|San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan (21) works against Golden State Warriors' Andris Biedrins, of Latvia, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Jan. 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)|
After Duncan scare, Spurs top Warriors 113-102
Duncan went down with a left knee injury in the second quarter that had the entire Spurs bench stunned and shaken. He returned to finish with 16 points and seven rebounds, helping San Antonio rebound from a loss to New Orleans and calm any nerves about what initially appeared to be a serious fall.
Tony Parker added 18 points and 11 assists, Antonio McDyess had 14 points and 10 rebounds and the NBA-best Spurs (38-7) cruised to an otherwise stress-free victory that clinched the Western Conference's best record through games of Feb. 6. That means Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will coach the West squad in the All-Star game Feb. 20 at Los Angeles.
David Lee had a season-high 31 points to go with 12 rebounds, and Monta Ellis scored 25 for a Warriors team hoping to get into the playoff picture during a huge homestand. Instead, the franchise that knows all about postseason play dominated as it has all season.
The bigger victory for the Spurs might be that they left town with their team intact.
Duncan gave his teammates a scare when he was setting a pick on Acie Law, turned to roll to the basket and his left knee appeared to buckle slightly. Duncan fell to the floor, cringing for about a minute while he held his knee.
The entire Spurs bench, including Popovich, came onto the floor to check on the 12-time All-Star. Duncan had to be helped up but eventually walked to the locker room under his own power.
Apparently, he wasn't hurt too badly.
Duncan, diagnosed with a hyperflexed left knee, returned to start the third quarter and San Antonio found its spark. Duncan, Ginobili and Parker -- the core of all those championship teams -- helped San Antonio build an 83-70 lead.
Duncan played his usual minutes and showed no signs of being hobbled.
The Spurs had won eight in a row until losing to the Hornets in their previous game. San Antonio also has had winning streaks of 12 and 10 games this season.
Notes: Spurs F Matt Bonner missed his fifth consecutive game with a bone bruise on his right knee. Popovich said there is no structural damage but the team is somewhat concerned that it hasn't improved. "It's not getting better a lick," Popovich said. ... The Warriors began an eight-game homestand, the longest since they played eight in a row in the 1964-65 season. Seven of those games were played in San Francisco, and the other in San Jose. The Warriors also are in the middle of playing 13 of 14 at home.