The Spurs have won four consecutive games since an 83-77 home loss to Philadelphia on Jan. 3 snapped the longest win streak in the NBA this season at 13 games.
San Antonio’s league-leading defense was strong as usual, holding the 76ers to 42 percent shooting, but the Spurs were outrebounded 47-34 and shot just 38.8 percent from the field. The Spurs narrowly avoided defeat on Saturday as Hedo Turkoglu hit a 3-pointer with two-tenths of a second remaining to force overtime before making two baskets in the extra period to lead San Antonio to an 89-88 win over the Indiana Pacers.
Tim Duncan had 30 points and 15 rebounds for his second 30-point performance during the current streak and 30th double-double in 33 games this season. He scored 30 in a 98-74 win over Denver on Jan. 5 to rebound from an 11-point performance in the loss to the Sixers.
The Spurs, allowing just 82.5 points per game, gave up 80 points for only the fifth time in their last 15 outings against the Pacers.
“It was like an Ali-Frazier matchup,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, whose team improved to 16-4 at SBC Center. “They are the best team we’ve played.”
Point guard Charlie Ward, who signed with San Antonio on Thursday, had three rebounds and three assists in his first 11 minutes with the Spurs.
“It was exciting,” said Ward, who began the season with the New York Knicks. “It was also good to be a winner.”
The Spurs play four of their next five on the road, where they’ve won eight straight and haven’t lost since Dec. 1. San Antonio’s lone home game over the next week is Wednesday against Minnesota, which trails the first-place Spurs by one game in the Midwest Division.
The Hawks return home following a 2-4 road trip in which they were outscored by 83 points in the final three games.
“Right now, we’re frustrated. We’ve been on the road a long time,” Atlanta coach Terry Stotts said. “They played well and I think we hit a wall.”
Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Dion Glover each scored 15 points against the Jazz while Stephen Jackson, who started for the Spurs last season during their title run, struggled with just four points after averaging 16.8 points over his previous six games.
The Hawks play 15 of their next 18 games at home, where they are 5-10 this season.
“When things are this bad, you have to look at yourself as a team, and look at yourself as an individual. We need to realize we can do better and just commit to that,” Abdur-Rahim said.
STANDINGS (through Jan. 11): Spurs - 1st place, Midwest Division. Hawks - 8th place, 17 1/2 GB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Spurs - Duncan, 22 ppg and 12.8 rpg; Parker, 6.1 apg. Hawks - Abdur-Rahim, 19.4 ppg and 9.4 rpg; Terry, 4.9 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Spurs, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 21; Spurs, 114-75. At San Antonio, Duncan had 20 of the Spurs’ season-high 68 first-half points and finished with 25 while Jackson scored just eight against his former team.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Spurs - 10-7 on the road; Hawks - 5-10 at home.