San Antonio 104, Sacramento 101

Feb. 16, 2003 at 8:27 PM
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SACRAMENTO, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- In putting together perhaps the best road trip in NBA history, Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs finished with a flourish Sunday.

Duncan scored 34 points and Malik Rose and rookie Emmanuel Ginobili made big plays down the stretch as the Spurs edged the Sacramento Kings, 104-101, for their eighth straight road win.

"I'm glad that it ended up the way that it did," Duncan said. "I'm glad that it is over and that I get to go home."

A rodeo at the SBC Arena sent the Spurs packing on a nine-game, 20-day road trip. The team made two brief trips back to San Antonio, but have not played at home since Jan. 25.

After beginning with a loss at Minnesota on Jan. 27, San Antonio has done nothing but win. Friday's victory over the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers made the Spurs the first team in NBA history to win seven straight games on the same road trip.

For the finale, the Spurs came to Arco Arena, where the Kings boasted a 20-4 mark in the loudest facility in the league. Led by Duncan, the Spurs played through the noise and distractions to beat Sacramento at home for the second time this season.

"You don't plan on going 8-1 on the road and at the beginning, I didn't think that was going to happen," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "You hope for it and we're thrilled about it. I just hope that we aren't too thrilled, because we really haven't done anything yet. It's still a long season."

"I wanted to go 9-0," joked Duncan. "Nah, I'm very happy with how it ended. No disappointment at all."

Duncan made 13 of 23 shots and eight of 10 free trows. He grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked three shots. But in the final two minutes, Rose and Ginobili made nearly all the key plays.

An 18-footer by Duncan pulled the Spurs within 97-96 with 2:16 left. At the 1:33 mark, Rose swept an offensive rebound and was fouled, making both free throws to give San Antonio the lead for good.

The teams traded empty possessions before Sacramento's Keon Clark fumbled away a post entry pass. Ginobili picked up the loose ball and fed Parker, who streaked in for a layup that missed. But Ginobili tipped it in for a 100-97 lead with 33 seconds to go.

After a dunk by Clark, Parker was fouled with 14 seconds left. He made the first and missed the second, but the rebound was tapped back beyond the arc, where Ginobili beat Mike Bibby to the loose ball.

"Manu does those types of things," Popovich said. "He's going to get a loose ball, he's going to make a steal, get an offensive rebound and put it back in. Guys like that don't get talked about much, that's just part of the way they compete and play, and we've got one of those type of players in Manu."

Ginobili was fouled and also made one of two with 9.1 seconds remaining, giving the Kings one more chance. But Bibby missed a potential tying three-pointer and Rose added two free throws.

"I had a good look," Bibby said. "I don't make any excuses. It just didn't go in."

Rose and Ginobili each scored 15 points. Ginobili made six of eight shots, collected five offensive rebounds and handed out four assists. Rose had nine rebounds and made nine of nine free throws.

Parker scored 18 points for the Spurs, who erased a 12-point first-quarter deficit and blew a nine-point third-quarter lead. They again played without injured center David Robinson (hip).

"It's one of those things that I'll have to look back on and

Vlade Divac had 22 points and nine rebounds for the Kings, who fell to 9-5 without All-Star forward Chris Webber (ankle), who may return this week. With five home losses, they already have matched last season's total.

The Kings wore retro Cincinnati Royals jerseys as part of a day-long tribute to Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, the best player in franchise history. Robertson sat courtside with Kings owners Gavin and Joe Maloof and a new team award will be named after him.

However, in the first quarter it looked like the Spurs were stuck in a time warp, falling behind, 20-8. But nine points from Duncan helped them close to 31-26 after one period.

Kings coach Rick Adelman picked up two technical fouls arguing a non-call at the end of the first half and was ejected. A three-pointer by Peja Stojakovic, who scored 15 points, capped a 10-2 run that gave Sacramento a 69-62 lead with 7:08 left in the third quarter, but San Antonio called timeout and responded with seven straight points.

"We were disappointed that coach got kicked out but we still came out fighting," Bibby said. "We had a lot of energy, we got up on them and then gave it right back to them."

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