The San Antonio Spurs have won games in a variety of ways during their run of 12 straight victories.
They’ll likely need to lean on their defense as they try to match their longest winning streak in six years Saturday night in a visit to the Golden State Warriors.
San Antonio managed an ugly 99-79 victory in Sacramento on Friday night, but the 12th consecutive victory marked its longest winning streak since Nov. 1-24, 2010. Tim Duncan started 0 for 7 from the field and the Spurs (52-16) shot just 38.7 percent for the game, but relied on Marco Belinelli late as he scored 13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. Manu Ginobili also added 14 points off the bench and is shooting 52.1 percent during the winning streak.
It marked just the second time in the Spurs’ last 12 games they scored fewer than 103.
"It’s a great reminder that we can win with defense," said Tony Parker, who had 14 points. "It was not pretty. We were not shooting well. But sometimes you need to win those kind of games. We know in the playoffs, sometimes the ball doesn’t go in."
San Antonio – which last won 13 in a row Feb. 13-March 13, 2007 – continues to assert itself in the paint, where it outscored Sacramento 44-28. The Spurs are outrebounding opponents by 5.1 per game during their winning streak after averaging a plus-0.2 advantage in the previous 56 games.
The Warriors (44-26) have also played well of late, winning eight of 10 overall and nine of 11 at home. They’re two games ahead of Dallas and 1 1/2 games behind Portland for fifth place. Three games separate them from Houston for fourth and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Golden State moved 18 games above .500 on Thursday for the first time since the end of the 1993-94 season with a 115-110 home win over Milwaukee.
"You can take it for granted. There’s people that’s 19 years old that’s never seen this. That’s a wow moment," Jackson said. "It’s an incredible accomplishment, and we’ve still got a ways to go. But we’re going to park and enjoy it, take a deep breath, appreciate it and then continue to chase down our ultimate goals."
The Warriors were 43 of 80 from the field against the Bucks (53.8 percent), marking the fourth time in six games they shot at least 51.3 percent. Stephen Curry scored 31 points and added 11 assists. He’s averaging 29.5 points over his last four contests while going 17 of 33 from 3-point range and is also averaging 29.7 points in his last three matchups with San Antonio.
Klay Thompson also scored 29 versus Milwaukee, but is averaging just 14.9 points and shooting 38.5 percent in his last seven games against the Spurs.
The Spurs won two meetings already this season, both by two points. Curry sat out a 76-74 loss at San Antonio on Nov. 8 with a sprained ankle, while Tiago Splitter’s tip-in with two seconds left made the difference in a 104-102 victory Dec. 19.
San Antonio has won 19 of the last 21 meetings, though the two losses both came last season.