Reserves carry short-handed Spurs to victory over Bulls
LOS ANGELES (dpa) – The San Antonio Spurs didn’t have their Big Three, but they had plenty left in reserve to help them to a basketball win Monday night.
Kawhi Leonard tossed in a career-high 26 points, Danny Green added 18 and the short-handed Spurs bounced the Chicago Bulls 103-89 for their 13th win in the last 14 games.
The Spurs overcame the absence of injured stars Tim Duncan, Frenchman Tony Parker and Argentine Manu Ginobili. Stephen Jackson also missed the contest because of personal business, according to the team.
With the stars out, the Spurs’ backups stepped in and took care of business.
“We’ve been together for a year and change now, and our mindset has been the same,” Green explained. “We know what our bench can do, what our young guys can bring to the table.
“Regardless of who is on the floor, we have to be disciplined and bring energy. That’s what Pop (coach Gregg Popovich) demands from us every night.”
Gary Neal and Brazilian big man Tiago Splitter had 16 points apiece while Frenchman Nanda De Colo contributed nine along with seven assists for league-best San Antonio (41-12), which improved to 3-1 on their season-long nine-game road trip.
“The bench did a great job, they played very well together,” Popovich said. “It was a tough challenge and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Nate Robinson scored 20 points and Richard Hamilton had 16 for the Bulls, who dominated the boards 49-26, but committed 19 turnovers, resulting in 29 Spurs’ points.
“That was probably the difference in the game,” said Bulls coach Tom Thibideau of the turnovers. “When you out-rebound somebody like we did and to be in a position we were in, we beat ourselves.”
The Spurs stretched a nine-point halftime advantage to 14 in the third quarter and carried a 76-71 lead into the final frame.
Taj Gibson’s dunk drew the Bulls within 76-75 early in the fourth, but the Spurs responded with a game-breaking 13-3 run.
Splitter scored six points in the surge, Frenchman Boris Diaw converted a three-point play and Leonard’s fast break dunk with six minutes left capped it, as the lead ballooned to 89-78 en route to the win.
“This was a great win for us,” Splitter said. “We had a lot of guys out and everybody stepped up and we had a great performance by all.”
- Charlotte Bobcats 94, Boston Celtics 91: Byron Mullens had 25 points with 18 rebounds, Ramon Sessions scored 19, including the go-ahead jumper with 25.7 seconds left and the Bobcats snapped the visiting Celtics’ seven-game winning streak.
The Celtics had shots to send the game into overtime, but Paul Pierce and Avery Bradley missed wide-open three-point tries in the final seconds as the Bobcats ended a seven-game slide.
Jeff Green scored 18 points while Kevin Garnett had 16 with 13 rebounds for the Celtics, who dropped to 7-1 since losing All-Star guard Rajon Rondo to a season-ending knee injury in late January.
- Los Angeles Clippers 107, Phila-delphia 76ers 90: Chris Paul had 21 points with 11 assists, Blake Griffin and reserve Jamal Crawford scored 20 apiece and the Clippers salvaged a split of their eight-game road trip after spanking the Sixers, who received a game-high 29 points from Nick Young.
- Brooklyn Nets 89, Indiana Pacers 84 (OT): Brook Lopez scored 25 points, Reggie Evans pulled down 22 rebounds and the visiting Nets, minus injured guard Deron Williams, opened the overtime on a 9-3 run to close out the Pacers.
George Hill netted 22 points for Indiana, which dropped its second straight overtime home game following a 15-game streak at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
- Minnesota Timberwolves 100, Cleve-land Cavaliers 92: Luke Ridnour scored 13 of his 21 points in the final quarter, Spaniard Ricky Rubio had 13 with 10 assists and the Timberwolves ended an eight-game road skid after beating the Cavaliers, who got 20 points from Kyrie Irving.
- Atlanta Hawks 105, Dallas Mavericks 101: Josh Smith had 26 points with 13 rebounds, and the Hawks sank six free throws in the closing seconds for just their second win in the last 10 road games after beating the Mavericks, who were led by the 24 points from German wunderkind Dirk Nowitzki
- New Orleans Hornets 105, Detroit Pistons 86: Ryan Anderson dropped in 31 points, Robin Lopez added 23 with 10 rebounds, leading the visiting Hornets past the Pistons.
Rodney Stuckey led Detroit with 19 points while Greg Monroe finished with 17 and 11 rebounds.
- Washington Wizards 102, Milwaukee Bucks 90: Rookie Brandon Beal poured in a personal-best 28 points, Brazil’s Nene had 21 with 13 rebounds, and the visiting Wizards won their fourth in a row after beating the Bucks.
Monta Ellis had 24 points for the Bucks, who have dropped four straight decisions.