He was not going to let it end on his watch.
San Antonio extended its win streak to 15 games behind Duncan's 29
points and 13 rebounds, defeating the Denver Nuggets 108-103 on
Duncan shot 12-for-20 from the field and added five assists, as San
Antonio (55-16) recorded its second longest streak in franchise
history, two from the team record, which happened during the 1995-96
"He played a great all-around game," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said
of Duncan. "Probably nobody noticed, but his assists, boards,
scoring — he was the guy that kept it together. Kawhi (Leonard)
made a couple of great plays down the stretch, but Tim was the guy
that was the solid one for us tonight."
The Spurs had an all-around offensive performance with guard Danny
Green, who scored 16, all in the first half. Guards Manu Ginobili,
Tony Parker and center Tiago Splitter each added 10.
Green suffered a right mid-foot sprain and played only two minutes
in the second half.
San Antonio was up by as much as 24 points in the third period
before Denver made a fierce run to grab the lead behind forward
Kenneth Faried's 15 fourth-quarter points. He connected on the first
of two free throws to cut the lead to four with 3:30 left in the
game. Even with the Denver defense stepping up, the Nuggets forced
15 second-half turnovers, it was the closet they would get. They
could only manage seven points the rest of the way.
San Antonio though, answered back with Duncan, as he scored seven
straight points down the stretch, 11 in the quarter, to seal the
game for the Spurs.
"We were moving the ball really well; being unselfish. We shot the
ball well, made some shots on top of that. Defensively, we were
solid," Duncan said. "But in the second it changed. I think we were
a little too unselfish; moving the ball a little too much, turned
into some turnovers and started turning into points.
"We'll clean it up; we got them again (Friday). It was a good win
for us, but we'll clean a lot up."
San Antonio, which has not lost since Feb. 21 in Phoenix, started
the game hitting its first six field goals on the way to a 34-28
first quarter lead.
The Spurs kept their offensive pressure on, shooting 57 percent from
the field behind Green's 16 first-half points. He helped them extend
their lead, knocking down his fifth 3-pointer of the half at the
buzzer to give them a 63-43 lead at halftime.
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"The first half, you turn your head for a second and they were
getting a basket," Denver guard Aaron Brooks said. "It was just
going so fast, it was like a machine out there. They're pretty good
with their system."
Denver, which suffered its fourth straight road loss , took an early
lead, 4-2, when forward Quincy Miller hit a 16-foot jump shot two
minutes into the game. It was the Nuggets last lead of the game.
"I am just happy that our team continues to fight hard," Nuggets
coach Brian Shaw said. "We are continuing to learn and we got better
as the game progressed. We will get a chance on Friday to see this
team again and see if we got better from tonight."
Brooks had 25 points off the bench to lead the Nuggets (32-40).
Faried had 25 and Miller 11, while center Timofey Mozgov added 14
points and 11 rebounds.
The teams will meet again Friday in Denver.
NOTES: Spurs F Matt Bonner, who has missed the last two games, is
expected to be out for two weeks. An MRI on Tuesday confirmed a
right calf strain for Bonner, who is averaging 3.1 points off the
bench. ... Denver, which has compiled a long list of injured
players, added another one to the list. F JJ Hickson had
season-ending surgery on Tuesday for a torn anterior ligament in his
right knee. He was injured in Friday's loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
... Defending Valero Texas Open champion Martin Laird was presented
a game ball before tip-off. The Texas Open golf tournament will be
played this weekend at the TPC San Antonio course. ... Spurs G Danny
Green and Nuggets G Ty Lawson were teammates on the 2009 North
Carolina Tar Heels national championship team.
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