- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 14, 2009

HOUSTON (AP) - Tony Parker scored 28 points, Tim Duncan added 15 points and 12 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Houston Rockets 88-85 on Saturday night.

Parker also had eight assists and Michael Finley added 17 points for the Spurs, who came up with two defensive stops in the final 15 seconds to beat the Rockets for the 12th time in the last 17 meetings.

Ron Artest scored 21 points and Yao Ming had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who’ve lost two straight home games after winning the previous 12.

Duncan hit a bank shot from the wing and dished an assist to Parker for a layup to put San Antonio up 81-77 entering the final 3 minutes. Artest missed two long jumpers before Parker drove for a layup, got fouled by Luis Scola and hit the free throw with 2:45 left.

Yao hit a hook shot over Duncan and Aaron Brooks drove past Parker for a layup to cut Houston’s deficit to three. San Antonio led 86-83 when Yao dunked home an offensive rebound with 43.6 seconds left.

The Rockets got the ball back after Parker missed a jumper. But Aaron Brooks drove too far under the basket and missed a layup, Duncan rebounded and Parker sank two free throws with 14.5 seconds left to put the Spurs up 88-85.

Artest missed a 3-point try off the front of the rim, Parker grabbed it, but got tied up with Shane Battier to set up a jump ball. Battier tipped it to Artest, who called time out with 4.2 seconds left. Brooks missed a 3-point try just before the buzzer.

Both teams shot well in the first quarter and the lead changed hands 11 times. Early in the second quarter, Roger Mason Jr. sank a 3-pointer and Matt Bonner flipped in a hook shot to put San Antonio up 31-26.

The starters on both sides were back on the floor by the 4-minute mark, and Parker’s free throws with 1.8 seconds left in the half gave the Spurs a 44-37 lead the break. Parker scored 13 points in the first half.

Houston went 5-for-17 from the field in the second quarter and mustered only 15 points.

The Rockets forced the ball into Yao early in the third quarter, but one entry pass bounced out of bounds and the Spurs stole the other. And with Yao guarding the lane close to the basket, Duncan made two shots from the top of the key to push San Antonio’s lead to 55-44.

Houston then mounted a 17-2 run as the Spurs missed 9 of 10 shots. But Finley banked in a 3-pointer from half-court just ahead of the third quarter buzzer to put San Antonio ahead 64-63.

Both coaches rested most of their starters again for the start of the fourth quarter. The teams were tied at 71 when Parker and Duncan returned for the Spurs. Yao and Artest were back on the floor a minute later.

Notes:@ The Spurs improved to 35-4 when they lead after three quarters. … Brooks scored 18 points for the Rockets, but went 7-for-18 from the field. … Duncan’s first basket gave him 19,000 career points. … Gregg Popovich coached his 999th career game on Saturday night. He’ll become the 24th coach in NBA history to reach 1,000 when the Spurs play in Oklahoma City on Monday. Popovich will be the seventh man to coach his first 1,000 games with one team.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide