for this game

Spurs keep pace with Rockets by blowing out Warriors

Apr 14, 2009 - 6:07 AM OAKLAND, California (AP) -- Although the San Antonio Spurs would love to win the Southwest Division, they've won enough championships to realize nobody cares about a division title in June.

Until the race for playoff seeding is decided Wednesday, Tim Duncan and his teammates just plan to keep winning -- which is a bit easier against an opponent with just seven players.

Tony Parker scored 17 points and Duncan added 16 points and 13 rebounds before both stars sat out the fourth quarter, and the Spurs kept pace with Houston atop the division with a 101-72 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Monday night.

Drew Gooden had 20 points and 15 rebounds in his hometown as the Spurs won their third straight to stay even at 53-28 with the Rockets and Portland, who both won earlier in the night. Their three-team race for home-court advantage in the playoffs' first round comes down to all three teams' finales Wednesday -- and even if the Spurs don't get help from the Rockets, Duncan thinks they'll be better off for being pushed.

"We need our rhythm, we need some confidence, and we need to play well against some of the elite teams in the West," said Duncan, who looked fairly sharp after sitting out Sunday night's game against Sacramento to rest his aching knees. "Whatever happens, happens. We're going to go in there (against New Orleans) and try to take that game and figure out what happens."

If Houston and San Antonio both win their regular-season finales on Wednesday, the Rockets will win a complex tiebreaker and get the No. 3 playoff seed, while San Antonio could end up starting the postseason on the road against the Trail Blazers.

Although the Spurs have improved lately, their middling stretch of play over the past month has forced them to root for the rival Mavericks on Wednesday if they hope to win the Southwest.

If San Antonio beats the Hornets and Houston wins at Dallas in their finales, they'll have identical marks in the NBA's first two postseason tiebreakers: their records against the division and the Western Conference. The third tiebreaker is the clubs' record against West playoff teams, which will give the No. 3 seed to Houston.

If the Mavericks beat Houston, they'll surge past New Orleans into sixth place in the West -- and if the Spurs beat the Hornets, they'll meet Dallas in the first round.

"We want to win them all out," Gooden said. "The seedings are like the stock market. Every day, it's changing. Other teams have got to play, and our main thing is to finish out the season winning."

Anthony Randolph had career highs of 24 points and 16 rebounds, and C.J. Watson added 18 points for the Warriors, who had their worst offensive game in more than four years with just seven available players. Injured guard Marco Belinelli again had to dress for the game just to give Golden State the NBA-minimum eight in uniform.

"We've been showing a lot of heart the last couple of games, to keep competing with as few players as we had," Randolph said.

The tiny contingent that improbably beat Utah last Saturday with 38 points from Watson had little chance against the Spurs, who led by 30 points midway through the third quarter. Golden State scored just 14 points in the second quarter and 13 in the third.

"I thought our defense in the third quarter was the game-breaker for us," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We played real good D in the third, but obviously, the Warriors were at a huge disadvantage. I think having so few players finally caught up with them. They had been working really hard, and to win in Utah was great. It's hard to sustain that with so few guys."

Roger Mason scored 14 points for San Antonio, which finished the second quarter in Oakland on a 19-6 run to take a 57-38 halftime lead. The Spurs surged to a 77-44 lead midway through the third, when three of the Warriors' four starters -- Kelenna Azubuike, Ronny Turiaf and Anthony Morrow -- were a combined 4-for-29.

"We didn't have much energy. I think we left it in Utah," coach Don Nelson said. "Besides that, we lost our confidence. We missed too many shots, and then they had their way with us. We'll take our licking and move on."

Golden State played one last home game without Jamal Crawford (lower back), Corey Maggette (concussion), Monta Ellis (ankle), Stephen Jackson (foot surgery), Brandan Wright (shoulder) and Belinelli, who has barely played in the last six weeks while battling an ankle injury and turf toe.

The Warriors declined to sign any players simply to fill out the roster -- no surprise for a strange team that occasionally benched Crawford and Jackson when they were healthy earlier in the season.

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