Spurs' 14-3 run sets the tone


SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Tim Duncan returned to San Antonio's lineup
Wednesday night. Not that the Spurs really needed him.

San Antonio opened the game with a 14-3 run, built a 21-point
lead late in the first quarter and coasted to a 108-90 win over the
Los Angeles Clippers.

Duncan, who was activated Wednesday after missing six games, had
little to do with the outcome. He scored nine points on 4-for-10
shooting and had a season-low two rebounds in 15 minutes.

"It felt good to get up and down the court," Duncan said.
"It's a process right now. It's going to take a while, my minutes
are going to increase ... As I feel better, I'll let myself back in
the lineup."

Malik Rose led San Antonio with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while
Hedo Turkoglu scored 16 points, Manu Ginobili 14 and Tony Parker
13. Ginobili (eight) and Parker (seven) combined for 15 assists.

Parker said the team needs to keep doing what it has been doing
while being patient with Duncan, who went on the injured list after
hurting the joint where the thigh bone meets the knee.

"I don't think he's 100 percent yet -- his knee is still
bothering him a little bit," Parker said. "We want to play
uptempo, but not forget about Timmy."

The game turned lopsided in the first four minutes as the Spurs
amassed a double-digit lead using the same fast-paced, ball-sharing
offense they relied on while Duncan was sidelined.

Rasho Nesterovic opened the scoring by tipping in a missed layup
by Duncan, and Turkoglu followed with a drive.

Parker and Turkoglu hit back-to-back 3-pointers before
Nesterovic made a 13-foot jumper and Bruce Bowen converted a layup
to make the score 14-3.

Duncan's contribution to that decisive burst was a single

"The Spurs came out like a team that got their butts kicked the
night before," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "After that
first quarter, it was pretty much over."

San Antonio committed 26 turnovers Tuesday in a 94-88 loss in
Memphis. During Duncan's absence, the Spurs went 4-2 -- both losses
to the Grizzlies.

Duncan's first basket came on a 21-foot jumper with 10:18 left
in the second quarter to make the score 44-18.

Elton Brand, who scored 16 for Los Angeles, credited Duncan with
lifting his team even if his numbers were way below his average of
23.2 points and 13 rebounds.

"Just his presence alone makes a difference," Brand said.

San Antonio got its lead to 67-36 late in the first half on a
dunk by Bowen, and the Clippers got no closer than 17 the rest of
the way.

The Spurs shot 9-of-18 on 3-pointers, with Ginobili and Turkoglu
each making three. In its last five games, San Antonio is 38-for-74
on 3-pointers (51.4 percent).

Corey Maggette led the Clippers with 21 points, while Keyon
Dooling scored 16 and Matt Barnes 10.

Los Angeles played its second straight game without Quentin
Richardson, who is out with a sprained back. Richardson is
averaging 17.3 points and 6.2 rebounds.

Game notes
The Spurs scored a season-high 69 points in the first half,
one more than they had Nov. 21 against Atlanta. ... San Antonio,
averaging 15 turnovers a game, had only one in the first half and
finished with seven. ... The Clippers are 3-16 on the road versus
Western Conference opponents.