Slowly and always a bit under the radar, the San Antonio Spurs are amassing the longest winning streak we’ve seen this season after a 108-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets, getting the best we’ve seen out of Tim Duncan in a while, joined by the usual partners in crime Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, serving as assistant in this case.
Duncan finished with 29 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists. Should it be surprising? Not really, and yet there’s something quite mesmerizing seeing the 16 year veteran pull off another great game. Maybe because we’ve seen a bit less of those this season, as the Spurs gravitate more and more towards letting someone other than their older big three (with some age differences within the trio) take the scoring reins.
This was only the second 20+ points game for Duncan this month, and his highest scoring game since early February when he scored 31 points against the Washington Wizards. Guarded by Timofey Mozgov or anyone else the Nuggets tried sending on him proved to be no problem for the big man, and even when he couldn’t find a decent angle for a shot he liked, the Nuggets defense had a hard time keeping up with the Spurs’ movement, only making the game a little bit close thanks to some complacency from the Spurs in the second half.
They made it competitive. They played with a lot of energy. We missed a lot of little stuff; easy layups that we always make and they got back in the game. It happens sometimes. We’re not going to beat everybody by 20. We played a good half, we played a bad half. The NBA is a 48-minute game and you’ve got to keep playing.
Sometimes, especially when you’re this good and your specific opponent is well, not, one half is enough. Aaron Brooks having another big game with 25 points, joined by Kenneth Faried with 24, was simply not enough for a team that can no longer mathematically makes the playoffs.
And just when the Spurs thought the injury problems were over (which they have been for almost two months): Danny Green, who scored 16 points in the first half with his usual barrage of 3-pointers was seen with a walking boot at the end of the game, with Popovich trying to guess it was plantar fasciitis.
The one thing the Spurs are worried about? That this is their peak, and there’s something of a regress coming just with the playoffs hitting. But with home advantage being extremely important considering their problems with the Oklahoma City Thunder this season, it’s not time to let up and rest players even more than what we’re sued to see from this team.
Three more Spurs players finished in double figures: Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter, each scoring 10 points. Tim Duncan scoring a lot of points usually means that the Spurs’ passing game wasn’t as brilliant as always. You know the Spurs were at their best when his scoring in the inside is barely needed.