Spurs shut down BobcatsFeb 20, 2008 - 5:55 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) - The Spurs used a strong start to the fourth quarter to put away the Charlotte Bobcats, 85-65, on Tuesday night at the AT&T Center.
Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with 18 points, while Michael Finley, Ime Udoka and Jacque Vaughn combined to score 36. Udoka also tied his career-high with ten rebounds.
It was the Spurs' first home game in nearly a month - since January 26 as they left town as part of their annual Rodeo Road Trip. They played nine straight road games, and their offense looked rusty early. San Antonio finished with 21 turnovers.
Their defense, however, remained sturdy throughout. Charlotte's 65 points, 28.2 percent shooting and 22 field goals were all season lows for a Spurs opponent.
"Tonight we had a whole lot of All-Star rust," Bobcats coach Sam Vincent said. "Our conditioning, timing, shooting everything was a little off."
It took nearly the entire first half for San Antonio to shake off their rust.
The Spurs shot just 22 percent in the first quarter, and trailed 18-13 heading into the second. Ginobili scored eight of the 13 points, and needed only one word to describe the Spurs early in the game.
"Awful," he said. "But the layoff had a lot to do with the slow start. Fortunately, we played great defense, though."
But their offense did eventually kick into gear. Ginobili hit a step-back jumper with 1:33 left in second to tie the game at 31-31, and the Spurs entered halftime with a 36-32 lead.
Playing his first game in San Antonio after being signed on Feb. 3, Damon Stoudamire came off the bench to score eight points. He also started the second half in an attempt to jumpstart the offense a little. It worked.
After a Stoudamire 3-pointer, the Spurs held a 44-34 lead with 9:38 left in the third, but the Bobcats responded with an 8-0 run before a Tim Duncan layup his first field goal of the game - stopped the bleeding.
"You saw some of the post All-Star break blues," Stoudamire said. "It happens, but we were able to overcome it."
Duncan finished with seven points on 2-of-12 shooting in one of his worst offensive performances of the year, but he led the Spurs with 15 rebounds.
San Antonio opened up the fourth quarter hot, and a Bruce Bowen 3-pointer gave the Spurs a 67-55 lead with 8:18 left in the game. The Spurs hit two more from behind the arc, and it was all the cushion San Antonio needed as they scored 31 points in the fourth and coasted to victory.
Raymond Felton led Charlotte with 19 points, and Jason Richardson finished with 13. Emeka Okafor had 10 rebounds but scored just two points.
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