SAN ANTONIO (AP)—The San Antonio Spurs picked up at home where they left off on the road.
The victory was the ninth in a row for the Spurs, who won the final eight games of a nine-game road trip that concluded Sunday at Sacramento.
“I’m happy the team kept their focus,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “I’m sure they felt good about the road trip, but there’s a lot of games to play and things to improve on to be ready down the stretch.”
“We wanted to take control early,” said Duncan, who attempted only four field goals, making two. “I thought we did a better job in the second quarter of taking care of the ball, taking shots and cutting down on offensive rebounds. We got a lead and took it from there.”
San Antonio broke open a close game by starting the second quarter with a 15-0 run to take a 36-22 lead on Bowen’s layup with 7:01 to play. The Spurs outscored Denver 30-12 in the quarter and led 51-34 at halftime behind 10 points by Bowen and nine by Jackson.
“The 15-0 run that they had just really took the heart out of a young basketball team,” Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik said. “We really played hard, but the run that they had and the experience that they showed just really took the heart out of the game.”
San Antonio’s nine-game winning streak is one of the longest in franchise history, but the Spurs still have a long way to go to match the 15-game streak the team had at the end of the 1995-96 season.
“This is exciting,” said Jackson, who shot 6-for-10 from the field and added four steals. “It is just good that we got a great group of young guys. I think Pop’s (Popovich) definitely happy with the way we continue to fight, continue to get leads. It feels good to get this win and get us ready for Thursday.”
San Antonio stretched its advantage to 29 points, 76-47 on a driving layup by Speedy Claxton with 1:52 to play in the third quarter.
The Spurs led 77-51 after three quarters and rested their starters throughout the fourth period.
“They really are a hot team right now,” Denver guard Chris Whitney said. “To have a road trip they had really shows how good of a team they are. We can learn a lot from a team like this and I think we can build off of the lessons we learned tonight. They are a team that is just really jelling and are together. They are a very good basketball team.”
San Antonio, which next plays at Dallas on Thursday, shot 49.3 percent from the field.
“Our next two games are huge for us,” Duncan said. “Facing Dallas and then Indiana coming in here. “It’s important for us to continue to play hardand just push the momentum in our favor.”
San Antonio improved to 3-1 this season versus Denver. … The Spurs had to vacate the SBC Center for so long because of the San Antonio Stock and Rodeo Show, which concluded on Sunday. … San Antonio improved to 20-4 at home. … With the win, San Antonio improved to 18-3 in 2003, the NBA’s best record in the new year. … The Spurs are 7-0 in February. … San Antonio, which leads the NBA in blocked shots with 369, had five more against the Nuggets. … Duncan posted his 38th double-double of the season. … Denver lost its 13th straight road game and is just 3-25 on the road this season. …When an opponent scores 83 or more points, the Nuggets are 1-37.