(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Antonio Spurs are peaking at the right time and will try to continue that momentum Friday night at the AT&T Center versus the Denver Nuggets.
The Spurs have won five straight and eight of nine. San Antonio has taken five in a row as a host and is back in Alamo City for two straight after a 2-0 road trip.
The Spurs beat the Miami Heat on Tuesday, then clinched their 18th consecutive playoff appearance with a 103-91 victory over the Orlando Magic.
Aron Baynes scored a career-high 18 points to lead the Spurs. Manu Ginobili and Marco Belinelli added 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the Spurs, who got 69 points from their bench. Boris Diaw had 11 points and Kawhi Leonard contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.
"It's not that we are switching it on now," Ginobili said. "We tried to get it together early, but we just couldn't, whether it was from injuries or just poor play.
"The main concern right now is just to play well. We've had a lot of ups and downs during the season and in the last few weeks except for (a loss to) New York we've been pretty steady. That's a good sign."
Trailing 19-16, the Spurs scored the final seven points of the first quarter to take the lead for good. he Spurs led by as many as 25 in the second half, cruising to the winner's circle.
San Antonio is mired in a dog fight for playoff positioning. They are fifth percentage points behind the Los Angeles Clippers, but percentage points ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland will still host a first-round series if it wins the Northwest Division.
The Spurs host the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.
The Nuggets have dropped two in a row and three of their last four. They've lost five of their previous six road contests, including a 98-84 setback on Wednesday to the Utah Jazz.
Kenneth Faried had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the well-rested Nuggets, who fell to 0-2 on a three-game road trip that began with a 120-114 loss to Portland on Saturday. Ty Lawson added 15 points and Will Barton scored 13 in the loss.
The Jazz used a 14-2 run in the second quarter to build a seven-point lead. Trey Burke made consecutive 3s and scored the first eight points in the flurry and Utah later stretched its advantage to 13 before going into halftime with a 54-42 lead.
Nuggets interim coach Melvin Hunt blamed himself for his team's lackluster second quarter.
"Our energy changed," he said. "I made some tough substitutions. I think I put some funky lineups in. It probably cost us a little bit of rhythm."
Denver returns to the Rocky Mountains on Saturday to host the Los Angeles Clippers. The Nuggets will be home for four straight with the Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings on the horizon.
The Spurs will go for the season sweep for the second consecutive season.