Ginobili rallies Spurs past Kings

Danny Sanchez, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Spurs, off a lackluster performance on Christmas Day in a loss to the Houston Rockets, felt another game slipping away on their home court.
This time they got the stops and hit the shots down the stretch to get the win.
Guard Manu Ginobili had a season-high 28 points to lead the Spurs to a 112-104 win over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night at the AT&T Center.
Ginobili, who had 10 crucial fourth-quarter points, was 9-for-16 from the field and hit four 3-pointers.
"Sometimes it's going to happen, sometimes it won't," Ginobili on his play. "I felt like we were being a little ... slow. Too passive. I tried to be more aggressive. I was feeling good. That always helps, sometimes you want to but can't. Two days off after a tough stretch helped me and I was feeling energetic."
Guard Tony Parker added 22 for the Spurs, while forward Boris Diaw had 14.
Forward Tim Duncan added 17 points and 13 rebounds for San Antonio (24-7), while center Tiago Splitter added 11 points.
Center DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 29 points and 14 rebounds.
Cousins, along with newly acquired guard Rudy Gay and point guard Isaiah Thomas combined for 80 of the Kings' 104 points, but it was not enough to get the win.
Gay had 24 and Thomas 27 for the Kings (9-20), who have lost seven straight to the Spurs. Forward Jason Thompson added 11 rebounds.
"The effort was there,' Cousins said of the Kings' loss. "I can't even be mad about this loss because we really had a chance to win this game. We did a lot of good things tonight. It was just some minor things that really helped them seal the game."
It was another tough matchup for the young Kings, who defeated the NBA champion Miami Heat 108-103 in overtime on Friday and then faced the other Finals team in the Spurs.
Sacramento wiped out a 15-point first-half lead by the Spurs to take back the lead with a 38-point third quarter. The Kings scored on 12 straight possessions in the third period, and went up 78-75 with three minutes on a Thomas 3-pointer with Parker in his face.
The Kings would extend their largest lead to six when Thomas connected on another 3-pointer with seconds on the clock to make it 87-81 at the end of third period. Thomas had 15 points in the quarter.
San Antonio came back and tied the game at 102 when Ginobili hit back-to-back 3-pointers, the last coming at the 3:10 mark.
Then the Spurs' defense stepped up, allowing 17 fourth-quarter points, but only two in the last 3:24 of the game.
Parker would finish it down the stretch, scoring the last eight points to seal the win.
"They're a good team. They made it tough on us. They got rolling in the third quarter a little bit," Parker said on last of the game. "We made a couple changes in the fourth quarter. Control them a little bit better. Then we made big shots in the fourth quarter and that's how we won."
San Antonio used a 15-2 run early in the second quarter to go up 45-30 on the Kings. But Sacramento bounced back behind Cousins, who led all scorers at the half with 14 points.
Cousins' 9-foot jumper with eight seconds left cut the Spurs' 15-point lead to eight, but San Antonio went into locker room with a 57-49 lead. Ginobili and Diaw combined for 21 points at the half.
Cousins started strong, scoring 10 points in the first quarter, but Duncan and Parker combined for 12 points to give San Antonio a 27-23 edge after one period.
"It was a tough loss," Kings coach Michael Malone said. "That's what the Spurs do. They go into the fourth quarter and they execute. We did not execute well down the stretch offensively, and we had some defensive lapses. When you make mistakes against this team, Manu or whoever is going to make you pay."
NOTES: Sacramento C DeMarcus Cousins, in the midst of a stellar season, is making his bid for an All-Star roster spot. He began play Sunday averaging 22.5 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. The only other players averaging at least 22 points and 11 rebounds are Minnesota Timberwolves F Kevin Love and Portland Trail Blazers F LaMarcus Aldridge. ... San Antonio entered the night with a 23-7 record, but all 23 were against teams with a .500 record or worse. ... The Kings were on a scoring binge, averaging 104.0 points per game in their previous 12 contests. ... San Antonio won 11 of its previous 12 meetings with Sacramento.

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