Duncan powers Spurs to victory

With the San Antonio Spurs staring at a 19-point deficit in the second half Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets, Tim Duncan took over and carried them to victory.

Duncan's 25 points and seven rebounds led the Spurs to a 99-91 victory over the Rockets.

Duncan scored 25 points and grabbed seven boards while Tony Parker added 24 to help the Spurs rally for a 99-91 win over the Rockets for their 11th win at the AT&T Center this season.

The Rockets led by 18 points in the third quarter and looked poised to put the game away before Duncan led the Spurs on an 11-2 run.

The Big Fundamental scored 16 points in the quarter, after which the Spurs trailed only 71-67.

“Tim Duncan, he went to the fountain of youth or something yesterday,” Neal said. “Cause today he looked phenomenal. Tim’s one of our leaders, everybody knows that; we just kind of fed off of him tonight.”

The Spurs took their first lead since the first quarter on Danny Green’s 3-pointer with seven minutes left in the game — a shot that brought his former coach Roy Williams, in attendance to support Green, to his feet.

Both teams traded baskets before the Spurs took the lead for good on Neal’s runner with only two minutes remaining.

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Duncan, Spurs escaped Rockets in OT

After losing a close one in Milwaukee, the San Antonio Spurs found themselves in another tight contest against the Houston Rockets on a second night of back-to-backs.

Tim Duncan had 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Spurs to a 101-95 victory over the Rockets.

With most of their starters logging a lot of minutes the previous night, the Spurs started out slow and trailed the Rockets at halftime 50-47.

However, they found their groove in the third quarter outscoring Houston 25-18 in the period, to take a four-point 72-68 lead entering the fourth quarter.

The Rockets started strong in the fourth, and took an 83-80 advantage with a little over four minutes left, before the Spurs made an 8-0 run of their own capped by back-to-back jumpers from Tony Parker and Tim Duncan to re-take the lead 88-83 with only 1:22 left in the game clock.

But the Rockets weren’t done.

Led by Luis Scola who finished with 20 points and five rebounds, Houston used a 7-2 run that send the game into overtime.

In the extra period, fatigue went into play as both teams were sluggish at the offensive end. Duncan missed his first three foul shots in overtime but made his fourth try to give San Antonio a 91-90 lead with 2:42 left.

On the ensuing play, Samuel Dalembert’s dunk gave the lead back to Houston 92-91.

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Amnesty cuts: Who could be on the chopping block?

Last week, it was reported that an amnesty provision could be a part of the new labor agreement. With that in mind, it would be interesting to talk about on which players should be released by their NBA teams once the provsion takes effect.

Here’s how each Southwest division teams could use their amnesty clause.

DALLAS MAVERICKS

Brendan Haywood. The Mavericks are set to pay Haywood $45.4 million through 2016 for being a backup center.

Tyson Chandler has done a great job on the middle, helping the Mavs win their first NBA title. With former Spur Ian Mahinmi in tow, I believe Haywood is dispensable.

SAN ANTONIO SPURS

I don’t hate Richard Jefferson, but should the Spurs elect to use their amnesty provision this one is a “no-brainer”, Jefferson should be the one to cut. He is set to make $9.3 million, $10.1 million, and $11 million over the next three years.

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Yao Ming retiring after nine NBA seasons

According to league sources, Houston Rockets center Yao Ming has decided to retire after nine NBA seasons.

Multiple injuries has plagued Yao's NBA career.

Yao’s contract had expired after this past season with the Rockets, who have missed the playoffs the last two seasons.

They played nearly all of that time without Yao as he battled various injuries. He was limited to five games last season after missing all of 2009-10.

In May, the 7-foot-6 Chinese star, plagued by lower-body injuries in the second half of his career, said his surgically repaired left ankle was healing properly and he wanted to remain with the Rockets. The Rockets said they were interested in re-signing him if he came back healthy.

But Yao, who had surgery in January, said he wouldn’t know until this summer if he’d be able to play again. He became a restricted free agent July 1.

Reports says he has informed the league office that he is retiring.

But NBA spokesman Tim Frank said that was not the case.

“We have not received official notification of his retirement,” he said.

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