San Antonio has lost two straight playing without Duncan and fellow All-Star Manu Ginobili. Duncan is out with a right ankle problem and Ginobili has a strained groin.
The Spurs have indicated that Duncan may be able to play Monday. Ginobili is expected to be out until Wednesday’s game with Minnesota.
San Antonio has lost two straight for only the third time this season. The Spurs have not dropped three straight.
Without Duncan and Ginobili, San Antonio opened a four-game homestand with a 90-87 loss to Denver on Saturday. The Spurs blew a nine-point lead with nine minutes left and allowed the Nuggets to score the game’s final 10 points.
“While Tim and Manu are out, we still have games to play,” San Antonio guard Devin Brown said. “We can’t let games like this slip away.”
Although San Antonio has dropped two straight, coach Gregg Popovich has been pleased with how his team has responded to playing without its two best players. San Antonio lost 107-101 at Phoenix on Wednesday before falling short against Denver.
“It was a good effort by everybody,” Popovich said. “The guys played hard enough to win the basketball game. I was proud of their effort and hustle all night. They did a great job.”
Smith earned some redemption by making three of four free throws in the final four seconds to seal the win. The rookie missed two of three at the line with the Hornets down by two points in the closing seconds of an 86-85 loss to New Jersey on Wednesday.
“During practice, a lot of people were going on and on about missing free throws,” Smith said. “Just coming in the game, knowing I’ve got to make my foul shots helped me.”
Smith averaged 16 points on the homestand for the Hornets. He is averaging 12.7 points in three games against the Spurs this season.
San Antonio has won the first three matchups by an average of 16.3 points.