Rockets can't take off

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 10:22 AM ET

San Antonio, Texas - Manu Ginobili poured in 22 points and San Antonio won its 18th in a row at home, all while continuing its best start in franchise history with a 108-95 decision over the Houston Rockets.

DeJuan Blair contributed 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs (40-7), who are two victories shy of their longest single-season home winning streak. That was set November 11, 1989 - February 6, 1990. The Spurs, though, will have to wait 3 1/2 weeks before playing again at AT&T Center. The team will now embark on their 2011 rodeo road trip, a nine-game trek over the course of 17 days and travel 8,965 miles.

"We're going to have nine on the road, the usual rodeo trip. It's important to finish the last home game with a win," Ginobili said. "Houston for us is always a tough match-up. They play hard, they know us very well, and it's a team that I like. They've been struggling with injuries, but they are a tough team. We played a great second half."

Richard Jefferson totaled 18 points, one more than Tony Parker. George Hill came off the bench for 14 points, while Tim Duncan scored 12 to go with seven boards for the Spurs, winners of three in row overall and 11 of their last 12 contests. Hill scored all of his points in the second half, 10 of them in the last quarter.

Luis Scola had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who nearly rallied from a 25-point deficit in their last game, at Dallas on Thursday, before losing 111-106. Houston was within five points early in the final quarter on Saturday, but faltered down the stretch.

"They've had a great year so far. They move the ball very well," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said of the Spurs. "They're very unselfish. They've got a lot of guys that can contribute for them. They have all the ingredients of a team that's going to be very difficult to beat."

Ginobili's two free throws capped an 11-2 Spurs run for a 64-55 difference early in the third. Houston was able to get within three a few times later in the period, the last on Chase Budinger's three-ball with 68 seconds left for a 74-71 margin. Ginobili's jumper then represented the final points of the third.

San Antonio continued to pull away in the fourth, as Hill's pull-up three- pointer widened the margin to 93-79 with 7 1/2 minutes left. The Rockets never made a challenge in the final minutes.

Kevin Martin scored all 10 of his points in the opening quarter, helping the Rockets to a 26-25 lead after 12 minutes. The Spurs, though, shot 12-of-18 in the second period. Embedded in the stanza was an 11-0 spurt. Blair's slam, off a feed from Parker, boosted the Spurs to a 42-36 lead with 5:19 left until halftime.

The Rockets came back and grabbed a 51-50 edge on Kyle Lowry's jumper in the closing minute, but Ginobili responded with a three-pointer.

Game Notes

Over the last eight years since moving to the AT&T Center, the Spurs combined Rodeo road trip record is 44-20. Last year, the Spurs went 4-4 on the swing...Houston has lost six of eight and 23 of its last 27 at San Antonio...The Spurs are 25-2 at home this season...Lowry had 15 points and seven assists.


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