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Duncan, Finley use huge fourth to help Spurs top Kings

Apr 12, 2007 - 5:26 AM SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan and Michael Finley know when it is winning time for the San Antonio Spurs.

Duncan and Finley scored 23 of the Spurs' 30 points in the fourth quarter en route to a 109-100 victory over the lottery-bound Sacramento Kings.

Duncan collected 26 points and 13 rebounds and Finley added 19 points for San Antonio (57-21), which has won 11 of its last 12 contests to remain two games back of second-place Phoenix (59-19) in the Western Conference standings.

Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili scored 14 points apiece for the Spurs, who might not need to worry about seeding the way they are playing. San Antonio won its ninth straight home game and is 22-3 since the All-Star break.

"I think (the stretch run) is a great preparation time, but it gets long at some point," Duncan said. "You fight through that and play through that and hope you can stay away from injuries. You use these games to even lengthen your roster. Make sure people get time and make sure people are comfortable with what the offense is doing, and hopefully, it will help them in the playoffs."

San Antonio now opens a three-game road swing, including a contest at league-leading Dallas on Sunday.

"It will be great motivation for us," Duncan said. "Especially to tie up the series (with the Mavericks). It'll be a good test. They're the best team in the league with the best record in the league."

Trailing, 80-79, entering the final period, the Spurs went to the veteran Duncan, who scored 13 in the fourth and shot 11-of-14 for the game. Finley was the perfect perimeter complement, netting 10 points in the final 12 minutes - shooting 7-of-10 from the floor, including 3-of-5 on 3-pointers.

"It was a good fourth quarter," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Bruce (Bowen) played great defense. Tim was tough in the hole, and Finley shot the ball well. It was a good fourth quarter and it got us through. They did a good job."

"(Duncan) was getting a lot of looks right where he wanted to get them," Kings forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim said. "We were letting him get the ball where he likes it, and when a player that good gets those kind of looks, it's tough to stop him."

San Antonio outscored Sacramento, 30-20, in the final period to secure the victory.

It was more of the same for the Spurs against the Kings, who have lost three straight and eight of 10 vs. San Antonio, including four of the last five meetings at the AT&T Center.

However, Kings coach Eric Musselman lauded his team's competitiveness in its back-to-back set.

"I am extremely proud of our effort," Musselman said. "We played hard (Tuesday night vs. Memphis) and then again (Wednesday). Don't get me wrong. We tip our hats to the Spurs. They were great and played well.

"But to face arguably the best team in the league in a back-to-back and certainly the the hottest team in the league. I mean the Spurs won the game, but our effort was there."

Francisco Garcia and Mike Bibby scored 22 points apiece for Sacramento, which will miss the postseason for the first time since 1998.

"We've got a lot of guys with a lot of pride on this team," Abdur-Rahim said. "Nobody is really pleased with the situation we are in. We just need to go out there and finish the season the right way."

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