Duncan leads short-handed Spurs over Hawks, 99-97
Posted at: 04/07/2013 2:05 PM
(AP) SAN ANTONIO - Tim Duncan had 31 points and 14 rebounds to help the short-handed San Antonio Spurs escape with a 99-97 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.
Kawhi Leonard added 23 points and DeJuan Blair had 11 for San Antonio, which clinched the Southwest Division title for the third straight year and 19th time in franchise history.
The Spurs were without Tony Parker (neck) and Manu Ginobili (hamstring strain), who sat out the game with injuries. They also lost Boris Diaw, who left midway through the second quarter with back spasms.
John Jenkins had 23 points and Mike Scott added 22 for Atlanta, which has lost three straight. Both were career highs for the rookie guards. Ivan Johnson added 14 points, Shelvin Mack had 12, and Johan Petro had 11 points and 15 rebounds.
San Antonio was 3 for 15 on 3 pointers, but still managed to win its 15th straight at home against Atlanta.
Hawks coach Larry Drew elected not to play Al Horford, Kyle Korver, Josh Smith and Devin Harris in the second game of a back-to-back.
Not that they would receive any sympathy from the Spurs.
Parker left two minutes into the fourth quarter of San Antonio’s 100-88 loss at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night after experiencing pain in his left shin. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was "very concerned" about Parker’s injury, saying he believed it could be tendinitis, but team officials said his absence Saturday was due to his neck.
Ginobili missed his fifth straight game after straining his right hamstring in the first quarter of San Antonio’s 104-102 home victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on March 29.
Nando De Colo, a 25-year-old rookie from France, had six points, seven rebounds and three assists while playing 22 minutes in his fifth career start.
Duncan played limited minutes early, but finished with 32 as the Spurs needed him down the stretch.
He was limited to eight minutes in the first quarter, grabbing five rebounds and scoring four points on 3-for-5 shooting. He did not re-enter until 7 minutes remained in the half, but had an immediate impact. Duncan had 12 points, three rebounds, three blocks and two assists as the Spurs closed the half on a 22-12 run.
Leonard drove the length of the court in 3.3 seconds for a layup to give San Antonio a 51-40 lead at the break.
NOTES: Horford did not play due to a coach’s decision. He had 18 points and 10 rebounds in 39 minutes during the Hawks’ 101-90 loss to Philadelphia on Friday. . San Antonio C Aron Baynes was assigned to the team’s developmental league team, the Austin Toros, on Friday. . Hawks G Devin Harris (sore left foot), C Zaza Pachulia (sore right Achilles) and G Lou Williams (torn ACL, right knee) missed the game with injuries.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)