SAN ANTONO — In Tim Duncan’s 17-year career, the forward never experienced a regular season winning streak like the San Antonio Spurs currently have going on.
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 Wednesday night.
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 season.
“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.
“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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