scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to help the Pacers win their fourth straight.

Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant scored 44 points.

Nets 110, Wizards 98

In Newark, New Jersey, Deron Williams had 19 points and 13 assists in fighting off the lingering effects of the flu, leading the hosts past fading Washington.

Cavaliers 84, Raptors 80

In Toronto, Antawn Jamison scored 16 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, Lester Hudson had a career-high 23 points and Cleveland snapped a nine-game losing streak.

Cavaliers coach Byron Scott wasn't around to see his team's first win since March 19 at New Jersey. Scott was ejected with 53 seconds left in the first half after a brief but fiery argument with referee Kane Fitzgerald.

Hawks 101, Pistons 96

In Atlanta, Jeff Teague tied a career high with 24 points and had a season-high 11 assists to help the Hawks hold off Detroit.

Nuggets 105, Suns 99

In Denver, Arron Afflalo had 30 points, Andre Miller scored 13 of his 15 in the fourth quarter and the Nuggets scored the final nine points to beat Phoenix.

Bucks 95, Bobcats 90

In Milwaukee, Monta Ellis had 25 points and nine assists to lead the Bucks.

Blazers 99, Mavericks 97 (OT)

In Dallas, LaMarcus Aldridge's buzzer-beating 5.2-meter jumper lifted Portland past the Mavs in overtime.

Jazz 104, Warriors 98

In Salt Lake City, Al Jefferson scored 30 points and Devin Harris added a season-high 28 to help Utah snap a two-game home losing streak.

Ex-Tokyo Apache post player Jeremy Tyler had a season-high 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting with five rebounds for Golden State.

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