WASHINGTON (AP) After he reached his season-high 40th minute, after he scored his season-high 31st point, Tim Duncan fouled out in the second overtime, joining Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard in a talent-laden quartet not available for the final 4:13 of San Antonio’s exhausting game at Washington.
The leftovers who finished the job did Gregg Popovich mighty proud, not an easy accomplishment for a coach who has just about seen it all.
Patty Mills scored 11 of his season-high 23 points in the two overtimes Wednesday night, helping the Spurs beat the Washington Wizards 125-118 for an NBA-high 16th time in a row, going deep into the well to maintain a streak that’s more than eight years old.
”That’s one of the finest wins I’ve ever been associated with, and I’m saying that truthfully,” said Popovich, who has led the Spurs to four NBA titles. ”For these guys, I couldn’t be prouder of what they did. With Kawhi and Manu and Tony not out there, I thought the bench guys really stepped up.”
Duncan also had 11 rebounds, and Danny Green added 22 points, but Parker left at halftime with tightness in his lower back and did not return. The Spurs, 2-0 in the early days of their nine-game rodeo road trip, already were without Ginobili (tight left hamstring) and Leonard (broken left hand).
Popovich said Parker won’t play Thursday against Brooklyn. Asked if Duncan will be available, the coach joked that he’s expecting 48 minutes from the 37-year-old forward.
”I am absolutely up for that,” Duncan deadpanned. ”Sounds like fun.”
Washington hasn’t beaten San Antonio since a 110-95 win on Nov. 12, 2005. The Spurs’ win moved them ahead of Miami’s 15-game domination of Charlotte for the longest current team-vs.-team streak in the league.
”We really thought that we were gonna break the history today and finally beat them after nine years,” Wizards center Marcin Gortat said. ”But I guess we got to wait another six months.”
John Wall scored 29 points, and Bradley Beal had 19 for the Wizards, who were trying to shatter their second longstanding barrier in a week. On Monday, they beat the Portland Trail Blazers to move above .500 for the first time since 2009.
Beal was evaluated for a concussion during the game but was allowed to return. However, he didn’t play in either overtime because of an ongoing minutes restriction stemming from a left leg injury.
The Spurs trailed by as many as 17 in the first half, and Popovich told his team he was going to pull the plug on the starters if there wasn’t a quick rally in the third quarter. Duncan obliged by scoring 14 of his team’s first 21 points after the break.
Duncan also hit a tough 14-foot fadeaway late in the first overtime, but he fouled out with 4:13 remaining in the second OT.
”That was an absolutely awful call,” Duncan said. ”He had my wrist, he had my arm. It’s a tough position to be in. The official made the call, but it was the wrong call. … With all the effort we put in to kind of get back to that point, I want to be out there with those guys.”
With Duncan on the bench, Green hit a 3-pointer to give the Spurs a 122-117 lead with 1:16 to go. The Wizards went 0 for 11 from the field in the second extra period. The Spurs finished the game with a lineup of Green, Mills, Cory Joseph, Tiago Splitter and Marco Belinelli.
The Spurs were set to win in the first overtime, but they blew a seven-point lead. Wall scored six points in the final 10.2 seconds, including a layup after a steal of an inbounds pass to force another five minutes of basketball.
”John came up with three plays to get us to another overtime,” Wizards forward Trevor Ariza said, ”and we laid an egg in the second overtime.”
NOTES: As a student of Russian culture, Popovich offered some thoughts on the Winter Olympics in Sochi. ”One would wonder with everything that’s going on why it would be put in a dangerous spot, when you think about the Caucasus and that area and what’s going on,” he said. ”At the time when the Olympics were won it wasn’t maybe as much in the forefront in everybody’s mind. Since that time a lot of things have happened, and you could almost make the case of `Where is it not dangerous in the world?”’ … Popovich said his wife will make him watch figure skating during the Olympics. ”Very honestly when they fall I feel awful for them,” he said. ”Just like somebody missing two free throws at the end of a basketball game and they go home and want to jump off a building. … I don’t care what country it is, it just drives me crazy so I can’t watch. I turn away like it’s a horror movie.”
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