SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Brent Barry is finally showing the shooting
touch that the San Antonio Spurs coveted when they signed him as a
free agent last summer.
Barry hit three 3-pointers during a 21-2 run in the fourth
quarter and the Spurs held Houston to its lowest point total of the
season during a 83-70 win over the Rockets on Sunday.
Barry, who finished with 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting, has
averaged 19 points in the last three games at a time when San
Antonio needs extra production, with top scorer Tim Duncan and key
reserve Devin Brown on the injured list.
"There is no one in the league that feels sorry for the
Spurs," said Barry, who has made 10 of his last 15 3-point
attempts. "We have to be mentally strong ... We all pulled
together and played with some emotions, and that carried us."
The Rockets, who trailed by as many as 12 in the first half,
went ahead 60-55 on a 23-foot jumper by Tracy McGrady with 10:31
left in the game. The basket was the last of the game for McGrady,
who finished with 26 points.
Barry tied it at 60 with 8:07 remaining with his first
3-pointer. Then the Spurs' defense took over, swarming the ball and
collapsing on Yao Ming. Yao also had only one basket in the final
quarter and ended with 18 points.
Houston missed all but one of its six shots and had five
turnovers during San Antonio's decisive run. The Spurs, who shot
only 36 percent in the game, hit six of seven attempts beginning
with Barry's first 3-pointer.
Manu Ginobili led San Antonio with 18 points, while Barry had 17
and Robert Horry 12. Bruce Bowen and Tony Parker each scored 11 for
the Spurs, who improved to 3-5 this season without Duncan, who
missed his four straight game with a sprained right ankle.
Ginobili credited the Spurs' defensive strategy of clamping down
on McGrady in the fourth. McGrady went 1-for-7 in the period.
"Our rotations were really good -- we were everywhere," said
Ginobili, whose five steals were one short of his season high.
"Then we got some rebounds. That makes you feel more confident
when you go on offense."
The win gave the Spurs a split of the season series with
Houston, which lost for only the fourth time in 14 games this
The Rockets' previous low was 72 in a one-point loss to Detroit
on Nov. 30.
"We are in a deep, deep passing slump right now," said Houston
coach Jeff Van Gundy. "We didn't play well enough offensively to
give ourselves a chance."
The Rockets had 17 turnovers, five by McGrady, that led to 21
San Antonio points.
McGrady said afterward that he was slowed by a right hip strain
suffered in Friday night's win in New Orleans. He was listed as
questionable before the game, but ended up playing 44 minutes and
taking 25 shots.
"I didn't feel as quick as I wanted to today," he said. "I
wasn't holding back because I wanted to. I had no choice."
Rasho Nesterovic scored three of San Antonio's first four
baskets, and a pair of free throws by Sean Marks late in the first
gave the Spurs a 22-12 lead. McGrady made his first three attempts
for the Rockets, who went more than seven minutes in the quarter
without a basket.
A dunk by Ginobili off his own steal made it 33-21 San Antonio
with about seven minutes left in the second, but the Spurs missed
eight of their last 11 attempts.
McGrady hit three more shots late in the quarter as Houston got
the difference down to 39-36 at the break.
San Antonio has beaten Houston 15 straight times at home,
the last loss coming in April 1997. ... The teams last split the
season series in 1997-98, when Duncan was a rookie. ... Houston's
David Wesley still has 999 3-pointers in his NBA career. He went
0-for-2 behind the arc. ... San Antonio played without reserve
forward Tony Massenburg, out with a fever.