Spurs notch ninth straight win


SAN ANTONIO, December 21 – Tim Duncan scored 20 points and pulled down 15 rebounds to spark the San Antonio Spurs to their ninth NBA triumph in a row, a 118-110 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Monday.Two days after swinging a major trade with Orlando, the Suns used only eight players against the NBA’s winningest squad, which improved to 24-3. The Spurs have already enjoyed a 12-game win streak this season.

"We feel pretty good about ourselves right now," Duncan said. "But I think we still have a lot to build on, honestly. Our record is really good, and that’s a great situation to be in, but we got a lot of things we can clean up."

Frenchman Tony Parker, named the NBA’s Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday for his efforts last week, scored 19 points while Richard Jefferson added 17, Argentina’s Manu Ginobili contributed 15 and DeJuan Blair produced 10 points and eight rebounds.

Jared Dudley scored 27 points to lead the Suns, who were without the players obtained in the deal — Vince Carter, Polish center Marcin Gortat and French playmaker Mickael Pietrus. All three are likely to play Thursday against Miami.

Grant Hill added 19 points and Canadian guard Steve Nash added 17 points and 10 assists for Phoenix.

"We should be optimistic," Nash said. "We got a lot of guys coming in that give us size, depth and scoring and defense. We should be a better team."

The Suns led 54-53 at half-time thanks to a 21-7 run to close the second quarter, but Phoenix failed to produce points on 12 of 14 possessions to open the third quarter as the Spurs surged ahead by 19 points midway into the period.

"They had nobody to stop Timmy," Parker said. "He was getting easy baskets and getting baskets for everybody."