Tim Duncan took his first night off of the season but the NBA-leading San Antonio Spurs were still more than a match for the Charlotte Bobcats, rolling to a 109-98 triumph.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich decided he did not want to risk injuries for the 34-year-old Duncan after the forward, the only man to start San Antonio's first 68 games of the season, played 34 minutes in a victory on Friday at Dallas.
"It's late in the year and back-to-backs are probably not the best idea for some of our players at this point," Popovich said.
Duncan was listed on the Spurs' pre-game injury report as "trop vieux", or "too old" in Spurs guard Tony Parker's native French language.
"That's an excuse," Parker joked. "I don't know why he's not playing."
With the Bobcats missing scoring leader Stephen Jackson due to a hamstring strain, the Spurs were able to seize a 58-41 half-time lead and rest players in the fourth quarter.
"They didn't really need him," Bobcats coach Paul Silas said of Duncan.
Ginobili does not expect much rest for himself or others the rest of the season on the run to the playoffs.
"We might see one game or two," Ginobili said. "We got to keep in shape and keep playing. Because when you realize the playoffs are here you don't want to lose your conditioning."
At 56-13, the Spurs have a seven-game lead over the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers for the best record in the Western Conference and a 6 1/2-game edge on Boston and Chicago for the top record in the league.
The Bobcats, 28-41, are 1 1/2 games behind Indiana for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"In a run for the playoffs, every game is going to be important," Diaw said. "To get a 'W' is important, so it's frustrating."
Source: AFP American Edition