SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- The San Antonio Spurs drafted Manu Ginobili for his offense, not his offensive rebounding.
Ginobili scored 17 points and came up with two key offensive rebounds in the final 90 seconds that allowed the Spurs to hold on for an 84-79 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers that gave them the best record in the NBA.
The Spurs (58-20) have won 10 straight games to move one game ahead of slumping Dallas in the Midwest Division. They are an astounding 38-7 since the All-Star break.
But they would not have won this one without the hustle of Ginobili, a rookie guard from Argentina whose ability to make plays off the dribble have taken some of the offensive pressure off superstar Tim Duncan.
After two free throws by Bonzi Wells pulled Portland within 81-79 with 1:28 to play, Tony Parker missed a jumper that was run down by Ginobili, buying the Spurs some extra time before Dale Davis stole the ball from Duncan.
At the other end, former Spur Derek Anderson missed a running banker with 35 seconds to go. Parker again missed a jumper, but Ginobili barely beat a Trail Blazer to the loose ball and tapped it to Stephen Jackson, who was fouled with 10.6 seconds left and made both free throws.
"I was on the weak side and I knew I just had to go after the ball," Ginobili said.
"He plays really hard," Anderson said. "The two offensive rebounds that he had, he just outworked me for them. He just has great instincts for the ball and just is a worker."
On a night where the Trail Blazers limited Duncan to a season-low 11 points, Ginobili picked up the slack, making 7-of-11 shots, including two 3-pointers.
"He's a great player and did a great job for them getting key offensive rebounds," Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We needed to do a better job on the offensive end, but his heart and determination made him a big factor in their win."
Parker scored 15 points and Bruce Bowen aded 13 for the Spurs, who had six players in double figures and shot 47 percent (35-of-75) while holding the Blazers to 38 percent (31-of-81).
Anderson scored 20 points and Rasheed Wallace and Damon Stoudamire added 12 apiece for Portland, which was held without a basket over the final 4 1/2 minutes. The Blazers (48-30) remained one-half game ahead of Minnesota in the race for fourth place in the Western Conference and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
"When you hold Tim Duncan to 3-of-14 shooting from the field, you can really limit their abilities," Cheeks said. "However, they showed why they were the best team tonight coming out there and making plays."
"Portland always played Tim Duncan well," Spurs forward Malik Rose said. "Rasheed Wallace is just so long and athletic down there in the paint. ... They seem to have a good team philosophy on guarding Tim."
A 3-pointer hy Anderson and basket by Wallace cut the deficit to 67-64 with 8:45 to play. Rose answered with a reverse dunk and Duncan sank two free throws for his only points of the final period.
Baskets by rookie Qyntel Woods and Zach Randolph again made it a three-point game, but Stephen Jackson and Parker responded with jumpers to rebuild the lead to 75-68 with 6:18 left.
A jumper by Wells and two free throws by Anderson made it 79-77 with 3 1/2 minutes to play. After Bowen missed badly on two free throws, the Blazers had a pair of empty possessions around a tip-in by Jackson.
"I had a bit of a tough night tonight but the team did a great job of keeping their composure," Duncan said.
Jackson and Rose scored 10 points each. Duncan and Jackson pulled down 11 rebounds apiece and Rose added nine.
Woods scored 10 point for the Blazers. Wallace and Anderson swept eight boards each. "We went up against the best team in basketball right now and held our own," Anderson said. "We just have to come out and get tougher."
A layup by Bowen gave the Spurs the lead for good at 15-13 and started an 8-0 spurt that closed the first quarter. San Antonio took its largest lead at 36-21 on a 3-pointer by Bowen with 5:28 left in the second quarter before settling for a 47-35 halftime advantage.
Wells came alive in the third quarter, scoring six straight Portland points. A bucket by Randolph cut the deficit to 61-57 late in the period.