DENVER — Guard Marco Belinelli scored 27 points, forward Tim Duncan had 20 and the San Antonio Spurs extended their winning streak to 16 with a 133-102 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.
The Spurs’ streak is the second longest in franchise history during the regular season. They won 17 straight in 1995-96.
Two years ago, San Antonio won the last 10 of the regular season and the first 10 of the playoffs before being eliminated by Oklahoma City in the Western Conference finals.
The Spurs’ last loss before they started the current streak came Feb. 21 in Phoenix at the end of a nine-game road trip.
Forward Kenneth Faried had 18 points and 13 rebounds and guard Randy Foye scored 20 points for Denver, which has lost four of its last five.
The loss also guaranteed the Nuggets their first non-winning season in 11 years.
The Spurs are trying to maintain the No. 1 overall seed for the playoffs, although coach Gregg Popovich downplayed the importance of having home-court advantage throughout the postseason.
“It’s not crucial,” he said before tipoff. “No one would give it away if it’s there, but I’m not going to overplay people to get it. Teams that win championships win on the road.”
Popovich backed up his words by sitting guard Danny Green against Denver. Green, who is suffering from inflammation in his right foot, scored 16 points in a win over the Nuggets on Wednesday.
Denver, in contrast to the white-hot Spurs, is limping to the end of the season — literally. The Nuggets had only 10 healthy players for Friday’s game, their first after being eliminated from the postseason for the first time since 2002-03.
The Spurs did not miss Green — at least for this night. Belinelli moved into the starting lineup and scored 14 points in the first quarter. He hit four 3-pointers in the final 2:51 of the quarter as San Antonio went on a 17-3 win to take a 31-23 lead into the second quarter.
He had 20 points at halftime when the Spurs led 62-43 on 53 percent shooting from the field.
San Antonio increased the lead to 27 in the third quarter before sitting most of its starters for a bulk of the fourth quarter. Still, the Spurs managed to reach a season high in points and shoot 56 percent from the field for the game while playing reserves.
NOTES: San Antonio C Tim Duncan played in his 1,246th NBA game on Friday night. He moved past Lakers G Kobe Bryant for fourth among players to play that many games with one team. He trails former Celtics great John Havlicek by 24 games for third place. John Stockton tops the list with 1,504 games, all with Utah. … Nuggets F Wilson Chandler sat out his fifth game in the last sixth with a left hip injury. He will consult with a doctor to determine whether he should be shut down for the final nine games of the season. … Spurs F/C Matt Bonner did not make the one-game road trip because of a right calf strain. He has missed five of his last six games because of the injury.
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