Duncan leads Spurs past Warriors

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Tim Duncan isn’t
surprised by the problems San Antonio has had on the road this season.
The Spurs’ 11-time All-Star just decided to do something about it.

Duncan had 27 points and 15 rebounds,
and San Antonio won for just the third time away from home this season,
beating the Golden State Warriors 103-91 on Wednesday night.

“We’re not playing well at all
anywhere, whether it be on the road or at home,” Duncan said. “We just
haven’t been playing good basketball. We’re trying to turn that corner
and learn from our mistakes and be better about it.”

San Antonio had lost six of its first
eight games away from the AT&T Center before shutting down Golden
State in the second half.

The Spurs did it behind Duncan and
Richard Jefferson, who is still adjusting to his new teammates after
spending last season in Milwaukee. Jefferson scored 17 points, 14 in
the second half.

Keith Bogans matched his season high
with 13 points and Tony Parker had 12 points and eight rebounds for the
Spurs, who beat Golden State for a seventh straight time.

“Our defense in the second half is
what fueled us to get the win,” said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich,
who needs one victory to become the 17th coach in NBA history to reach
700 wins. “That was the difference in the game. We changed our
pick-and-roll defense and it worked pretty well.”

Monta Ellis scored 35 points and
Corey Maggette added 21 for injury-riddled Golden State, which played
without its top three centers in coach Don Nelson’s return to the
bench. The Warriors have lost four straight and 10 of 12.

“We can’t make excuses for ourselves,” Ellis said. “We did everything we could possibly do, but we didn’t hit enough shots.”

Nelson felt Golden State suffered mental lapses while trying to adjust to his play-calling.

“I’ve been gone for some time (and)
I think my play-calling is a bit different,” he said. “I expect them to
know the play calls and be where they’re supposed to be, and that
didn’t happen sometimes. I don’t think we were mentally sharp at

Popovich felt the same way about his team in the first half.

Duncan had only seven points by
halftime, when the Spurs were content shooting from the perimeter
rather than working the ball down low to their perennial All-Star

That changed in the third quarter,
when Duncan scored 14 points despite the Warriors double-teaming him in
the paint. At one point Duncan scored on a spin move past Vladimir
Radmanovic, then made a short layup over Anthony Randolph the next time
down the court.

Duncan later scored five straight points to give the Spurs a 14-point lead in the third.

After Golden State pulled within
93-86 late in the fourth quarter, Duncan scored on back-to-back
possessions – including a dunk over Randolph – to put San Antonio
comfortably ahead.

That was in sharp contrast to
Tuesday, when the Spurs fell behind early to Phoenix and never caught
up, scoring only 20 points in the fourth quarter of a 114-106 loss.

“It’s always a step in the right
direction but you can’t say we turned the corner yet until we start
beating some of the elite teams,” Duncan said. “It’s a very good win
against a young team that really brings a different type of game to the

The Warriors, who were already
without starting center Andris Biedrins (lower back strain) and backup
Ronny Turiaf (left knee), learned before the game that Mikki Moore will
be out indefinitely after opting to have surgery to remove bone spurs
in his right heel.

That left Golden State with just
nine players in uniform and a coach still recovering from pneumonia.
Don Nelson did not accompany the Warriors on their most recent road
trip but was back on the bench against the Spurs.

“All better, 100 percent,” Nelson
said. “A couple of days into the road trip I started feeling better,
but it was good that I took the extra time (off).”

It didn’t get any easier for the
Warriors when rookie guard Stephen Curry picked up three fouls in the
first quarter and a fourth two minutes into the second.

Ellis, however, kept Golden State close in the first half until Duncan took over in the third quarter.

San Antonio led by nine early in the
second quarter, but Ellis scored 11 points during an 18-4 run that gave
Golden State a 45-40 lead. The Spurs stopped the slide briefly but
Maggette and C.J. Watson both scored in the final 75 seconds to help
the Warriors take a 49-47 lead into halftime.

NOTES: The Spurs improved to 40-7
against the Warriors since drafting Duncan in 1997. … Ellis has
scored 30 or more points in seven of his last 14 games. … Radmanovic
was 0-for-8 from the field.

Updated December 17, 2009