Duncan delivers again for Spurs
Sacramento, CA – Tim Duncan seems to have found the fountain of youth.
The 36-year old big man poured in a game-high 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting and pulled down 12 rebounds, leading the San Antonio Spurs to a 97-86 win over the Sacramento Kings on Friday.
Duncan has posted double-doubles in four of his team's first six games this season. Patty Mills netted 18 points off the bench for the Spurs, who bounced back from a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
"He was real big; he helped us get this win," Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said of Mills. "We needed points from other players and Patty got it done for us."
Kawhi Leonard contributed 11 points and nine rebounds in the victory.
Jason Thompson scored 17 points to go with six rebounds, while Marcus Thornton donated 17 points for the Kings, who fell to 2-4 on the young season. DeMarcus Cousins added 14 points and nine boards and Tyreke Evans finished with 12 and six rebounds in the setback.
"I thought our guys played really hard," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "But, when you play a team like this, you have to be almost perfect. We had too many unfinished plays."
The game remained close throughout the first quarter, as neither side led by more than five, but the Kings netted five of the final seven points in the frame to lead 27-24 after the opening 12 minutes.
A Thornton layup early in the second quarter gave the Kings a 29-26 lead, but the Spurs roared back with a 17-4 outburst to go ahead 43-33 with 3:32 to play before halftime.
Thompson finished off the first half with a slam for Sacramento, but the Spurs held a comfortable 47-39 lead at the break.
Duncan put home 1-of-2 from the free throw line with 7:42 to play in the third, giving the Spurs a 58-47 lead, but Sacramento began a comeback effort.
Thompson netted 1-of-2 from the stripe at the other end, igniting the Kings on a 13-1 run to take a 60-59 lead with 2:49 left.
A Manu Ginobili layup gave the lead right back to the Spurs, 61-60, and they led 69-68 heading into the decisive final stanza.
Cousins put home a layup with 5:37 remaining, cutting the San Antonio lead to 79-76, but the Spurs pulled away from there as the Kings missed seven of their final 10 shots from the floor in defeat.
Sacramento fell to 0-4 this season when trailing at halftime ... Kings rookie Thomas Robinson served the first game of his two-game suspension after elbowing Detroit Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko in the head ... San Antonio has won nine consecutive games in Sacramento ... The Kings shot just 35.2 percent from the field.