Thursday , Apr , 01 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Ginobili lifts Spurs to rout over Western-leading Kings

=== Ginobili lifts Spurs to rout over Western-leading Kings ===

San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) – Manu Ginobili poured in a game-high 29
points, including 21 in the second half, to lead San Antonio to a 107-89 win
over Sacramento at SBC Center.

Tim Duncan added 19 points and Bruce Bowen chipped in 16 for the Spurs, who
have won four straight games. Hedo Turkoglu scored 14 in the win.

“He was off the charts,” San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich said of
Ginobili. “It was obvious everything he did was golden.”

San Antonio, which is currently in fourth place in the West, remained 1 1/2
games behind Minnesota for the Midwest Division lead and also stayed 1 1/2
games back of the Los Angeles Lakers for the third spot.

The Spurs, who are also just 2 1/2 games behind Sacramento for the top spot in
the Western Conference, won at least 50 games in a season for the sixth
straight year, excluding the lockout-shortened 1999 campaign.

Peja Stojakovic scored 19 points for the Kings, who have dropped three of
their last four contests. Doug Christie netted 17 points and Chris Webber,
Vlade Divac and Mike Bibby all contributed 14 in the setback.

Sacramento now leads the Western Conference by just one game over the
Timberwolves and is also only one game in front of the Lakers for the lead in
the Pacific Division.

“We can use all the excuses in the world, but we have to have a sense of
urgency right now,” Webber said. “You have to fight like you are fighting for
the eighth spot in the playoffs every night.”

Bibby’s free throw midway through the first quarter gave Sacramento a 14-7
lead, but the Spurs used an 11-4 surge to tie the game at 18 apiece later in
the frame. San Antonio eventually held a 26-24 advantage after one.

In the second, Ginobili’s field goal nearly three minutes into the period
staked the Spurs to a 34-25 lead. The cushion rose to as many as 16 points on
Robert Horry’s basket late in the quarter and San Antonio carried a 54-42 lead
into the intermission.

Turkoglu’s basket early in the third quarter widened the lead to 60-46, but
Sacramento then reeled off 15 of the next 22 points, highlighted by five from
Christie and four from Stojakovic, to pull within 67-61 with just over three
minutes left in the period. The Spurs, though, built their lead back to 12
points and enjoyed a 79-67 edge after 36 minutes.

Webber’s basket with 6:42 remaining in the game brought the Kings within seven
at 89-82, but five straight points by Ginobili stretched the lead to 12

“I just let the game come to me and when I was open, I shot,” said Ginobili.
“I feel like I’m playing well right now.”

However, the Kings then countered with five unanswered points to get within
94-87 with 4:21 left, but they would not get any closer. San Antonio closed
the game with a 13-2 spurt to post the convincing win.