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article imageNBA: Spurs bury Kings, win 60th, clinch top seed in West

By Lynn Herrmann     Apr 7, 2011 in Sports
San Antonio - Looking for their 60th win of the season, the San Antonio Spurs hosted Sacramento on Wednesday night and put together their third consecutive game of four-quarter basketball, dismantling the Kings, 124-92, and clinched the top seed in the West.
In a game of two halves, the Spurs played see-saw basketball with the Kings during the first two quarters and then exploded for 73 points in the second half to rout the visitors, and for the fourth time in franchise history, won their 60th game of the season.
Thanks to the Los Angeles Lakers losing their third consecutive game later in the night, the Spurs clinched the top seed in the Western Conference for the approaching playoffs, with three games remaining on their regular season schedule.
Key to the victory was the combination of a Spurs second-half offense that shot lights out ball as well as a defense that has continued to get better in the last three games. As a team, the Spurs scored 41 points in the third quarter, their highest production for any quarter this season.
San Antonio hit 14-of-17 field goals in the third, for an 82 percent clip. That stat, coupled with a stingy defense that allowed the Kings just 43 second-half points, sent the Spurs on their way to the blowout victory.
“I thought we had great focus tonight after a back-to-back, when one might think we would be a tired team. We have been concentrating on defense. We played very good defense and it fueled the offense you saw. That's where it all starts for us,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, according to NBA.com.
The win, number 796 in Popovich’s career, moved him past Boston’s legendary Red Auerbach for second-most wins with the same team.
The Spurs, playing in front of a loud home crowd, displayed the type of team basketball their fans had become accustomed to, prior to a recent six-game losing streak that had the league abuzz. On numerous occasions, players passed up open looks at the basket to pass the ball just one more time. It was enough to keep Sacramento in scramble mode and wear them down on defense, and with all Spurs offensive weapons firing properly, the Kings had no chance.
In the third quarter, with the score at 66-61 in favor of the Spurs, Manu Ginobili snared a defensive rebound and sent a beautiful lead pass to a breaking Antonio McDyess for a reverse slam dunk. The play was part of a San Antonio 10-0 run and opened the door for their offensive explosion, much of it fueled by an intense Ginobili.
George Hill buried a 3-pointer just before the end of the third to give the Spurs a 92-70 lead going into the final frame.
The 32-point blowout was the Spurs largest margin of victory this season. It gave the Spurs a three-game win streak heading into a Saturday night match with the Utah Jazz.
The Spurs shot 70 percent from the field in the second half to keep the pressure on the Kings, outscoring them 41-21 in the third and 32-22 in the fourth. San Antonio out-rebounded the Kings, 48-28.
Ginobili led the Spurs with 25 points and five assists, all five being of the crowd-pleasing variety. Hill, coming off the bench, added 19 points. Tony Parker scored 15, followed by Gary Neal with 14. Tim Duncan’s line was 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots.
Speaking of Ginobili’s performance, Spurs assistant coach Don Newman told Spurs Radio after the game: “This guy gets so focused. We’re always concerned about his health with his style of play, but this guy’s got another gear.”
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