CHARLOTTE: Australian guard Patty Mills came off the San Antonio bench to score a game-high 32 points and lift the Spurs over Charlotte 104-100 in an NBA game on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
The 25-year-old from Canberra made 10-of-13 shots from the field, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range, and sank 8-of-9 from the free throw line while also contributing seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Mills rescued the Spurs on a night when their starters struggled to find their shooting touch.
French guard Tony Parker went 3-of-13 and scored only nine points, while countryman Boris Diaw had 13 points and French reserve guard Nando de Colo added 15 points.
Spurs big man Tim Duncan had 16 points and 13 rebounds but made only 6-of-13 from the floor. In all, San Antonio starters went 18-of-48 from the floor.
Charlotte center Al Jefferson had 26 points and nine rebounds, while Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson added 23 points in a losing cause.
The Spurs improved to 37-14, the second-best record in the Western Conference, to stretch their Southwest division lead with a fourth win in their past five games.
Charlotte sank to 22-29, still in the eighth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
The score was deadlocked at 82-82, when the Spurs seized command with a 12-4 run sparked by a Mills jumper and a floating loft shot.
Charlotte pulled within 100-97 with 10.4 seconds remaining, but de Colo added two free throws to stretch San Antonio’s lead.
A Henderson three-pointer gave the Bobcats their final points, but de Colo sank two final free throws to seal Charlotte’s fate.