Furious Rally Falls Short Against Spurs
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Tim Duncan had 29 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, and the San Antonio Spurs overcame a fourth-quarter collapse to beat the Denver Nuggets 108-103 Wednesday night for their 15th straight victory.
Danny Green scored 16 points before leaving with a foot injury early in the second half. Tiago Splitter, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili had 10 points apiece for San Antonio (55-16), which maintained the league’s best record.
Aaron Brooks scored 25 points and Kenneth Faried had 24 points, including 15 points in a frenzied final quarter for Denver. Timofey Mozgov added 14 points and 11 rebounds and Quincy Miller had 11 points.
After leading by as many as 24 points and by 20 midway through the third quarter, San Antonio needed Duncan’s late heroics to preserve its win streak.
Denver went on a 34-20 run in the final 11 minutes.
Duncan scored all but one of the Spurs’ final seven points, capping it with an off-balance jumper off the glass for a 107-99 lead. The heavily contested shot sealed the win and led Nuggets coach Brian Shaw to turn and smile at Spurs counterpart Gregg Popovich, who shook his head as well.
The Nuggets opened at a frenetic pace and the Spurs were more than willing to play along. The teams combined for 24 shots in the opening six minutes.
San Antonio whipped the ball around the court and came off screens for cleaner looks, collecting six assists while going 7 for 10 from the field.
Green and Kawhi Leonard benefited the most from the fast start, going a combined 4 for 5 on 3-pointers. Green finished with 10 points before leaving the game early in the second half after spraining his right mid-foot.
Leonard got the Spurs started by swatting Faried’s jumper from behind off the opening tip and then hitting a 3-pointer and 19-footer to give San Antonio a 7-4 lead.
Green then hit three consecutive 3-pointers to extend the advantage to 16-10 with 8 minutes remaining in the first quarter. Green ended the run by draining a closely contested 3 on Randy Foye after screaming for the ball as Duncan brought it up court off a rebound.
San Antonio was just as active on defense. They had three blocks, two steals and nine defensive rebounds.
Green’s 3-pointer at the buzzer was his fifth of the half, giving San Antonio its largest lead of opening 24 minutes at 63-43.
NOTES: Spurs F Austin Daye has become an overnight fan favorite, receiving an ovation second only to Ginobili’s upon entering with 29.5 seconds remaining in the first quarter. After averaging just 2.3 minutes in four games since being acquired from Toronto, Daye scored a game-high 22 points in 29 minutes in a 113-91 victory over Philadelphia on Monday. . Spurs F Matt Bonner (right calf strain) missed his second straight game and his ninth due to injury this season. He has not played in five other games due to coach’s decision. San Antonio is undefeated when Bonner does not play due to injury. . After missing the past few games, WNBA veteran Becky Hammon returned to her familiar seat behind the Spurs bench. Hammon, the San Antonio Stars point guard, has spent the season being mentored by the Spurs’ coaching staff.
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