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 Mason scores 29 in Spurs' 119-94 victory

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PostSubject: Mason scores 29 in Spurs' 119-94 victory   Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:37 pm

SAN ANTONIO(AP) Roger Mason was supposed to be a complementary piece when the San Antonio Spurs signed him as a free agent during the offseason. But Mason was the one drawing the compliments Friday night.

Mason scored 29 points and the Spurs made 15 of 25 3-pointers to beat the Utah Jazz 119-94.

"I wasn't going to go too crazy, but it was one of those nights,'' Mason said. "Definitely felt good. If I had an open look, I was mad if I missed one.''

Playing without the backcourt of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, the Spurs still managed to hit eight of their first nine 3-point attempts.

Mason, starting in place of Parker at point guard, went 10-of-17 from the floor and was 7-of-10 on 3-pointers. He barely missed his career high of 32 points scored last season with Washington when he started in place of the injured Gilbert Arenas.

"I think when we get everyone back, (Mason) will give us the depth we've been looking for,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "I thought he was excellent at both ends tonight. He took advantage of offensive situations and played a really fine all-around game.''

Rookie George Hill scored a career-high 23 points for San Antonio (6-6), which has won four of five.

Tim Duncan added 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists in 27 minutes.

Utah (8-5) got 17 points from Ronnie Brewer and 16 from CJ Miles, but the Jazz were without forward Carlos Boozer for the first time this season after he strained his left quadriceps Wednesday against Milwaukee.

Jazz point guard Deron Williams missed his 11th game due to his left ankle sprain. The Jazz also went without forward Jarron Collins (inflamed right elbow) and Kyle Korver (inflamed right wrist).

"That doesn't make any difference,'' Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "These other guys get paid on the first and the 15th to compete, and I never saw that.''

The Jazz haven't won in San Antonio in 19 games, a streak that dates to February 1999.

"That's kind of disheartening,'' Sloan said. "They came out to destroy us, and they did a pretty good job in doing that. We didn't stand up to them.''

The Spurs were without Parker for the seventh straight game with a left ankle sprain. Ginobili, who hasn't played at all this season, also has a hurt left ankle and isn't expected to be back until December, but he said before the game that he could return next week.

San Antonio was ahead by 14 points in the first half, but the lead was trimmed to 61-55 less than a minute into the second half when Brewer scored on a slam dunk.

The Spurs went ahead by 15 when Hill made a short jumper with 5:34 left in the third quarter. And they made it 24 after three when Mason knocked down a 3-pointer in the final second.

"We knew what we had to do - we had to get a stop,'' Miles said. "They hit a lot of 3s, and they got on a run.''

The Jazz had their moments of hot shooting. At one point in the second quarter they were hitting at more than 60 percent - but were trailing by 12 points.

Mehmet Okur opened 4-of-4, including two long jumpers that helped Utah score eight straight during 1:49 of the first quarter for a 20-11 lead.

But the Spurs outscored Utah 18-4 during the remaining 4:50 of the period. The Spurs hit all four of their 3-pointers, two each by Hill and Matt Bonner. San Antonio led 29-24 after the first quarter.

They kept it up through much of the second quarter. When Mason hit his second 3-pointer in less than a minute - the Spurs' third in the opening three minutes of the quarter - San Antonio went ahead 40-27.

Though Hill sat on the bench while Mason started his eighth game of the season - his first at point guard - Hill scored 10 first-quarter points in six minutes. He also had two assists and a steal.

Notes: The Spurs' 61-point first half matched their season high for a half, the other time was Nov. 11 in a victory at Minnesota. ... Though Boozer missed his first game of the season, Williams and Collins have missed a combined 18 games. ... Hill's previous career high was 20 in a home loss Wednesday to Denver. He surpassed that total on his jumper with 5:34 remaining in the third quarter.
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