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Mohammed paces Spurs over Warriors

SAN ANTONIO - Nazr Mohammed as the starter and Rasho Nesterovic off the bench looks to be the right combination for the San Antonio Spurs. Mohammed, in the opening lineup for the third straight game, had 15 points to lead six Spurs in double figures in their 92-75 win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night. He also contributed 14 rebounds, nine on the offensive end. "I'm just happy to be out there and getting more of an opportunity to play," he said. "You know, when it comes right down to it, one of us or both of us are going to have to play well to compete for another championship." Since the All-Star break, both of the players that coach Gregg Popovich calls his "two-headed monster" have stepped up. Nesterovic started all but one of San Antonio's first 52 games, but the centers reversed roles after Mohammed's 18-point, 20-rebound performance in an overtime loss in Philadelphia on Feb. 15. In the last three games — all victories — Mohammed has averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds. Nesterovic added 10 points and six rebounds on Saturday. "Some nights it gets easier, you know, it just falls into your hands and on some nights you must work really hard," Nesterovic said. "It's always good when coach says you play good." The Warriors led by three points early, but San Antonio erased that lead for good with a 19-4 run late in the first quarter. "We have lost a little bit of confidence and the Spurs are not a good team to try to get your confidence back," said Golden State coach Mike Montgomery, whose team shot just 34 percent. Bruce Bowen and Tony Parker each scored 14 and Manu Ginobili had 13 for the Spurs. Brent Barry, who hit three 3-pointers, contributed 10. Tim Duncan finished with a season-low nine points on 4-for-17 shooting, but he grabbed 16 rebounds. Rookie guard Monta Ellis led Golden State with a career-high 16 points. Troy Murphy had 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Derek Fisher scored 11. "When I hit my first three jumpers in a row, I knew I was going to have a good night," said Ellis, who is averaging 4.5 points in limited minutes. "I just need to keep doing what I'm doing and then the game will come to me, everything will be good." Jason Richardson, who came into the game averaging nearly 23 points, had 10 while being defended mostly by Bowen. A three-point play by Murphy gave Golden State a 10-7 lead before Parker started a 12-0 run for the Spurs by hitting a 21-footer and then finding Duncan for a layup. Bowen, who opened the game with a pair of long jumpers, made two more during San Antonio's burst. After Mike Dunleavy ended the run with a basket, the Spurs finished the first quarter by outscoring the Warriors 9-2. A layup by Adonal Foyle trimmed the deficit to eight points midway through the second, but Duncan and Mohammed both scored inside before Barry connected on his second 3-pointer to make it 41-26. San Antonio's lead grew to 19 at halftime, as the Warriors shot only 37 percent in the first two periods. The Spurs, who shot 8-for-25 in the third, extended their lead to as many as 22 points.