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 Ginobili leads Spurs past Hawks

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PostSubject: Ginobili leads Spurs past Hawks   Thu Dec 11, 2008 4:50 pm

SAN ANTONIO(AP) Sometimes Manu Ginobili
enjoys the thought of coming off the bench. It looks as if Wednesday
was one of those nights.Ginobili scored 27 points in a return to
his sixth-man role to help the San Antonio Spurs beat Atlanta 95-89 for
their fourth straight victory.Ginobili, the NBA's Sixth Man of
the Year last season, scored 14 points in the fourth quarter. He
started for the Spurs (13-Cool in the previous four games, including a
demanding double-overtime victory Tuesday night in Dallas that was
followed by the de-icing of the team's plane and a return home past 2
a.m."It was a tough back-to-back,'' Ginobili said. "He (Spurs
coach Gregg Popovich) was thinking about it. So I said, 'Go ahead.' As
I told you, sometimes I prefer coming from the bench, so no big deal.''Tim
Duncan, playing in his 1,000th NBA game in the regular season and
playoffs, added 19 points and 11 rebounds. Joe Johnson led Atlanta
(12-9) with 29 points on 13-of-20 shooting from the floor.Ginobili was 8-of-12, including 5-of-7 from the 3-point line, and made six free throws without a miss.Ginobili
hit two free throws with 3:27 remaining after Mike Bibby and Al Horford
were called for technical fouls for arguing Horford's foul call when
the Hawks had cut the Spurs' lead to three points.Referee Pat
Fraher whistled the techs, and once Ginobili made the foul shots and
the Spurs kept possession, Duncan made a short bank shot to expand that
three-point lead before the techs to 83-76 after them with 3:13 left in
the game."I didn't really say anything,'' Bibby said. "If saying
'Come on, man,' deserves a tech, then I deserved the tech. I've heard a
lot worse get told to people and (they've) not got a tech.''Once Bibby got the technical, Horford got whistled scant seconds later."I
said 'What happened?' to Mike because I didn't know what was going
on,'' Horford said. "You've got a tight game going on - a great game -
and you're going to blow it up doing that?''Ginobili hit a
3-pointer with 1:53 to go. Then, after the Hawks cut it to two on
Johnson's short jumper with 54 seconds left, Ginobili cut through the
lane for a wide-open layup that gave the Spurs an 89-85 with 32 seconds
remaining."Ginobili made a great play,'' Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "Overall, they made the plays when they had to.''Ginobili made four free throws in the final 20 seconds to seal the win."Manu
carried it for us,'' Duncan said. "He hit some big shots - obviously
free throws down the stretch. He loves games like that. He loves
situations like that.''The Spurs led by as much as 15 points
with 3:05 left in the third quarter. San Antonio was up by 11 with 9:53
left in the game before Atlanta outscored the Spurs 27-18 to cut it to
two points with less than a minute to play.Matt Bonner had 13 rebounds and the Spurs outrebounded Atlanta 52-27."Bonner came out and established himself off the bat, and then it was a long night for in terms of rebounding,'' Woodson said.San Antonio has won seven of the last nine at home.The Hawks stumbled through their trip in Texas 0-3. Atlanta has lost eight of the last nine on the road.The Spurs didn't look like the tired team to start the game.But
the Spurs jumped out to a 20-8 lead over an Atlanta team that lost in
regulation on Tuesday night in Houston. San Antonio had the 12-point
advantage on Ginobili's 3-pointer 8:17 into the game, and the Spurs
went up by 14 points with 1:12 left in the quarter.San Antonio
had a 20-8 rebounding advantage in the first quarter. Bonner, starting
his fifth straight game, had four offensive rebounds and led the Spurs
to a 9-2 start in second-chance points.Bonner had seven rebounds in the first quarter, and Duncan was 4-of-5 for eight points in as many minutes.The Spurs still led by 14 with 7 minutes left in the first half on another Ginobili 3-point shot.Ginobili
scored 11 points in 11 first-half minutes and was 3-of-5 from the
3-point line. But the Hawks scored the next seven to cut the lead in
half and got as close as five after Johnson's bank shot made it 38-33
with 1:32 before halftime.Notes: Roger Mason got his first start
since Nov. 29. ... After starting the season 4-0 on the road, the Hawks
are 5-8 away from home. ... The Spurs have won 11 straight home games
against the Hawks, not losing since a February 1997 game at the
Alamodome.

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