NBA: Spurs rally, roll toward history on the road
The San Antonio Spurs erased an early 10-point deficit to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 105-91 on Tuesday and extend their perfect record on the road to 13-0.
The Spurs are closing in on NBA history. They became just the second team to win their first 13 away games, after the Golden State Warriors won their first 14 of last season.
San Antonio notched away win No. 13 without veteran stars Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, with Parker ruled out because of a knee contusion and Ginobili in uniform but on the bench on the second night of back-to-back games.
Kawhi Leonard more than took up the slack, scoring 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting. Australian guard Patty Mills came off the bench to add 15 points, five assists and four rebounds.
Having twice trailed by 10 in the first half, the Spurs were down 46-43 at the interval.
As they did on Monday against the Bucks in Milwaukee, the Spurs produced a big third quarter to take control, out-scoring the Timberwolves 29-18 in the period.
Mills said he didn’t know why the Spurs have been so successful on the road.
“Not sure, mate,” he said. “It’s hard to win an NBA game, especially on the road.
“Maybe (it’s) that extra focus,” he added. “Knowing that we’re in another team’s building and them trying to come out and wanting to beat us, there’s that little bit extra focus or energy.”
Grizzlies win again
The Grizzlies notched their fourth straight win, holding on to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 96-91 in a tight contest in Memphis.
Spanish center Marc Gasol scored 26 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who trailed 77-76 going into the fourth quarter.
After surrendering the lead, the 76ers produced a late 8-0 scoring run to regain a 91-89 advantage with 1:57 to play.
But Memphis power forward Zach Randolph tied the game at 91-91 with a put-back basket with 1:25 remaining.
Gasol made two free throws and Tony Allen made one as the Grizzlies took a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
It was a rewarding return for Randolph, who had missed seven games after the death of his mother on November 25.
“It’s important to get back to working,” Randolph said. “This is what my mother would want me to do. Don’t sit around and be sad. Go back to work.”
He received a standing ovation from Grizzlies fans when the team was introduced.
The Detroit Pistons wasted a 17-point first-half lead but kept their composure to beat the Chicago Bulls 102-91.
Andre Drummond produced 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Pistons, who have won four of their last five games.
Marcus Morris had 13 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope contributed 12 for the Pistons, who also had seven points, five rebounds and 10 assists from reserve Ish Smith.
Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 32 points, six rebounds and four assists. Dwayne Wade added 19 points and seven assists and Taj Gibson had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Point guard Rajon Rondo, back after a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, added 10 points.
But Chicago have lost three straight and six of their last nine.
“We’re hitting a rough patch right now and you’ve got to find a way to fight through that,” Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg said.
Despite a sluggish fourth quarter, the Utah Jazz held on to beat the Phoenix Suns 112-105 for their seventh win in eight games.
Gordon Hayward scored 27 points and French defensive standout Rudy Gobert added a career-high 22 points with 11 rebounds and four blocked shots to lead the Jazz.
Devin Booker scored 21 points for the Suns, who rallied from a 23-point deficit but never managed to get in front despite trimming the gap to as little as two points.
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