Tim Duncan had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs stopped the Charlotte Bobcats' franchise-record winning streak at six with a 100-86 victory Tuesday night.
Tony Parker and Roger Mason added 21 points apiece for the Spurs, who couldn't shake the Bobcats until late before ending Charlotte's recent surge that pushed the Bobcats into the playoff picture.
Raja Bell and Emeka Okafor each had 16 points for the Bobcats, who are a game behind eighth-place Chicago in their bid to make the playoffs for the first time since joining the NBA in the 2004-05 season.
The Spurs won their third straight with a marquee meeting looming Thursday against the Lakers, who San Antonio has trailed as the second team in the West for much of the season.
Raymond Felton had 15 points and Gerald Wallace 14 for Charlotte.
Charlotte closed the first quarter with consecutive 3-pointers by Vladimir Radmanovic and Wallace to go up 29-23. Mason then single-handedly outscored Charlotte 9-0 to start the second, hitting a pair of jumpers, a 3-pointer and a slashing layup to retake the lead.
Another eight consecutive points from Parker later in the second dug San Antonio out of another hole before the Spurs went on a nearly three-minute dry spell toward the end of the quarter. They went into the locker room tied at 46.
The Bobcats tied it again at 71 entering the fourth thanks to a buzzer-beating jumper by Felton, who drained the energy from the crowd after Kurt Thomas cleaned up Duncan's missed tip seconds earlier.
It all set up what began as a back-and-forth finale in the fourth. Mason hit a 3-pointer, then Bell answered right back with a 3 of his own. But after a timeout, the Spurs pulled away.
Another 3-pointer by Mason, his fifth and final of the night, with just under four minutes left sealed the win.
Charlotte returns home to face Houston, another West contender, on Friday before heading back on the road the next night against Minnesota with about a month left in the season.
The Spurs will face the Lakers on Thursday without Manu Ginobili or new addition Drew Gooden, who both continue to sit out with injuries. The Lakers expect to have Lamar Odom back by then after the NBA suspended him for Wednesday's game against Houston for leaving the bench during an altercation Monday in Portland.