Ginobili scored 23 points and Duncan had 21 points and 10
rebounds, leading the Spurs to their first victory of the season in
three tries against the Sonics, 103-84 on Monday night.
Tony Parker had 17 points and a season-high 10 rebounds for the
Spurs, who have the NBA's best record at 37-10. The Northwest
Division-leading Sonics are 30-13.
The Sonics played their first game of the season without their
top scorer, Allen, who has the flu.
"Of course, he's a key player for them," Ginobili said. "He's
playing like an MVP right at the moment. But we tried not to think
about that because every time you do, it kind of lets you down. So
we didn't even think that he was missing."
Seattle also was without coach Nate McMillan. He was in Raleigh,
N.C., following of the death of his mother Sunday. The Sonics were
coached by assistant Dwane Casey.
Without Allen, who is eighth in the NBA in scoring at 24 points
per game, the Sonics struggled offensively against the Spurs, the
league's top defensive team.
Ronald Murray, Vladimir Radmanovic and Antonio Daniels each had
13 points for the Sonics. Murray, replacing Allen in the starting
lineup, shot 5-for-17 and committed five turnovers. The Sonics shot
41.1 percent (30-for-73).
"Ron, bless his heart, he struggled," Casey said. "He didn't
shoot well. We just didn't get it from him."
The Spurs are in high gear with the trio of Duncan, Ginobili and
Parker leading the way. They finished January with their third win
in a row and their seventh victory in eight games. They were 12-4
in the month.
Sonics center Jerome James, who tied his season highs with 12
points and six rebounds in a season-high 30 minutes, plans to be
more aggressive the next time he faces the Spurs, especially when
Ginobili drives to the basket.
"I should have knocked him down early," James said. "If I
would have knocked him down early, maybe he would have been a
little more fearful going in there."
The Spurs' tenacious defense limited forward Rashard Lewis, the
Sonics' No. 2 scorer at 20.8 points per game, to nine points on
4-for-9 shooting. Lewis had 27 and 16 points, respectively, in the
first two Seattle-San Antonio games.
"We were able to go and double team Rashard a lot more because
you didn't have Ray out there to worry about as much," San Antonio
coach Gregg Popovich said. "He would have changed the game quite
significantly if he was here."
Duncan shook his head at Parker's 10 rebounds.
"Tony did a great job of getting a hand in there and running
down lose balls," Duncan said. "Seattle is one of, if not the
best, offensive rebounding team in the league and we knew that
coming in here."
The duel between the starting point guards, Parker and Luke
Ridnour of the Sonics, was a mismatch. Ridnour had six points on
"We didn't want to lose to them three times in a row," Parker
said. "I thought we did a great job tonight."
The Spurs got 10 points from defensive specialist Bruce Bowen in
the first quarter and 12 from Ginobili in the second in taking a
48-34 halftime lead. They scored the last eight points in the final
3:22 of the first half, with Duncan scoring on a tip-in and a
14-foot bank shot.
In the third period, the Spurs led by 20 points four times, the
last at 65-45, as Parker scored 11 points. San Antonio was in front
76-59 going into the last quarter.
The Sonics don't know when McMillan will be back. Casey
said he talked to McMillan twice on the phone Monday. "Two for
sure, maybe three," Casey said when asked how many games McMillan
would miss. ... The Sonics don't know if Allen will be able to play
Tuesday night at Sacramento. ... The Sonics will face the Spurs
again on March 30 in San Antonio. ... The Sonics were 8-7 in
January after starting the month at 22-6.
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