SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Tim Duncan already owned an NBA title, a
Finals MVP award and a Rookie of the Year trophy. Now he has his
first triple-double with the San Antonio Spurs.
Duncan's 17 points, 17 rebounds and 11 assists led San Antonio
to a 96-76 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night.
"I'm excited. Big guys don't get triple-doubles very often,"
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "I know he's thrilled even
though he doesn't show it."
Duncan was understated, as usual.
"It just happens," the third-year forward said. "We had to
start fighting. We started moving the ball and it's great when our
people start knocking down shots. Our defense was good."
Jaren Jackson had 16 points, Avery Johnson and Mario Elie added
14 apiece, and David Robinson had 10 for San Antonio, which was
assured of a playoff spot when Dallas lost to Washington earlier in
Cleveland, outscored 48-27 in the second half, was led by Andre
Miller's 15 points and Lamond Murray's 14. Shawn Kemp, who came
into the game averaging 18.1 points per game, was held to eight
points on 3-of-12 shooting.
"We just really couldn't score any in the second half,"
Cleveland coach Randy Wittman said. "We just didn't swing the ball
from the strong side to the weak side of their defense and with big
guys like Tim Duncan and David Robinson that is what they want you
San Antonio never led in the first half, but opened the third
quarter with six straight points by Johnson to lead 54-49 with 9:05
to play in the period.
After Cleveland regained the lead, at 57-56, San Antonio
answered with an 8-0 run to go up 64-57 on Elie's driving layup.
The Spurs, who have defeated Cleveland in 10 of their last 11
meetings, continued to stretch the advantage in the fourth quarter
as Jackson came off of the bench to connect on consecutive
3-pointers, giving San Antonio a 77-63 lead with 8:58 to play.
Jackson combined with Jerome Kersey for 15 fourth-quarter points
as Cleveland could get no closer than eight points in the final
"I'm proud of this group, they did a great job," Popovich
said. "Obviously we didn't start out that well, but we dug down,
got aggressive and executed well."
Cleveland led by as many as 15 points in the first quarter,
jumping out to a 27-12 lead as Miller had 11 first-quarter points.
The Cavaliers outscored San Antonio 20-8 in the paint and were
ahead 29-21 at the end of the opening period.
"We had a rough start," Robinson said. "We didn't get back on
defense and our transition defense wasn't good. That is normally
one of our strengths. The key was to stop them in transition."
Duncan, who has 53 double-doubles this season, had a 15-point,
10-rebound first half as San Antonio rallied to close the gap to
49-48 at halftime.
"He (Duncan) is playing great the last couple of games,"
Robinson said. "He has really gotten his rhythm back. He had a
great all-around game. He was fantastic."
|Cleveland's Lamond Murray has nowhere to go as the Spurs' Samaki Walker and Jerome Kersey defend.|
San Antonio is 27-8 at the Alamodome this season. ... The
Spurs' largest crowd of the season, 35,217, attended. ...
Saturday's double-double was the 147th of Duncan's career, the most
in the NBA over the last two-plus seasons. ... The teams split the
season series 1-1.
San Antonio Clubhouse
San Antonio 96
LA Clippers 107