SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Spurs were struggling to keep up with the young, athletic Atlanta Hawks on their home court. Trying to find the winning edge, they looked no further than the player that has carried them the past 17 years.
And he came through once again.
Forward Tim Duncan hit the game-winning basket with four-10ths of a second to go, giving San Antonio a 102-100 win over Atlanta on Monday night.
"It was another great play call by coach Pop (coach Gregg Popovich)," Duncan said on his final 16-foot jump shot that swished in. "(Marco) Belinelli set a really good screen that created some distance and I just fired and hoped for the best."
They got the best as Duncan, 37, turned in a vintage performance that included 23 points and 21 rebounds.
Forward Boris Diaw scored 16 points, guard Tony Parker had 15, Belinelli contributed 13 and center Tiago Splitter added 11 to help the Spurs (15-3) earn their 16th consecutive victory over the Hawks in San Antonio. The last time Atlanta won in the Alamo City was Feb. 15, 1997.
"It is important to win games we are not suppose to lose,' Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. "In the past few years, we have not given away too many games where we are not supposed to lose."
The Hawks (9-10) worked hard to get first-year head coach Mike Budenholzer the win. It was his first trip back to San Antonio, where he spent 19 years, first as a video coordinator and as Popovich's lead assistant.
Guard Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 19 points. Center Al Horford added 18, while forward Demarre Carroll had 17 and guard Lou Williams had 10. Forward Paul Millsap added 15 points and 14 rebounds.
The game featured 17 ties and 20 lead changes. The last tie came after a Teague 3-pointer with four seconds left.
"It was a heck of an NBA basketball game,' Budenholzer stated. "San Antonio tests you in a lot of different ways. They test you on both ends of the court. We all would have liked to find a way to get it done, but we didn't."
The Hawks were down by four when Milsap nailed a 3-pointer with 17 seconds to go, cutting the Spurs' advantage to 98-97. Ginobili (10 points) made two free throws before Teague tied the game.
After Duncan scored to break the tie, Millsap missed on Atlanta's last attempt.
"It was a dagger," Atlanta guard Lou Williams said on Duncan's last shot. "He made a big shot after Jeff (Teague) makes a big shot. We felt like we had an opportunity to try and take them into overtime. But he's (Duncan) a future Hall of Famer; he gets paid a lot of money to make the shots that he makes. That was one and it hurt us tonight."
Atlanta pressured the veteran Spurs team, forcing 19 turnovers and getting 23 points off them.
The Hawks built a 71-63 lead in the third quarter on guard Shelvin Mack's 3-pointer with 1:44 remaining.
San Antonio answered with a 10-0 run to end the quarter, capped by Ginobili's 3-pointer that made it 73-71. The Spurs never would trail from that point.
A close first half featured 14 lead changes, with the final one coming on Duncan's bank shot with six seconds left that gave the Spurs a 50-49 halftime lead.
NOTES: Atlanta G Kyle Korver, who has a streak of 88 consecutive games with a 3-pointer, which is second all-time in the NBA, did not make the trip. This is his fourth game missed because of a rib contusion. ... Atlanta has deep ties with the Spurs organization. Hawks GM Danny Ferry was a player and worked in the San Antonio front office. Also, Atlanta assistant coaches Quinn Snyder and Taylor Jenkins both held the head coach position for the Austin Toros, San Antonio's NBA D-League affiliate. ... On Saturday night, the Spurs gave up a season-high 112 points to the Houston Rockets. The visiting teams averaged 89.3 points a game in San Antonio's seven previous home games. ... The San Antonio Spurs will travel to Mexico City after Monday's game. They will face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night in their first-ever regular-season game in Mexico.