for this game

Ginobili helps Spurs down Raptors

Feb 12, 2008 - 5:00 AM By Brian Herman PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

TORONTO (Ticker) -- Manu Ginobili and All-Star Tim Duncan helped the San Antonio Spurs get back on track with a hard-fought road victory on Monday night.

Ginobili scored 34 points and grabbed career-high 15 rebounds and Duncan added 22 and 14 as the Spurs held on for a 93-88 triumph over the Toronto Raptors.

"I realized that I got more than usual, but I couldn't say that I had 15," Ginobili said of his rebounds. "It is probably the first time in my life that I had 15 boards. It's not anything to be proud of, they just bounced my way and that's it."

One night after losing to the Celtics in Boston, the Spurs, who are on a season-long nine-game road trip, were able to ride a hot-shooting first half to a wire-to-wire victory.

"It was huge for us," Duncan said. "We didn't play a good game (Sunday). Obviously, we were injured, but we still should have put a better effort out there, we made too many mistakes.

"We came in here tonight, and I thought we started the game pretty well, had some lulls there during the third and fourth quarter but enough plays to win is all that matters."

The Raptors cut the deficit to 91-88 with 90 seconds left on Chris Bosh's turnaround jump shot but failed to capitalize on Fabricio Oberto's loose-ball foul. Bosh had an open look but missed the jump shot from just beyond the free-throw line with 36 ticks remaining.

"We were not expecting to have an easy game today," Ginobili said. "We knew that even though we had the lead at halftime, they were going to make a run sooner or later."

On the Spurs' ensuing possession, Ginobili grabbed an offensive rebound after launching a long 3-pointer. Michael Finley then knocked down a pair of free throws with eight seconds left to provide the final margin.

"That is why they are the world champions," Toronto assistant coach Mike Evans said. "They know how to close out games. They grinded it out."

San Antonio shot 59 percent from the field in the first half led by Ginobili, who scored 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting before the break.

"He shot the ball well, and it's not like they weren't contested," Bosh said of Ginobili's shots. "He is a good player and everyone knows it. He's been an All-Star and he played to that caliber tonight."

"He made every shot," added Raptors guard Carlos Delfino, who has been Ginobili's teammate on Argentina's national team. "It was very tough to be close to him to contest shots. He can do everything, he can drive, he can rebound and he makes passes. They know how to use him and he responded."

The Spurs were able to get it going early, opening the game on a 9-0 run - highlighted by Ginobili's 3-pointer and two uncontested layups by Duncan.

The Raptors, who struggled with their shooting most of the night, were able to get within four points at 23-19 on a jump shot by Jose Calderon with 1:26 left in the first quarter.

"We started pretty bad tonight," Calderon said. "We have to play better the whole game because we can't be trying to come back for the whole game because of the first quarter. I think it was a really good effort out there by the whole team when trying to come back."

San Antonio was able to stretch its lead to 18 points with an impressive 21-8 run in the second quarter. Ginobili's jumper with 2:06 left in the period capped the run as the Spurs finished the half with a 55-40 advantage.

Toronto threatened to get back into the game with back-to-back shots from the arc early in the third quarter by rookie Jamario Moon and Andrea Bargnani to bring the Raptors within 57-46.

Ginobili answered immediately with a 3-pointer with 7:12 left in the third and then Duncan went to work, converting a variety of layups to keep the Spurs ahead, 68-56, with 2:41 to go in the quarter.

"He played an all-around game," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Ginobili. "The thing I thought was the best was we really kept our wits about us."

With Duncan resting on the bench, Calderon was able to hit two jumpers to cut the deficit to 68-60 heading into the final quarter.

Calderon had 27 points and four assists and Bargnani netted 12 for Toronto.

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