Spurs easily avoid first consecutive losses of season

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Beno Udrih made the most of rare extended playing time.

Udrih had season highs of 17 points and eight assists, and Tim Duncan had 14 points and nine rebounds to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 104-76 victory over the injury-plagued Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday night.

Averaging 2.4 points and 5.7 minutes in 24 games coming in, Udrih played just over 24 minutes as the Spurs' starters sat out the fourth quarter.

"I know my opportunity is going to come," said Udrih, who is in his second season. "I felt great the whole game. I'm much more comfortable this year. I know all the plays."

San Antonio, coming off an 89-85 loss to Denver on Sunday, led by 23 midway through the third and maintained at least an 18-point advantage the rest of the way. Brent Barry scored 12 points and Fabricio Oberto added 10 for the Spurs, who easily avoided losing consecutive games for the first time this season.

Jumaine Jones had 15 points and nine rebounds, and Primoz Brezec added 13 points on 6-for-12 shooting for the Bobcats, who lost their eighth straight game. Charlotte, missing three key starters, shot 40 percent from the floor (32-for-80).

"All the injuries right now, yeah, it's tough," Bobcats guard Brevin Knight said. "But you've got to deal with it. You have to continue to go out and play. Tonight, we just weren't knocking down shots, and that has nothing to do with injuries."

Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff anticipated a strong effort from the Spurs. His team created some opportunities on offense but overall, he said, it did not match the Spurs' intensity.

"They just lost one here at home and Pop had them primed and ready," Bickerstaff said. "You hate to come in here after they just suffered a loss. ... I told our guys, 'You just saw where we are trying to go."'

The Spurs began the game in control, leading by nine at one point and getting scores from seven different players. San Antonio increased its lead to 51-36 at halftime, led by Udrih's nine points in the opening half and a defense that held the Bobcats to 16-of-48 shooting.

With a big lead in the second half, the Spurs used mainly bench players, allowing them to rest Duncan's sore foot by playing him just 24½ minutes. Eleven players scored for San Antonio, with Nick Van Exel -- who didn't attempt a shot in 17 minutes -- the lone exception.

While Spurs coach Gregg Popovich praised his team's effort, he also pointed out how hobbled the Bobcats have been this season.

"It was a good all-around game," Popovich said. "A lot of people played well. We showed a lot of focus. It's tough circumstances for Charlotte. Undermanned doesn't describe it."

Game notes
Spurs F Robert Horry (abdominal strain) and G Manu Ginobili (sprained ankle) did not play. ... The Bobcats returned three players to the active roster, including PF Melvin Ely who sprained his ankle on New Year's Day. Ely missed his first four shots before finishing with nine points. ... Bobcats C Emeka Okafor (ankle
sprain), G Kareem Rush (finger sprain) and F Sean May did not play.