- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 26, 2008

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Tim Duncan scored 21 points, rookie George Hill added 19 points and 11 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Chicago Bulls 98-88 on Wednesday night.

The Spurs have won six of their last seven games and are 8-6. San Antonio reached .500 at home (4-4) for the first time this season, and it’s the 10th straight game the Spurs have limited their opposition to less than 100 points.

The Bulls (7-9) have lost four of six since starting a seven-game road trip on Nov. 18. The trip ends Sunday in Philadelphia.

The game marked a return to San Antonio for former Spurs player Vinny Del Negro, now in his first season as coach of the Bulls.

Ben Gordon led Chicago with 23 points. Drew Gooden added 20.

With Gordon and Gooden opening the second half by making their first eight shots combined, the Bulls were ahead by nine points midway through the third quarter.

But the Spurs got a pair of layups by Manu Ginobili and two 3-pointers by Ime Udoka. Fellow reserve Matt Bonner also hit one.

Udoka’s second 3-pointer broke a tie and gave the Spurs a 72-69 lead with 2:30 left in the third quarter. It was set up by Ginobili’s drive and slingshot pass. Ginobili scored 15 points and had four assists in 18 minutes.

San Antonio never trailed again. The Spurs opened the fourth quarter by outscoring Chicago 13-2 and led by as many as 16 points with just more than four minutes to go.

Ginobili, who played for the first time this season Monday in Memphis after recovering from left ankle surgery, made his home debut and teamed with Duncan to give the Spurs an early boost. Duncan and Ginobili combined to go 7-of-11 from the floor for 17 of the team’s 25 first-quarter points.

Duncan finished the first half 7-of-10 from the floor for 18 points while mostly working against either Joaquim Noah or Aaron Gray.

San Antonio led 36-30 with six minutes before halftime before Gordon and the rest of the Bulls guards evened the game.

Lindsey Hunter started it with a 3-pointer off Derrick Rose’s pass. Rose hit a pair of mid-range jumpers and Gordon scored twice on the fast break. The second one, a running 10-footer with 1.9 seconds left, tied the game at 45 and gave Gordon eight points in the second quarter.

Notes:@ Del Negro, who was the starting shooting guard for the Spurs when the team went 301-191 and won two division titles from 1992-98, received a warm ovation from the San Antonio crowd when he was introduced as Bulls coach before the game. … The Bulls are 2-7 on the road. … Roger Mason was 15-of-22 from 3-point territory the last three games before shooting 2-of-5 from the arc Wednesday. … Hill has scored 20 or more points three of the past four games before his 19-point effort Wednesday. … The Bulls are 3-18 against San Antonio since the 1998-99 season, including 1-9 in San Antonio.



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