Spurs 77, Knicks 67

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NEW YORK (AP)—Nothing fancy, just something timely.

That’s what Charlie Ward did so many times in nearly a decade in New York, and that’s what he did again Tuesday night to help beat his former team.

Ward returned to Madison Square Garden and put the Spurs ahead for good on a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter, and San Antonio avoided another tight finish in a 77-67 victory over the Knicks.

After losing two straight close games—one on a buzzer-beater, the other on a dunk by Tim Duncan that didn’t beat the buzzer in Milwaukee on Monday night, the Spurs controlled the fourth quarter and held the Knicks to a season-low point total.

“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be,” Ward said of his return, which included a video tribute and a warm ovation during player introductions.

Duncan had 30 points and 19 rebounds but did little in the fourth quarter, failing to score until 1:01 remained. By then, though, Ward, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili had hit enough timely shots to put the Spurs comfortably ahead.

Ginobili, starting his second straight game with Hedo Turkoglu sidelined, had 14 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals. Parker added 10 points for the Spurs, who won despite having almost as many turnovers (26) as field goals (27).

“Both teams were pretty pitiful handling the ball,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “But the effort was there both ways.”

Stephon Marbury had 19 points and eight assists for the Knicks, who got little production from anyone else.

Allan Houston, flustered by a sore knee and Bruce Bowen’s defense, shot 2-for-13 and committed six turnovers.

“I play with a lot of pride, but sometimes pride can hurt you because when you’re not what you should be for the team. Pride gets in the way of being smart,” said Houston, considering a stint on the sideline to allow his surgically repaired right knee to heal. “I have to think about it and talk it over.”

Keith Van Horn strained his shoulder when Duncan blocked his dunk in the first half and scored just five points in 18 minutes.

“There is a numbness in my hand and there is also pain in the joints,” Van Horn said. “It was a good block. I have to give him that.”

The game was a turnover-fest early, with San Antonio committing nine and New York seven in a first quarter that ended with the Knicks head 17-12. Both teams had more turnovers than field goals at halftime, and San Antonio led 38-35 behind 21 points and eight rebounds from Duncan.

A 9-2 run early in the third quarter put San Antonio ahead 47-39, and the Knicks didn’t catch up until Michael Doleac hit a jumper with 8:47 remaining in the fourth quarter to make it 57-57.

Ward, a member of the Knicks for 9 1/2 seasons who was sent to Phoenix in the Stephon Marbury trade, then broke the tie on a 3-pointer with 8:24 remaining.

“That’s Charlie. Everybody here has seen it time and time again,” Houston said. “That’s who he is, and that’s why he’s going to make that team better.”

A three-point play by Ginobili was followed by a 12-foot corner jumper by Bowen from an angle behind the backboard to put the Spurs ahead 65-59 with 5:39 left.

The Knicks got no closer than four the rest of the way and were booed offthe court at the end.


Jaromir Jagr of the New York Rangers attended the game. … New York dropped to 3-6 at home against Western Conference teams. … San Antonio’s Malik Rose and New York’s Othella Harrington received technical fouls for shoving each other early in the fourth quarter following the Spurs’ 24thturnover.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 San Antonio
T. Duncan T. Duncan
12-24,  30 Pts
19 Rebs, 1 Assists
 New York
S. Marbury S. Marbury
8-21,  19 Pts
5 Rebs, 8 Assists

Team Stat Leaders