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Spurs 113, Warriors 95

February 17, 1996

SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ Vinny Del Negro is putting up numbers for San Antonio that could make opponents take notice.

Del Negro scored 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting Friday night as the Spurs routed Golden State 113-95 at the Alamodome.

In San Antonio’s three games since the All-Star break, Del Negro, who scored a season-high 31 points against Houston on Thursday, is shooting 62 percent.

``I’m just doing my job,″ said Del Negro, who also tied a career-high with five steals in Friday’s win. ``I just try to go out and play hard.

``At the start of the season, my shot wasn’t falling, but I knew it was just a matter of time before I got into my groove. I think the reason is the fact that we are playing better defense, which is creating good opportunities for me to get into my comfort zone.″

San Antonio played good defense Friday, forcing Golden State into a season-high 25 turnovers.

One of the reasons for the improvement was Spurs coach Bob Hill’s decision to give Charles Smith his first start since coming to San Antonio from the New York Knicks in last week’s trade.

Smith had 15 points, seven rebounds and a season-high five blocked shots as the Spurs broke a two-game losing streak.

``Charles definitely did well,″ said Spurs center David Robinson, who had 17 points and 18 rebounds. ``Once he gets our system down, he is going to give us another big threat down low, and will help us on the defensive end.

``The thing I like most about Charles is that he is a smart player. Once we get our rhythm down, we will be a good tag team.″

San Antonio, which had six players in double figures, blew open the game with a 15-4 run at the start of the third quarter and led 85-70 at the end of the third quarter. Smith and Robinson sat out the fourth quarter.

``Tonight was a good night for me because the team is starting to see what I can do,″ Smith said. ``(Avery Johnson) was hitting me early on the break and that shows he has confidence in me.

``I believe that I could have done the same thing in New York as what I’m doing here, but we didn’t run. I’m just having fun and starting to get the hang of what’s going on here.″

Chris Gatling had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Tim Hardaway scored 18 points for the Warriors, who had their two-game winning streak broken.

``We certainly didn’t defend like we needed to,″ Warriors coach Rick Adelman said. ``The two things we had talked about today were no easy baskets and be patient offensively.

``We kept quick-shooting, and you can’t do that against this team.″

Warriors forward Chris Mullin said the team did not play well in several areas.

``Nothing went right,″ Mullin said. ``At the half, we were in it, but in the third, when we trying to get back in it. We didn’t do a good job.″

Smith’s emergence couldn’t have come at a better time for the Spurs. San Antonio, which won for the first time since the All-Star break, plays Houston on Sunday at home before leaving for a five-game West Coast road trip.

``Tonight was a good team effort,″ Hill said. ``It was good for team morale. We needed a game like this.″

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