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Spurs smack Sixers to ride high in the West

(Reuters) - Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs maintained course with a swagger in their bid for supremacy in the hotly contested Western Conference with a 109-86 rout of the road-weary Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

Four-times All-Star guard Parker recorded 20 points and five assists while Manu Ginobili added 19 points and Tim Duncan 16 as the Spurs improved their record to 27-9 with a commanding display on home court.

Coming off their first loss in eight games, a 100-83 thrashing by the Knicks in New York on Thursday, San Antonio kept up the pressure on the pacesetting Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers for top spot in the West.

"Our guys played well tonight," Duncan told reporters after his 16-point tally lifted him into 24th place in the NBA's all-time scoring list, above Adrian Dantley. "We made shots and we took them out."

The Spurs outrebounded the Sixers 50-41 on the way to their 10th straight home victory.

Bench player Spencer Hawes led the way with 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting for Philadelphia, who slipped to 15-20 for the season with their third straight defeat.

"This would have been a tall order if we had eight days rest," 76ers coach Doug Collins said after his team's fourth game in five nights.

"This team (the Spurs) is as good as any team in the NBA."

ROAD RUN

Duncan was surprised to hear that Philadelphia had just ended a marathon eight-game run on the road, finishing with a 2-6 record.

"I didn't know they had been out on the road that long," he said. "That last game of that trip usually you try to give it your all, but you're usually dead out there. I can understand that."

With Danny Green and Ginobili each making two early three-pointers, the Spurs raced into a 31-21 lead after the opening quarter.

San Antonio continued to outshoot Philadelphia and with Duncan, Green and Ginobili all reaching double figures, they padded their advantage to 54-42 by halftime.

Parker exploded in the third, scoring 11 points with a dazzling array of step-back jump shots and driving layups as the Spurs forged ahead 81-63 and there was no way back from there for the Sixers.

"(Manu) was great to see," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Ginobili, who has produced roller-coaster form this season.

"He's had to slowly get back his athleticism. His confidence is always there because he's such an experienced guy. But his body has caught up and he looks as good as he's looked in a while."

Six San Antonio players got into double figures on a night when the home team outshot their opponents by 48 percent to 42 from the field.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue/John O'Brien)

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