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Marks stars for Spurs

Published: 6:44PM Thursday February 09, 2006 Source: ONE Sport/Reuters

Kiwi basketball star Sean Marks turned out arguably his best ever performance in his NBA career on Thursday, to lead the San Antonio Spurs past his former team, the Toronto Raptors.

The 30-year-old, who retired from the Tall Blacks last year, notched up 16 points (8/9 field goals), five rebounds and two assists before he fouled out of the match in the late stages.

Tony Parker scored 32 points and had 12 assists, while Michael Finley added 23 points for the Spurs, who were missing Tim Duncan due to the flu.

Mike James scored 36 points and Chris Bosh added 30 points and had 14 rebounds for the Raptors.

Elsewhere a strong fourth quarter by Tayshaun Prince revitalised the Detroit Pistons and helped the league leaders overcome the Los Angeles Clippers 97-87 in Auburn Hills.

Prince scored 11 of his 22 points in the final quarter to help the Pistons snap their first two-game losing streak of the season.

"Our energy level has been down," Prince told reporters after the game.

"That's why I knew the fourth quarter was the time to get aggressive."

Rasheed Wallace scored 19 points for the Pistons and Chauncey Billups had 18, while the Detroit defense rediscovered the stinginess that has been the team's trademark over the past several seasons.

Detroit (40-8), which has the best overall record in the NBA, beat the Clippers for the seventh straight time and ended Los Angeles' four-game winning streak.

Elton Brand led the Clippers with 30 points, while Cuttino Mobley added 27.

League elite

Los Angeles played without Sam Cassell, who was a late scratch just before game time with back spasms.

"We're not quite there yet," Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We're definitely a playoff team, but we're not with the elite teams of the league."

Both teams shot 46 percent from the field, with the Pistons grabbing a 48-40 lead at the half.

In Washington, Gilbert Arenas scored 45 points as the Wizards beat the Golden State Warriors 129-124. Caron Butler added 34 points and had 15 rebounds for the Wizards.

Jason Richardson scored 31 points and Baron Davis added 28 points and had 13 assists for the Warriors.

In East Rutherford, Vince Carter scored 22 points as the New Jersey Nets beat the New York Knicks 96-83. Richard Jefferson added 18 points for the Nets.

In Charlotte, Melvin Ely scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds as the Bobcats beat the Philadelphia 76ers 100-92.