8:30 PM ET, April 2, 2014
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
Tony Parker had 18 points and eight assists and Duncan had 15 points and eight rebounds as San Antonio rolled to a 111-90 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, extending the Spurs' franchise-record winning streak to 19 games.
"They're playing amazing right now," Golden State guard Stephen Curry said. "That's the best in the league right now."
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Gregg Popovich's Spurs culture doesn't allow for worrying about the win streak, which is why the streak rolls ahead, Andrew McNeill writes. Dime
San Antonio (59-16) extended its league-leading record to four games over the Thunder (54-19) ahead of their matchup Thursday night in Oklahoma City.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was able to rest his core players with his team leading by as many as 26 points and never trailing after the opening three minutes.
"Our minutes stayed low, and it's just like Pop likes it, so we'll see what happens tomorrow (against Oklahoma City)," Duncan said.
Duncan played only 20 minutes and Parker 28. Both sat out the entire fourth quarter.
After struggling with his outside shot for much of the season, Duncan is regaining his soft touch just in time for San Antonio's 17th consecutive postseason appearance.
He finished 7-for-11 from the field, including 6-for-7 shooting in the first half on a series of soft jumpers, bank shots and a dunk.
"The 'Big Dog' is always a key for us," Spurs reserve post Jeff Ayres said. "We pretty much go as he goes. If he's hooping like that, it just lifts everybody up. It opens everything up for everybody else."
San Antonio swept the four-game season series against Golden State and has won 31 straight at home against the Warriors, the Spurs' longest active winning streak against any team.
Klay Thompson finished with 15 points and Curry 11 for Golden State, which was playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
The "Splash Brothers" struggled offensively, especially in the first half against San Antonio's perpetual motion.
"Just the way they move the ball," Curry said. "It seems like they're always on the attack. They force you to make decisions on both ends of the floor."
"Coach keeps giving me a chance, and I'm just trying to make the best out of it," Speights said. "Coach is a good coach, and he finds guys and gets the best out of them."
Popovich found a way to do the same after screaming for a timeout 69 seconds into the game after a turnover and missed 21-foot jumper by Duncan put San Antonio in a 4-0 hole.
San Antonio responded to its coach's directions with a 14-2 run as Parker and Duncan essentially turned the team's fluid ball movement into a two-man game.
Duncan made his next four attempts on a tip follow, dunk, reverse layup and baby hook. Parker assisted on two of Duncan's baskets, made a 3-foot jumper and two free throws, and finished with a layup and a 14-6 lead with 6:46 remaining.
"We didn't get off to a quick start," Duncan said. "For the first couple of minutes, we were kind of sputtering out of there, but we got some shots to go. (We got) some stops to go and kind of got ourselves a lead there."
After shooting a combined 5-for-13 in opening half, the Splash Brothers found their range in the third quarter to rally Golden State.
They opened the quarter shooting 4-for-6, with Thompson hitting a pair of 3-pointers and Curry adding his only one of the game.
Thompson's second 3-pointer pulled Golden State within 71-61 with 6:23 remaining in the third. Speights hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 74-67 with 4:30 remaining.
San Antonio responded as it has throughout its winning streak, using player and ball movement to close the quarter on a 16-6 run following Thompson's 3.
"They're pros," Popovich said. "They just kept playing. They tried to be solid. There's going to be runs in a 48-minute NBA game. With all the possessions, you're not going (to) usually keep a lead like that. (The Warriors) made a run, and we responded well."
San Antonio has not lost at home to Golden State since a 108-94 defeat on Feb. 14, 1997. ... Spurs F Matt Bonner (right calf strain), F Austin Daye (mild left lat strain) and C Aron Baynes (fractured right rib) did not play, leaving the Spurs with only Duncan, Tiago Splitter and Ayres standing 6-foot-9 or taller. Popovich is unsure when Bonner will return.
SAN ANTONIO, TX - April 2: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball against the San Antonio...
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MVP: With several Warriors big men injured and Jermaine O'Neal limited to less than five minutes of action, Tim Duncan went to work early and started the San Antonio trend of inside scoring. Duncan finished with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting and eight rebounds.
Turning point: After the Warriors cut the Spurs' 19-point lead to seven in the third quarter, the Spurs unloaded a 20-2 run to go up 25 and end any hope for a Golden State comeback.
X factor: Interior defense. San Antonio hit just 4-of-19 3-pointers, but got 52 points in the paint and shot nearly 63 percent from 2-point range against a Warriors defense missing any and all rim protectors.
Next 5 Games
The Spurs are 1 of 18 teams to lose a Game 7 in the NBA Finals. San Antonio's .784 win percentage this season would be the best by a team in the season following a Game 7 NBA Finals loss.
The Spurs have won 18 straight games, tied for the 7th-longest single-season streak in NBA history. Of the 9 previous teams to win at least 18 straight games during a single season, 6 went on to win the title - including the Heat last season.[+]
Longest Single-Season Win Streaks - NBA History
From Elias: The Spurs clinch the Southwest division title with a win OR a Rockets loss tonight. Gregg Popovich has 11 division titles, 3rd most in NBA history. It would be San Antonio's 4th consecutive.[+]
Most Division Titles - NBA History
San Antonio's 19-game win streak is thanks in part to the return of Kawhi Leonard, who missed 14 games in January and February with a broken finger. His 1st game back was February 26th, the start of this 19-game run, and the Spurs defense has really benefited in that time. When he's on the floor, opponents are scoring under 91 points per 48 minutes, but when he's on the bench, that jumps to over 100.[+]
Spurs With Kawhi Leonard On/Off Court - During 19-Game Win Streak Per 48 Min.
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