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Spurs record 16 blocked shots to edge 76ers

12/7/2002

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- With plenty of blocked shots and
high-percentage field goal opportunities, the San Antonio Spurs
ended the second-longest winning streak of the NBA season.

Tim Duncan scored 29 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked
eight shots to lead the San Antonio Spurs over Philadelphia 98-93
Friday night, snapping the 76ers' eight-game winning streak.

San Antonio blocked 16 shots and shot 56 percent in defeating
Philadelphia for the 16th consecutive time at home.

``We did a good job playing defense for 48 minutes,'' San
Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. ``The whole team responded
defensively and that's important to do for 48 minutes. If we hadn't
shot the way we did, it would have been a tough game.

Stephen Jackson came off the bench to score 24 points, while
David Robinson added 13 and Tony Parker 10.

``Tonight we did a good job of playing hard all the way through
the game,'' Duncan said. ``Defensively we did a great job as a
team. We were unselfish tonight. We shared the ball and moved the
basketball well and that got guys some great looks.''

Philadelphia, which hadn't lost since Nov. 16, was led by Allen
Iverson with 21 points, but he shot only 9-of-30. Keith Van Horn
added 15 and Eric Snow 14.

``Give San Antonio credit, they did a great job just shutting us
down,'' Philadelphia coach Larry Brown said. ``Their blocks really
hurt us, and they got to the foul line a lot tonight. However, I am
pleased with the effort that we made, and was pleased with the way
that we finished the ballgame.''

After taking an 80-68 lead into the fourth quarter, San Antonio
maintained its advantage behind eight points from Jackson and led
90-78 on Robinson's layup.

After Snow cut the lead to 90-82 on a jump shot with 4:16
remaining, both teams misfired on several scoring opportunities
before San Antonio answered with four free throws, the last two by
Duncan with 1:41 to play gave the Spurs a 94-82 lead.

Philadelphia would get no closer than five points the rest of
the way as both teams emptied their benches.

``I thought Tim and David did a great job of shutting down our
inside penetration,'' Iverson said. ``I got into the lane a couple
of times, but it was tough getting shots up and making plays. They
did a really good job of controlling the lane.''

``It was a team effort to try and cover Iverson,'' said Jackson,
who shot 9-for-12. ``We were able to make him take some tough shots
over our big guys and we were able to get some blocks on him.''

The Spurs, the NBA's top defensive team, dominated the game
inside. The Spurs not only blocked 16 shots, they also outscored
the 76ers 54-34 in the paint.

``That was big for us,'' said Duncan, who was 15-for-20 at the
free throw line. ``We knew Allen was going to get a lot of shots
and they love to drive the ball to the basket. I thought we did a
great job of help-side defense tonight.''

San Antonio opened the third quarter with a 10-2 run and led
59-44 on a short jump shot by Steve Smith with 9:52 to play in the
period. Duncan had 12 points in the third quarter, 10 coming at the
free throw line.

Behind 14 points from Duncan, San Antonio led 49-42 at halftime.
The Spurs were able to build the lead behind 21-of-37 shooting from
the floor.

``We played great defense overall and played that way for 48
minutes,'' said Robinson, who had 12 rebounds and five blocked
shots. ``We've been playing well enough to win all year long but
sometimes our concentration lapses, but not tonight. If we had been
doing that all year we would have a better record right now.''

Game notes
Iverson continued his struggles beyond the 3-point line
going 0-for-5. He came into the game shooting only 23.9% from
behind the arc. ... Iverson was held below the 30-point mark for
only the 10th time this season. ... With the win, San Antonio split
the season series after the 76ers won 99-94 on Nov. 14 in
Philadelphia ...The Sixers' winning streak was second only to
Dallas' season-opening 14-game victory string. ... San Antonio came
into the game with the NBA's lowest opponent field goal percentage
(39.9 percent). Philadelphia shot 41.4 percent from the floor
Friday. ... Duncan's double-double was his 12th of the season and
299th of his career.