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Spurs Enjoy Record Trip

February 17, 2003|From Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo finally ended on Sunday, which means the San Antonio Spurs are finally heading home from the longest trip in franchise history.

And if the Spurs' NBA-record eight consecutive wins at the end of that nine-game trip are any indication, nobody will miss the cowboys and Ferris wheels in the SBC Center because the best show in town is arriving.

Tim Duncan had 34 points and 12 rebounds and Manu Ginobili grabbed two key offensive rebounds in the final seconds as the Spurs defeated the Sacramento Kings, 104-101.

Malik Rose had 15 points and nine rebounds and made two go-ahead free throws with 1:33 left.

And Tony Parker had 18 points and seven assists as the Spurs finished their long journey with eight consecutive wins after losing the opener at Minnesota on Jan. 27.

"You don't plan on going 8-1 on a road trip," Spur Coach Gregg Popovich said. "At the beginning, we wouldn't have thought that would have happened. We're thrilled, but hopefully we're not that thrilled."

The Spurs beat five playoff contenders during the trip, which stretched through the All-Star break and across all four time zones. Yet after 22 days on the road, San Antonio still had enough hustle and poise to hold off the Kings in the NBA's toughest road arena.

"I'm just glad it's over," Duncan said. "We get to spend some time at home now, and that's a luxury."

So was Duncan happy with the trip?

"We wanted to win all nine," he said, "but there's no disappointment at all."

The Spurs have won 17 of 20 since Jan. 1, and they capped their trip with victories over the Kings and the Lakers. What's more, they did it all without David Robinson, who's on the injured list.

The Spurs won with the hustle and heart that defines their roster. San Antonio was nursing a 98-97 lead when Parker grabbed a loose ball from Keon Clark and sprinted down for a layup attempt. He missed it, but Ginobili tipped it in.

With 14.1 seconds left, Parker missed a free throw that could have given San Antonio a three-point lead -- but Ginobili again grabbed the offensive rebound and made an ensuing free throw. He finished with a career-high 15 points.

"He does those little things -- gets loose balls, steals, offensive rebounds," Popovich said. "I love the way he competes and plays."

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