88 - 97 Final
  for this game

Duncan, Spurs hold off Clippers in fourth

Mar 27, 2008 - 4:19 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan collected 26 points and 12 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs picked up their fifth straight win with a 97-88 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night at the AT&T Center.

Michael Finley scored 16 points and Tony Parker added 15 for the Spurs, who finished the game on an 18-4 run.

Duncan was 8-of-10 from the field and 10-of-13 from the line for San Antonio, which sent the injury-plagued Clippers to their ninth straight loss.

Both teams were playing the second game of a back-to-back, but Los Angeles put up a good fight.

Trailing in the fourth, Manu Ginobili nailed a 3-pointer to regain the lead for the Spurs, 85-84, with 3:17 left in the game. And they didn't look back.

"Some good execution down the stretch got it done for us," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "I thought the guys focused really well in the last couple of minutes. We got about four or five plays in a row done, and it worked for us."

Chris Kaman scored on the Clippers' first possession of the game but they did not make their second field goal until 4:23 left in the first quarter.

Rookie Al Thornton scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half, including the final eight points of the second quarter for Los Angeles, which trailed 48-44 at intermission.

"They made it difficult for us. They had a great game and played hard. It was just a tough game overall," Parker said. "I think it shows how tough we are mentally. With the standings, we know we can't afford to lose a game."

Cuttino Mobley hit a straightaway bank shot in the paint which tied the game at 71-71 with under a minute left in the third, but Bruce Bowen hit a corner 3-pointer which gave the Spurs a 74-71 lead heading into the fourth.

Ime Udoka hit a 3-pointer with 9:46 left in the game, and Finley followed with a floater in the lane for a 79-73 lead.

But the Clippers still had one more round left in them. Kaman's hook shot in the paint over Duncan gave the Clippers their first lead since 3-0 early in the game.

Corey Maggette followed with a jumper and then a layup that capped an 11-0 run en route to a 84-79 lead for the Clippers with 5:59 left in the game.

It was a whirlwind finish for two teams that played in neutral for most of the game.

"I don't think it was that exciting. We were kind of flat, especially in the second half. We were looking bad," Ginobili said. "We won it, but it wasn't looking good because we couldn't make a shot late, and we weren't moving the ball. And they were making every shot."

Maggette scored 22 points for Los Angeles, which did not score a field goal after that.

"We fought hard the whole game. It was up and down and back and forth. We took the lead there for a little bit, but we just couldn't capitalize," Kaman said. "They got a bunch of stops right in a row, and we just fell apart there on offense. I think we just panicked a little bit."