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Spurs beat Wizards, but lose Tim Duncan to injury

The SportsXchange

SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Spurs, led by Tony Parker's 19 points, held the lead the entire way and beat the Washington Wizards 96-86 Saturday night at the AT&T Center. It was the Spurs' 18th consecutive home victory, but they lost All-Star Tim Duncan during the game.

With the Spurs leading 40-23 in the second quarter, Washington's Martell Webster fell into Duncan, who crumpled to the floor clutching his left knee. Duncan was helped to the locker room, although he was able to walk some of the way on his own. He was diagnosed with a strained left knee and a strained right ankle and did not return.

There was no announcement on the severity of Duncan's injury.

Duncan, averaging 17.5 points and 9.8 rebounds, had recently been selected by the coaches to participate in his 14th NBA All-Star Game this month. Parker was the Spurs' other addition to the all-star tilt. Duncan left with eight points and five rebounds.

"To have our best player go down like that with his knee and ankle is pretty frustrating, but we had a game to play," Spurs forward Stephen Jackson said. "We don't know how long he's going to be out, but we still have to get the job done regardless of who's out there. And we've been able to do that for the most part, because we've had guys in and out."

There were reports that Duncan was in good spirits after the game and that the team doctors don't think the injuries are serious. There also reports that Duncan walked out of the arena on his own.

The Spurs, who continue to have the NBA's best record at 38-11, have now also won 14 straight against the Wizards and are 22-2 this season at home. Washington, which was without starting shooting guard Bradley Beal again with a sprained wrist, has never won at the AT&T Center.

"We played a very good first half," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "We had really fine defense and moved the ball well. In the second half, we lost our focus and the defense dissipated and that let them get back in the game. Once again, Tony (Parker) and Tiago (Splitter) were great."

Saturday's game capped a three-game road trip for Washington, which also lost to Sacramento and Philadelphia.

The Spurs now embark on their annual nine-game rodeo road trip. Their next home game will be Feb. 27 against the Suns. Their only loss since Dec. 21 was an overtime loss at Memphis Jan. 11.

Kawhi Leonard added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, Splitter 12 points and seven rebounds and Danny Green added 15 points.

Washington's John Wall led all scorers with 21 points and nine assists. Webster added 14.

The Wizards (11-35) only scored nine points in the second quarter, but exploded for 30 in the third to make it a tight game.

The Spurs might not be able to blame their breakdown on that moment though, because they built a 27-point lead five minutes into the third quarter. Instead of coasting the rest of the way, Washington put together a run and pulled to within 75-67 on a Trevor Ariza layup.

The Spurs responded with an 11-4 run to take control back. Splitter scored six in that run and Parker added four.

"The first half we didn't play together or with any enthusiasm," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "After having a little bit of success we crept in. I thought we really crept in it tonight to be honest with you and we addressed it again at half time tonight. That's the team we were a couple of weeks ago."

Washington strung together victories over Minnesota and Chicago recently before its current losing streak.

NOTES: The Wizards Trevor Booker was out due to a sore left wrist. ... The Spurs and Wizards both hold their opponents to an average of 95.9 points per game, but the Spurs average 104.3 points while the Wizards only manage 90.9. ... The Spurs have had four injured players, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner, but only Ginobili (left hamstring) remained out against the Wizards... Wizards coach Randy Wittman on D-League pickup Garrett Temple who has been a part-time starter due to injuries. "He's a tough kid, and he plays hard. He's got good energy, and is a good defender. Those are the qualities he has, and those are some of the reasons he stuck with us. He knows his capabilities and what he can and can't do. It's a quality that can help you stay in the league." Temple has averaged 3.8 points in 16 games this season before Saturday night.
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