for this game

Shorthanded Spurs continue dominance over sliding Jazz

Apr 11, 2009 - 5:50 AM SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Tim Duncan disputes those who say he's been playing on just one good leg lately.

"It's an exaggeration," Duncan said. "I feel like I've been playing on a half a leg."

In an important win over Utah, Duncan scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds. It's a mediocre outing by his standards but enough to help the Spurs get a big 105-99 victory over the fading Jazz on Friday night.

Tony Parker scored 31 points, and the Spurs shook off their recent funk long enough to bury the Jazz further back in the playoff picture. Both teams are in, but Utah lost for the fifth time in six games to inch closer to facing the dominant Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.

Utah has three games left to climb out of the No. 8 seed and move into a more favorable matchup. The Spurs, who have won only three of their last seven, also have three games to try and secure home-court advantage for at least one series.

"Every one is very important right now," Duncan said. "But more than that, getting our confidence up and getting a rhythm going."

Sore knees have hounded Duncan since the All-Star break, and it's been apparent on the court. He scored a season-low four points Wednesday in a loss against Portland, and was pulled in the fourth quarter after lumbering awkwardly toward a loose ball.

After that game, Parker said many don't realize that Duncan has been "playing on one leg for like a month and a half."

But against the Jazz, Duncan said he felt good. He said he was getting his right leg back and that the aches were "basically gone."

Deron Williams had 25 points and 10 assists for the Jazz, whose misery in San Antonio continues. The Jazz haven't won here since 1999, a streak spanning 20 games.

The loss dropped Utah into sole possession of the bottom seed in the West, a game behind New Orleans and Dallas.

"We put ourselves in this position. Nobody else did," Williams said. "We lost tough ballgames. We had the injuries. We're still in the playoffs. We still have a chance. "

Mehmet Okur had 22 points and 10 rebounds for Utah. The Jazz go home to play Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers before their regular-season finale Tuesday at the Lakers.

"Whoever we play in the first round, if it's the Lakers, go play them and lay it out there," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "You never know what can happen."

Roger Mason scored 16 points for the Spurs, who are trying to climb back into position for home-court advantage in the first round. They'll finish the season at Sacramento and Golden State before a home finale against New Orleans.

The Spurs are locked in a back-and-forth race with Houston for the Southwest Division. San Antonio had sat atop the division for much of the season before weathering a rocky stretch, going 12-10 since March and losing Manu Ginobili this week to a season-ending ankle injury.

Duncan played 32 minutes, going 5-of-11 from the field. The Jazz trailed by as much as eight in the fourth quarter before closing the gap to 84-81 with 7:04 left. The Spurs answered with an 7-2 run, including a key 19-footer by Duncan that stretched the lead back to seven late.

Parker, who scored 11 in the fourth, was 9-of-15 from the floor and 13-of-17 from the foul line. Drew Gooden scored 14 and Ime Udoka had 13 off the bench for the Spurs.

Ronnie Brewer scored 17 and Carlos Boozer had 15 for the Jazz. Andrei Kirilenko was the only scorer not in double-figures for Utah, scoring four points on just 1-of-9 shooting.