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Ginobili helps Spurs rally past Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Even though Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are
their All-Stars, the San Antonio Spurs needed Manu Ginobili to beat
the Indiana Pacers.

Ginobili scored 10 of his 29 points in the final 1:28 as the
Spurs beat the Pacers 92-88 on Sunday for their league-best ninth
straight win.

Duncan and Parker shot a combined 10-for-30 from the field, but
Ginobili reminded a national television audience why he was an
All-Star last year by shooting 7-of-12 from the field and 11-of-12
from the free throw line.

Ginobili said he knew someone had to pick it up for the Spurs.
Duncan is still recovering from the flu and Parker's shot was off.

"We know that Tim is not at his best," Ginobili said. "He's
still sick, weak. He's been playing with pain in his foot for a lot
of games. We've got to step up and take some pressure off him. We
did pretty well."

Stephen Jackson led the Pacers with 17 points and Peja
Stojakovic added 16.

Duncan had 10 points and 11 rebounds, despite being held to
4-for-15 shooting. Parker had 17 points and six assists and Bruce
Bowen had 16 points and eight rebounds.

The Spurs improved to 6-0 on their eight-game road trip that
ends Wednesday at Philadelphia. They also snapped the Pacers'
four-game winning streak.

"That's a tough one, a tough one to lose," Indiana coach Rick
Carlisle said. "It's too bad, the guys really fought hard. If we
had gotten a couple more stops the last couple of minutes, it would
have been a different story. It's a great team that did great
things down the stretch to win the game.

The Spurs led 90-88 in the closing seconds and the Pacers had
the ball with a chance to tie or go for the win, but Duncan forced
Fred Jones to miss everything on a layup attempt with 5 seconds
left. Duncan said he thought Jones was trying to draw a foul, so he
backed off intentionally and used his 6-foot-11 frame to disrupt
the 6-2 Jones.

"I've just tried to do my part as best I can, and down at the
end there, I was lucky enough to get that stop and rebound and seal
the game," Duncan said.

Ginobili made two free throws at the other end to provide the
final margin.

The Pacers took an 86-81 lead on a 3-pointer by Jackson with
1:35 left. The Pacers then were called for defensive three seconds,
a technical foul. Ginobili made the free throw, then drained a
34-foot 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down on the ensuing
possession to cut Indiana's lead to 86-85 with 1:12 left.

"The chances to make that shot are not very good, 30 percent or
less, maybe," Ginobili said. "That was a difficult shot."

Ginobili was fouled after an Indiana turnover, and he made both
free throws to give the Spurs their first lead since the early
minutes of the fourth quarter.

Jackson replied with two free throws with 39 seconds left to
give the Pacers an 88-87 lead, but Ginobili made two more free
throws to give San Antonio an 89-88 lead with 33 seconds left.

Jackson missed a mid-range jumper and the Spurs rebounded,
forcing the Pacers to foul. Bowen made one of two free throws with
13 seconds left to set up Jones' attempt to tie.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich has become numb to Ginobili's
feats.

"No more impressive than he is every game," Popovich said.
"That's how he plays.

"He's an ultimate warrior and that's what we see from him night
after night."

San Antonio started the game by taking an 11-0 lead, but the
Pacers grabbed a 32-31 lead on a bucket by Stojakovic with 7
minutes left in the second quarter. Indiana made just one field
goal the rest of the period and the Spurs finished the half on a
12-6 run to take a 43-38 lead into the break.

San Antonio led 56-49 in the third quarter, but the Pacers made
six of their last nine shots in the period. The Pacers took a 62-60
lead on a layup by Jones, but Parker's pair of free throws with 33
seconds left in the quarter tied the score at 62 heading into the
fourth.

The Spurs expected a tough game, even though the Pacers are
missing starters Jermaine O'Neal, Jamaal Tinsley and Austin
Croshere. "That team that has been plagued in a lot of ways for a couple
of years has been playing well," Popovich said. "Rick Carlisle is
like the chameleon of the coaches of the NBA. Every two weeks, he's
got to invent another team and put it together a different way and
he just keeps doing it. The way they've been playing, we're
thrilled to get a victory."

Game notes
The Spurs have allowed 81 points per game during their
winning streak. ... The Pacers beat the Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit
Pistons, Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors before
Sunday's loss. Indiana had lost six in a row before the winning
streak. ... It was Indiana's first loss with the starting lineup of
Stojakovic, Jackson, Jeff Foster, Anthony Johnson and Scot Pollard
after winning its first four.