CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Guard Patty Mills came off the bench to score a season-high 32 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter, and the San Antonio Spurs pulled away down the stretch for a 104-100 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.
Mills, getting more playing time the last six games while guard Manu Ginobili is out with a hamstring injury, hit 10 of 13 shots from the field and was 4 of 5 from 3-point range. He fell two points shy of his career high of 34.
The Spurs took control in the final seven minutes of a game that had 12 ties and 15 lead changes. Center Jeff Ayres gave the Spurs the lead for good at 84-82 and San Antonio pushed the lead to as many as eight down the stretch.
Spurs guard Nando DeColo hit four free throws in the final 9.5 seconds left to seal the outcome.
San Antonio forward Tim Duncan finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds, DeColo scored 15 and center Boris Diaw had 13 points.
The Bobcats got 26 points from center Al Jefferson, 23 from guard Gerald Henderson, 18 from guard Kemba Walker and 10 from guard Ramon Sessions. Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 12 rebounds.
The Bobcats roared to an 18-6 lead in the first seven minutes of the game, but the lead shrank to 25-21 after one quarter. Charlotte then led 42-41 at halftime and 70-69 after three quarters.
The Spurs are now 37-14 and the Bobcats fell to 22-29.
NOTES: The Spurs were playing the third game of a nine-game trip, sandwiched around the All-Star break. They continue on the Eastern portion with games at Detroit on Monday and at Boston on Wednesday. Then after the All-Star break, they will face the Los Angeles Clippers, Portland and Phoenix on the road before finally returning home on Feb. 26 against Detroit. ... The Spurs came into the game with the best road record in the NBA at 18-6. ... The Bobcats were returning home off a 3-1 West Coast trip that included wins over Denver, the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State. C Al Jefferson averaged 28.6 points and 12 rebounds on the trip, including 40 points and 18 rebounds against the Lakers. ... F Tim Duncan and G Tony Parker were back in the Spurs' starting lineup on Saturday night after sitting out a 103-89 loss at Brooklyn on Thursday night. Coach Gregg Popovich gives the 37-year-old Duncan a night off occasionally to rest, and Parker sat out because of tightness in his back. The Spurs also got F Boris Diaw back after he missed the Brooklyn game because of food poisoning. ... The Spurs were without C Tiago Splitter (calf), G Marco Belinelli (back spasms), G Manu Ginobili (left hamstring) and F Kawhi Leonard (fractured fourth metacarpal). ... The Bobcats have not had C Brendan Haywood (stress fracture left foot) at all this season and have lost F Jeffery Taylor (ruptured right Achilles) for the season. ... The Bobcats remain home to face Dallas on Tuesday night.