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Spurs conclude record trip with victory

2/17/2003

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo
finally ended on Sunday, which means the San Antonio Spurs are
finally heading home from the longest road trip in franchise
history.

And if the Spurs' NBA-record eight straight wins at the end of
that nine-game trip are any indication, nobody will miss the
cowboys and Ferris wheels in the SBC Center: The best show in town
is just arriving.

Tim Duncan had 34 points and 12 rebounds, and Emanuel Ginobili
grabbed two key offensive rebounds in the final seconds as the
Spurs beat the Sacramento Kings 104-101.

Malik Rose had 15 points and nine rebounds and hit two go-ahead
free throws with 1:33 left, while Tony Parker had 18 points and
seven assists as the Spurs finished their odyssey with eight
straight wins after losing the opener at Minnesota on Jan. 27.

"You don't plan on going 8-1 on a road trip,'' Spurs coach
Gregg Popovich said. "At the beginning, we wouldn't have thought
that would have happened. We're thrilled, but hopefully we're not
that thrilled.''

The Spurs beat five playoff contenders during the trip, which
stretched through the All-Star break and across all four time
zones. Yet after 22 days on the road, San Antonio still had enough
hustle and poise to hold off the Kings in the NBA's toughest road
arena.

"I'm just glad it's over,'' Duncan said. "We get to spend some
time at home now, and that's a luxury.''

So was Duncan happy with the trip?

"We wanted to win all nine,'' he said, ``but there's no
disappointment at all.''

The Spurs have won 17 of 20 since Jan. 1, and they capped their
trip with victories over the Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers.
What's more, they did it all without David Robinson, who's on the
injured list.

The Spurs won with the hustle and heart that defines their
roster. San Antonio was nursing a 98-97 lead with Parker grabbed a
loose ball from Keon Clark and sprinted down for a layup attempt.
He missed it, but Ginobili tipped it in.

With 14.1 seconds left, Parker missed a free throw that could
have given San Antonio a three-point lead -- but Ginobili again
grabbed the offensive rebound and made an ensuing free throw. He
finished with a career-high 15 points.

"He does those little things -- gets loose balls, steals,
offensive rebounds,'' Popovich said. "I love the way he competes
and plays.''

"It takes time to get used to the guys,'' said Ginobili, an
Argentine who's the two-time MVP of the Italian League. "I'm still
getting used to the league. I don't think I really proved a lot to
the NBA yet.''

Vlade Divac had 22 points and nine rebounds as Sacramento, the
NBA's best home team over the past three seasons, lost at Arco
Arena for just the fifth time this season.

The Spurs are the only visiting team to win twice in Sacramento
this season; Dallas was the only team to do it last season.

"We don't like to lose in our home building, but they played
very well and got all the offensive rebounds at the key times,''
Divac said. "We didn't rebound very well at all.''

Wearing the uniforms of the 1965 Cincinnati Royals on Oscar
Robertson Day at Arco Arena, the Kings played without leading
scorer Chris Webber and lost coach Rick Adelman to an ejection at
halftime. Sacramento led down the stretch, but managed just one
field goal in the final 2:55.

Mike Bibby had 17 points and eight assists, but he airballed a
3-pointer with 4 seconds left and the Kings down 102-99.

"We kept telling each other, 'Don't worry about the refs,' but
I think we got caught up in it once in a while,'' Bibby said.

Adelman was tossed for the first time this season -- just the
fifth time in his career -- for protesting a non-call at the
halftime buzzer. Referee Steve Javie tossed Adelman after the coach
had stopped arguing.

Adelman's odd ejection capped a series of baffling calls by the
officiating crew of Javie, Tim Donaghy and Scott Wall. Donaghy also
gave technical fouls to Divac and Bibby for arguing calls, while
Sacramento was called for 28 fouls to San Antonio's 15.

"There's no give-and-take,'' Adelman said. "It's not a two-way
street. ... From right when this game started, this (officiating)
crew was like, 'Don't talk to me.'''

Game notes
The Kings honored Robertson throughout the game, which he
watched from courtside next to owners Joe and Gavin Maloof. ... The
game was another adventure for the controversial Donaghy. He was
confronted by Portland's Rasheed Wallace on a loading dock at
Portland's Rose Garden last month, leading to Wallace's seven-game
suspension. ... The Kings wore Royals jerseys as part of an NBA
initiative dubbed Hardwood Classics Nights. Seven more teams will
hold a similar event this season, honoring a star player and
wearing vintage uniforms.