Spurs 102, Bobcats 72

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 03, 2012
The San Antonio Spurs gave Manu Ginobili at least one more night off, and they didn't need him. Once Tony Parker and the rest of the Spurs got running, there was nothing the Charlotte Bobcats could do to stop them. Parker scored 15 points, and the Spurs overwhelmed the Bobcats in the second half for a 102-72 victory on Friday night. The Spurs (25-11) bounced back from a rare home loss earlier this week against Chicago to win for the 13th time in their last 15 games. The Bobcats (4-30), who were playing San Antonio for the only time this season, have lost four straight and 20 of their last 21. ''They don't have a great record, obviously, but coach (Paul) Silas isn't going to let them just walk out there and do nothing,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ''They were aggressive. They went after it and did everything they could. We got hot there in the second half and had a good run, and that was the game. But they busted their butts all night long and worked very hard.'' Richard Jefferson scored 14 points and hit four 3-pointers, and Tim Duncan had 14 points and eight rebounds for the Spurs. Matt Bonner added 14 points, and Kawhi Leonard had 10. Ginobili missed his fifth straight game with a strained oblique. He was a game-time decision, but coach Gregg Popovich decided to rest him and said he'll see how Ginobili feels after practice Saturday. The Spurs' next game is against Denver on Sunday. Corey Maggette and Boris Diaw each scored 14 points for the Bobcats, who were held below 100 points for the 21st straight game. San Antonio outrebounded Charlotte 55-37, with DeJuan Blair leading all players with 11 rebounds. Jefferson added seven for the Spurs, who outscored the Bobcats 51-31 in the second half. San Antonio, which was playing the second game of a seven-game homestand, never trailed after the first quarter. ''Whenever you have a young team like they have, you have to always be aware of them coming out, getting off to a good start,'' Jefferson said. ''We were a little rusty that first quarter, and as the game progressed, we picked it up.'' The Spurs' defense frustrated the Bobcats throughout the game, with Charlotte hitting only 31 of 83 shots. Starting guards D.J. Augustin and Gerald Henderson combined to shoot 5 of 21. ''I just think as a group we're not shooting the ball well at all, and I start with myself,'' said Corey Maggette, who shot 4 of 12. ''We've got to be a better shooting team. When you're playing one of the best teams in the league and shoot 30-plus percent, it's hard for anybody to win.'' Maggette was hounded by Jefferson all night long, who said the key was ''good team defense. Great team defense.'' Popovich was more direct in his praise. ''I thought he was real aggressive defensively tonight,'' Popovich said. ''I thought he had a darn good defensive game. Corey's a tough nut. He likes to drive, he's real physical. I thought Richard had one of his better games in that regard.'' The Spurs led 51-41 at halftime behind Parker's 13 points and Duncan's 10 points and eight rebounds. San Antonio held Charlotte to 17-of-49 shooting in the half to help overcome 10 turnovers. Charlotte actually jumped out a 16-12 lead, but the Spurs went on a 11-0 run and led 29-20 after the first quarter. Jefferson's 3-pointer with 4:23 left gave the Spurs a 17-16 lead they wouldn't lose the rest of the game. Parker, the Spurs' only All-Star, hit all four of his shots in the quarter, and continually left the Bobcats frustrated with his quickness. After stealing a pass intended for Augustin at halfcourt with 3:25 left in the first quarter, Parker went in for an uncontested layup. Augustin never got past halfcourt, instead protesting what he thought was a foul. ''The thing with Tony is he's always getting better,'' Diaw said. ''Season after season, it always surprises everybody else. Like, ah, that's the best he's been playing. Year after year, that's the best he's been playing. Nothing surprising anymore. He's doing great. I'm happy he got a chance to go to the All-Star game this year. He's really a point of focus on his team now.'' Notes: Bobcats starting C Bismack Biyombo missed the game after suffering a left shoulder strain in Wednesday's loss at Detroit. DeSagana Diop started in his place.
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