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NBA Roundup: Spurs Wedge Themselves Into The Conversation

Notes from Tuesday's games in the National Basketball Association ...

South By Southwest. Hey, the Spurs would like to get in on this NBA title hunt thing too. It may be a little distressing to own a 46-18 record and still be 3 1/2 games out in your own division (damn Suns!), but San Antonio isn't letting it get to them. The Spurs won their 13th straight, 93-84 over the Clippers, on Tuesday, and haven't lost since Feb. 11. Plus, they play perhaps the best defense in the Western Conference, and can occasionally beat the Warriors (unlike the Mavericks). If that's not being in contention, then what is? Tony Parker led the Spurs with 25 points, and Tim Duncan had 19.


Bring Captain Solo, Kobe Bryant And The Wookiee To Me. New Rule, as Bill Maher would say: The NBA has to make up its mind. Either their stars get treated with kid gloves as far as the fouls go, or you ring 'em up for every infraction. Treating Kobe Bryant like Marty McSorley for every elbow to the head is not going to solve anything. At least that's according to Phil Jackson, who on Tuesday lashed out at the league for what he terms their "witch hunt" against his star. "That's crazy. That's a vendetta," Jackson told the Los Angeles Times. "They have a witch hunt going on. It's nuts. Guys riding somebody. Everybody does that in this league. It's just becoming a witch hunt now." Bryant has two one-game suspensions and another flagrant foul, all this month. Our question: Will the Lakers' coach like to pay that $25,000 fine now, ot have it deducted from his check?

Meanwhile, In Sunny Florida ... Also, the Miami Heat would like to remind you that their season is not yet over. They were pesky enough to win an NBA title last season, so why not a strong finish and a repeat? Miami, down 14 at the end of the third quarter, came back to beat the Jazz 88-86 for its seventh straight win, moving within a half-game of Washington for first place in the Southeast Division. "We choked, plain and simple,'' Jazz guard Deron Williams said. Jason Williams led Miami with 15 points.

Cleveland Rocks, Even Without LeBron. Here's something: The Cavaliers are 3-0 without LeBron James this season, and 9-2 overall since he joined the team. One reason is Sasha Pavlovic, who scored a career-high 25 points — Larry Hughes also had 25 — to lead Cleveland to its sixth straight win, 124-100 over Sacramento. James was taken out of the starting lineup just before the game due to back spasms.

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