SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Although they may have the best forward in the league, the San Antonio Spurs have claimed the best record because of their bench.
Malik Rose scored 20 points and rookie Emanuel Ginobili added 15 as the Spurs got 48 points from their bench en route to their 11th straight win, a 94-86 triumph over the Seattle SuperSonics.
San Antonio's Tim Duncan is arguably the best frontcourt player in the league was dominant Friday, collecting 18 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks. But Duncan can not win games by himself and the Spurs have won 40 of their last 47 as their bench has developed into one of the NBA's best.
Reserve Speedy Claxton added 13 on 4-of-5 shooting for San Antonio, which saw its bench make 14-of-28 shots from the floor and 19-of-21 free throws.
"We got a great contribution from our bench tonight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Speedy, Manu, and Malik were great off the bench. Down the stretch, Manu and Speedy made some great plays and Tim anchored the middle for us. It was a great win."
Starting point guard Tony Parker scored 16 points for the Spurs (59-20), who have moved two games ahead of the Dallas Mavericks for the league's best record. They can clinch the top seed in the Western Conference playoff race with their next win.
The Spurs led by as many as 21 in the first half, but the Sonics dominated the third quarter and pulled within 81-78 with 5:17 remaining in the game.
Claxton responded with a jumper and buried two free throws before Duncan made 1-of-2 from the line for an 86-78 edge with 3:18 left.
Seattle climbed within 86-82 with 2:31 remaining, but Ginobili made four straight free throws to double San Antonio's lead.
The Sonics again closed within four with 50 seconds to play, but Rose sank two free throws 14 seconds later and Parker sealed the game with two from the line with 11 seconds to go.
San Antonio needed a big performance from its bench as it played without starting guard Stephen Jackson, who did not play due to a groin injury, and got just 23 minutes from injury-plagued center David Robinson.
"No matter who is in the game, we seem to play well," Claxton said.
"(The injuries) just made Manu step up a little more," Robinson said. "We missed Stephen's penetration and his emotion. The guys coming off the bench did a great job tonight. They played really well."
Ray Allen scored 32 points on 13-of-22 shooting before fouling out for Seattle, which was eliminated from the playoff race with Golden State's loss at Phoenix on Friday night.
"I felt like we really didn't play until the second half," Sonics coach Nate McMillan said. "Once we got that sense of urgency we did get back in it. We just couldn't get over the hump."
Duncan scored 11 points in the first quarter as the Spurs jumped to a 31-20 lead. After Seattle's Kevin Ollie opened the second quarter with a jumper, San Antonio scored 21 of the next 30 points and took its largest lead at 52-31 on Parker's 3-pointer with 3:04 remaining.
The Sonics scored the final seven points of the first half led by Brent Barry, who made consecutive 3-pointers to bring Seattle within 53-39 at halftime.
Allen scored 10 points in the third for the Sonics, who scored nine straight points late in the quarter and pulled within 69-64 on two free throws by Ollie with 14.5 seconds to go.
"We were a little more physical with them in the second half," Allen said. "We out a lot more pressure on them. We came out and in the fourth I felt like we really made it a game."