for this game

Duncan leads Spurs past reeling Wizards

Feb 7, 2008 - 5:37 AM By Rich Dubroff PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) - Tim Duncan scored 23 points to lead the San Antonio Spurs to an 85-77 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

It was the third straight win for the Spurs while the Wizards suffered their fifth straight loss. Washington also started the season 0-5 before reeling off six consecutive victories.

The Spurs took over the game with a 14-2 run that spanned the end of the third quarter into the early fourth, giving them a 67-60 lead with 9:45 remaining.

The spurt was led by Robert Horry, who scored seven points, including a 3-pointer with 10:21 to play. It was followed by Manu Ginobili's 3-pointer to provide the seven-point advantage.

Horry had nine points, a season high for the 37-year-old veteran, who has won seven NBA championships.

"I'm just happy to make a shot. I haven't knocked down a shot in ages," Horry said.

Entering Wednesday's game, Horry had scored just 41 points all season, but on this season-long nine-game road trip, coach Gregg Popovich decided it was time to play him.

"We decided we were going to play him on this road trip to get him in shape for the playoffs," Popovich said.

Horry, who missed the first 16 games of the season to care for a sick child, is just starting to feel better now.

"You get a rhythm. Before, it was like you're getting those five, 10 minutes a game, and then sitting," Horry said. "The thing about it is, I don't mind sitting on this team because you have so many players who are capable of playing.

"Six, seven years ago, I'd be raising cain about not playing, but now we're letting guys get some experience."

Duncan converted on a three-point play with 1:51 remaining to make it 80-73. Even though Duncan was the leading scorer, the spotlight was on Horry.

"I'm not real excited for Rob," Duncan said. "Rob hangs around and hangs around and starts turning it on. It's way too early to get excited about Rob."

The 77 points were a season low for Washington and the fewest allowed by San Antonio.

"In my mind, we went toe-to-toe with the world champions," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "It was a very physical game."

The Wizards played without forward Caron Butler, who missed the game with a strained left hip flexor. Butler aggravated the injury in Tuesday's game in Philadelphia, just his second after missing three with the same injury.

They also continue to be without Gilbert Arenas, who had knee surgery in November and still is a few weeks from returning.

Blatche started in Butler's place and scored 16 points and had a career-high 15 rebounds, and Antawn Jamison scored 18 points for Washington, which is 24-24 and at the .500 mark for the first time since January 2.

The Wizards begin a four-game road trip on Friday in Denver.

"We are playing without Caron for a couple of games, but we have enough to get it done," Jamison said.

"We're going to come out swinging harder next game," Blatche said. "We are without two All-Stars."

The Spurs played without point guard Tony Parker, who missed his fourth straight game with bone spurs in his left heel. He's out until at least after the All-Star break.

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