Spurs Tower Over Warriors


David Robinson is proving his aching back is getting better.

The veteran center scored 19 points, and Tim Duncan scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Golden State Warriors 104-81 on Thursday.

"I'm starting to feel good again," Robinson said. "My back body is starting to bounce around again. My back feels fine."

Robinson, 34, suffered in the preseason from a sore upper back after getting elbowed in an exhibition game in Houston. He also had tightness in his lower back, a problem that flares up from time to time. He missed two preseason games because of the ailments.

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  • Robinson and Duncan each had three blocked shots Thursday, and the defending NBA champion Spurs hailed their own defensive effort.

    "I was thrilled with the defense," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "On the offensive end, they were unselfish. I like the way the big guys played, passing the ball and looking for each other."

    Five Spurs players scored in double figures. Reserve forward Samaki Walker, a free agent from Dallas who signed with San Antonio in the offseason, contributed 16 points.

    "I'm still looking for my flow," Walker said. "Once I get my flow, I feel I can contribute more, give more of a spark."

    Warriors coach P.J. Carlesimo said his team tried to concentrate on defending Duncan and Robinson, but then other Spurs players pitched in and hurt Golden State.

    "They are so deep," Carlesimo said. "They have quite a few guys on their bench with nearly ten years of NBA experience who really understand their roles and fill them nicely."

    San Antonio held a 10-point lead at halftime, then improved on it in the third quarter. The Spurs outscored the Warriors 29-22 in the period and led by 20 points several time.

    By the end of the third, the Warriors trimmed the Spurs' lead to 73-56 thanks to two baskets by rookie Vonteego Cummings in the final 29 seconds.

    The Spurs opened the final period with a 3-pointer by Jaren Jackson. Robinson scored the next seven points for San Antonio, giving the Spurs an 83-61 lead with 8:03 remaining and putting the game well out of reach for Golden State.

    Antawn Jamison led the Warriors with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

    "I'm getting tired of seeing Tim Duncan," Jamison said. "He's a nice guy and a great basketball player, but I've been going up against him since college. Against that frontline of theirs, you can't become soft. If you beat one, the other is coming, so you have to play smart."

    Golden State shot only 34 percent from the field, compared with 49 percent for San Antonio.

    "We did great defensively," Duncan said. "The low shooting percentage (for Golden State) was very good. That's what we want to do. That's what we did last year."

    Mookie Blaylock made his debut at point guard for Golden State with six points and six assists in 24 minutes. Blaylock sat out the Warriors' 108-96 season-opening loss in Dallas on Tuesday because of a strained left calf muscle.

    Several Spurs players, recalling their hard-fought victory in the regular-season finale against the Warriors last year, had said they were braced for a tough game against Golden State on Thursday.

    Though the score stayed close the first few minutes, by the end of the first quarter the Spurs started to dominate. The Spurs scored nine unanswered points in the final 2:53 of the quarter to move ahead 23-14.

    San Antonio led by as many as 13 points three times during the second quarter, but each time Golden State inched a little closer. The Spurs led 44-34 at halftime.

    The Spurs moved to 2-0 with the victory, while the Warriors dropped to 0-2.

    Notes

  • Golden State had 17 turnovers, compared with 13 for San Antonio. Turnovers were a problem for both teams in their respective season openers Tuesday.
  • San Antonio again started Chucky Brown at small forward in place of Sean Elliott, who is recuperating from a kidney transplant.
  • Terry Cummings of Golden State got a round of applause from Spurs fans when he entered the game midway through the first quarter. He was a popular player when he was with the Spurs from 1989-95. .... San Antonio has won 14 straight games in the Alamodome and hasn't lost at home since fallin to Toronto on March 26 last season.
  • Golden State's home opener is Saturday against Dallas.

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