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Streaking Spurs show they can win at home, too

2/19/2003

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The San Antonio Spurs picked up at home where
they left off on the road.

Bruce Bowen scored 18 points as the Spurs played their first
home game in 23 days and defeated the Denver Nuggets 101-76 Tuesday
night.

The victory was the ninth in a row for the Spurs, who won the
final eight games of a nine-game road trip that concluded Sunday at
Sacramento.

"I'm happy the team kept their focus,'' San Antonio coach Gregg
Popovich said. "I'm sure they felt good about the road trip, but
there's a lot of games to play and things to improve on to be ready
down the stretch.''

Stephen Jackson scored 14 points, while Tim Duncan added 11
points and 12 rebounds.

"We wanted to take control early,'' said Duncan, who attempted
only four field goals, making two. "I thought we did a better job
in the second quarter of taking care of the ball, taking shots and
cutting down on offensive rebounds. We got a lead and took it from
there.''

Denver, which lost its sixth straight game, was led by Juwan
Howard with 21 points, while Vincent Yarbrough and Nene Hilario
added 12 apiece.

San Antonio broke open a close game by starting the second
quarter with a 15-0 run to take a 36-22 lead on Bowen's layup with
7:01 to play. The Spurs outscored Denver 30-12 in the quarter and
led 51-34 at halftime behind 10 points by Bowen and nine by
Jackson.

"The 15-0 run that they had just really took the heart out of a
young basketball team,'' Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "We
really played hard, but the run that they had and the experience
that they showed just really took the heart out of the game.''

San Antonio's nine-game winning streak is one of the longest in
franchise history, but the Spurs still have a long way to go to
match the 15-game streak the team had at the end of the 1995-96
season.

"This is exciting,'' said Jackson, who shot 6-for-10 from the
field and added four steals. "It is just good that we got a great
group of young guys. I think Pop's (Popovich) definitely happy with
the way we continue to fight, continue to get leads. It feels good
to get this win and get us ready for Thursday.''

San Antonio stretched its advantage to 29 points, 76-47 on a
driving layup by Speedy Claxton with 1:52 to play in the third
quarter.

The Spurs led 77-51 after three quarters and rested their
starters throughout the fourth period.

"They really are a hot team right now,'' Denver guard Chris
Whitney said. "To have a road trip they had really shows how good
of a team they are. We can learn a lot from a team like this and I
think we can build off of the lessons we learned tonight. They are
a team that is just really jelling and are together. They are a
very good basketball team.''

San Antonio, which next plays at Dallas on Thursday, shot 49.3
percent from the field.

"Our next two games are huge for us,'' Duncan said. "Facing
Dallas and then Indiana coming in here. "It's important for us to
continue to play hard and just push the momentum in our favor.''

Game notes
San Antonio improved to 3-1 this season versus Denver. ...
The Spurs had to vacate the SBC Center for so long because of the
San Antonio Stock and Rodeo Show, which concluded on Sunday. ...
San Antonio improved to 20-4 at home. ... With the win, San Antonio
improved to 18-3 in 2003, the NBA's best record in the new year.
... The Spurs are 7-0 in February. ... San Antonio, which leads the
NBA in blocked shots with 369, had five more against the Nuggets.
... Duncan posted his 38th double-double of the season. ... Denver
lost its 13th straight road game and is just 3-25 on the road this
season. ... When an opponent scores 83 or more points, the Nuggets
are 1-37.