Duncan made all four of his fourth-quarter shots and nearly finished with a triple-double to lead the Spurs to a 95-90 victory Friday night over the Toronto Raptors.
Duncan scored nine of his 27 points in the final period, and added 10 rebounds and eight assists to help the Spurs beat a team that entered with a 6-20 record.
“We’re not playing well,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “It’s a miracle we have the best record in the West.”
In their previous two home games, the Spurs needed overtime to beat Golden State and squeaked out a one-point win over Sacramento. They go back on the road Sunday to visit Detroit in a matchup between the teams that met in last season’s NBA Finals.
Though his team held its own against one of the league’s best, it was just another loss to Toronto coach Sam Mitchell.
“In the NBA there are no moral victories,” he said. “There have been lots of games where we’ve been playing well enough to win. Now we just have to win them.”
A driving layup by Jalen Rose pulled the Raptors within 73-72 with about 10 minutes remaining in the game. The Spurs then went on a 10-1 run, keyed by a 3-pointer and a long jumper by Nick Van Exel, to build an 83-73 advantage.
Duncan hit a short jump hook during the run, and he capped it by wheeling around Chris Bosh on the baseline and making a lunging left-handed shot.
“We were able to grind it out and find a way to get a win down the stretch,” Duncan said. “I was able to get some shots to go, and when they doubled, I was able to find my teammates.”
The Raptors, who had won three straight road games, came back to trim the difference to 93-90 on a corner 3-pointer by Rose with 15 seconds left.
“We didn’t quite find that killer instinct,” Bosh said. “We gave ourselves a chance late and we played smart, just some little things cost us this one.”
Rose led Toronto with 19 points, 11 in the fourth. Bosh had 18, Mike James 14 and Bonner 13.
Up 22-16 after one, the Spurs expanded their lead to 31-21 on a short floater by Van Exel early in the second. Toronto then went on a 12-6 run, capped by a long jumper by Bonner, to cut the difference to four points with about 4 minutes left in the quarter.
A 3-pointer by Brent Barry gave San Antonio a 47-39 lead with 1:06 remaining in the half, but Bonner converted a four-point play after being fouled by Duncan on a 3-pointer and James hit a 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left to make it 49-46 at halftime.
Duncan had 14 points in the half on 7-for-9 shooting, while Bonner, averaging six points a game, scored 11 points in the second quarter.
Manu Ginobili missed his seventh straight game with a sprained right foot. … Finley, averaging 15 points since replacing Ginobili in the starting lineup, shot 3-for-12 for nine points. … San Antonio scored 50 points in the paint, five more than its league-leading average. … Toronto is 1-11 against Western Conference teams this season. … The Raptors’ 3-pointer streak grew to 558 consecutive games, best in the NBA, when Bonner hit the team’s first in the second quarter. They finished with five.