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NBA Game Summary - San Antonio at Houston

(Saturday, March 14th)

Final Score: San Antonio 88, Houston 85

Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Tony Parker scored 28 points, including San Antonio's final nine, to lead the Spurs past the Houston Rockets, 88-85, at the Toyota Center in a matchup of the top two teams in the Southwest Division.

The Spurs now lead the Rockets by 2 1/2 games in the division and four games in the loss column.

Michael Finley totaled 17 points and hit five three-pointers for the second straight game for the Spurs, who have won four of five overall. Tim Duncan amassed 15 points and 12 rebounds in the win.

Aaron Brooks and Yao Ming scored 18 points apiece, with the latter adding 11 boards for the Rockets, who have dropped two of three on the heels of a three- game winning streak. Ron Artest finished with 21 points and nine rebounds in the setback.

With Houston down by five late in the game, Brooks drove the lane and dropped in a layup to cut the deficit to 84-81 with just under two minutes left.

Parker answered with a long jumper for the Spurs, but Luis Scola responded with two free throws. Duncan then failed to get a hook shot to fall and, on the ensuing Houston possession, Yao had a putback slam off Brooks' missed layup to make it 86-85 with 43.6 ticks left.

On the Spurs' next touch, Parker missed a jumper and Yao grabbed the board before Houston called a timeout with 28 seconds showing.

Following the stoppage, Scola got the inbounds pass and relayed it to Brooks, who drove the lane but had his layup bid carom off the iron. Parker grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 14.5 seconds left. He hit both shots to make it 88-85.

The Rockets had a chance to tie it up, but Artest's offering from the top of the arc clanked off the front of the rim where a scrum ensued. A jumpball followed, and Artest grabbed the ball and called time with 4.2 seconds remaining.

"It was a great look," Artest said of his shot. "I will take that wide open shot any day but I couldn't get it to fall."

Brooks then inbounded to Yao, who gave it right back for a three, which was off the mark to seal the home team's fate.

The clubs played to a 22-22 tie after the first quarter, but the Spurs were up, 44-37, at the break.

Duncan's long-range jumper closed out an 11-5 San Antonio run that gave the Spurs a 55-44 lead with just under 7 1/2 minutes left in the third.

Trailing by seven late in the third, the Rockets recorded 11 straight points to take a 61-57 lead. Brooks netted the final four points on the surge, but the Spurs stayed close. Finley then nailed a half court buzzer beater to give the Spurs a slight 64-63 lead heading into the final 12 minutes.

"Every time we play Houston it's a defensive struggle for whatever reason," said Parker. "They like to push the ball, so our transition defense was huge. Overall, it was a huge win."

The lead went back-and-forth in the fourth, before a Duncan jumper and Parker layup gave the visitors an 81-77 lead with about four minutes to play. Then, following botched possessions by both clubs, Parker offered a three-point play to make it 84-77.

Game Notes

Finley went 5-for-7 from three-point range Saturday and 5-for-6 in Thursday's loss to the Lakers...The Spurs took a 2-1 lead in the season series...The Rockets, who are a gaudy 27-8 at home, blistered San Antonio, 103-84, on November 29 in Houston...The Spurs are a solid 21-12 on the road.

03/15 00:21:25 ET

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