DENVER -- As the winning streak climbs, so does the stress level for San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. At least, that was Tim Duncans assessment after the Spurs ran their streak to 16 straight by beating the Denver Nuggets 133-102 on Friday night. This is their longest regular-season win streak since reeling off 17 in a row from Feb. 29 to March 31, 1996. And Popovich seems to be growing more antsy with every victory. "Oh, very. Very, very, very. Very much," Duncan said. "Hes a teacher and wants to teach. He wants the good and the bad. Even through this streak, hes been on us a tremendous amount, making sure we dont rest on just the wins, but were learning from game to game." Popovich found a teaching moment in the third quarter with the game well in hand. His team relaxed on one possession and allowed an easy transition basket by Randy Foye. Popovich quickly called timeout and voiced his displeasure to his team. "Even as much as were up, he was still on us the entire game," Duncan said. Hard to find too much fault with the Spurs effort in this one. Marco Belinelli scored 27 points, Duncan had 20 and the Spurs scored a season high in points. San Antonio also maintained a three-game lead for the top seed in the Western Conference. Its a quick turnaround for the Spurs, who host New Orleans on Saturday. "This (winning streak) is great challenge," Duncan said. "Its a big challenge. People can get lackadaisical and look past certain games. Weve done a good job of not doing that." Foye scored 20 for a banged-up Nuggets squad that lost for the fourth time in five games. Wilson Chandler was out with a strained groin, while Timofey Mozgov and Kenneth Faried were hampered by an illness. Faried still finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds. "Theyre devastated, injury-wise," Popovich said. "Its not a fair deal." Still, a 31-point loss was hard for Nuggets coach Brian Shaw to absorb, even if he is missing quite a few starters to season-ending injuries. "That was an embarrassing loss," Shaw said. "Just from every standpoint of the game -- defensively, body language, energy, just embarrassing, and it starts with me, just doing whatever I need to do to get our guys prepared and to come out and give the kind of energy and effort we need, especially playing the top team in the league." Belinelli stepped into the starting lineup with Danny Green hobbled by an inflamed right foot and quickly found his rhythm. Belinelli scored 14 in the first quarter and finished 10 of 15 from the field. "We really love to move the ball together, thats why were winning together right now," Belinelli said. Popovich insisted before the game that hes not going to overextend his players to secure the No. 1 seed in the West. His goal is to keep them "as healthy and energetic as possible at this time of year." The veteran coach didnt have to worry about taxing his team too much in this one, building a 25-point lead midway through the third quarter and resting most of his starters for a majority of the fourth. All this winning so close to the playoffs is making Popovich a little anxious because, "maybe this comes too easy," he said. "Losing is not a bad thing at this point of the year." Trailing 20-14 in the first, the Spurs closed out the quarter on a 17-3 run. The Nuggets couldnt rally back into the game, like they did Wednesday in San Antonio when they trailed the Spurs by 24 only to make it close down the stretch, before falling 108-103. "We just let them do basically what they wanted to do," Foye said. "We had more fight on their court last game than we did on our court tonight. Thats unacceptable. We didnt bring it tonight and against a team like that if you dont bring it, its going to be a long night for you." NOTES: San Antonio kept Matt Bonner (strained calf) at home because, "he wasnt going to play anyway," Popovich said. ... The Spurs finished with 37 assists, including seven by C Tiago Splitter. ... Nuggets F Jan Vesely (bruised rib cage) was back on the court after missing two games. He finished with five points. ... Reserve G Evan Fournier had 15 points for the Nuggets. ... Denver trailed by as many as 35 points. Fake Jordan
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. The Montreal Canadiens goaltender has won three of his four games since returning from a lower-body injury that kept him out from the end of the Olympic break until March 15.SAN ANTONIO -- Faced with the possibility of having a second straight season end with a Game 7 loss, the San Antonio Spurs played with emotion and let Tony Parker have some fun. Parker scored 32 points and the San Antonio led by as many as 31 on its way to a 119-96 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, closing out a stressful first-round series Sunday in seven games. The finale featured Tim Duncan diving into Dallas bench to save a ball and the Spurs reserves continually on their feet to celebrate baskets. But no one had as much fun or hit the floor more than Parker. The All-Star point guard was 11 for 19 from the field and 10 for 13 on free throws as Dallas was unable to keep him from attacking the lane, despite a series of hard fouls. "I just knew that I had to be aggressive if we wanted to have a chance to win the game because of the strategy that the Mavericks chose," Parker said. "They just dared me to score." Manu Ginobili scored 20 points, Danny Green added 16 points and Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard had 15 points apiece for San Antonio. Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points and nine rebounds to lead Dallas. Last season ended for the Spurs with a Game 7 loss in the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. Facing a much earlier end, San Antonio rode a raucous home crowd and overwhelmed Dallas. San Antonio advances to face the fifth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers, who upset the Houston Rockets in a six-game series. The series opens Tuesday in San Antonio. The Spurs got off to a quick start as they had done at home all series, but the Mavericks were unable to respond as they did in winning Game 2 on the road. Leonards 16-foot jumper gave San Antonio an 18-7 lead 6 minutes into the game and the lead swelled to 29 with 2 minutes remaining in the first half. "We gave ourselves a chance but today we got hit by a tidal wave early," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "They had their best game today and we just werent able to do quite enough to stay in it early. "Its hard when you get hit with an onslaught early the way the guys did." Nowitzki struggled through much of the series, but the Mavericks pushed the Spurs to the brink of elimination behind strong post-season performances from Monta Ellis, Vince Carter, Devin Harris and DeJuan Blaiir.dddddddddddd "On the court what confounded us was that theyve got shooters all the way around," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "Dirk Nowitzki gets a crowd, if you double him you, you leave a lot of other open shooters. So we played him pretty much one-on-one, so we could stay at home a little bit better. That and the ability to shoot it; spread the floor, run the sets that Rick does and the speed of Harris and Ellis was tough for us to handle." Dallas also played a physical series. There were two technical fouls and two flagrant fouls in Game 7 and two more flagrants reversed upon review. Parker was assessed a technical with 31.6 second left in the first quarter after making a layup on and jawing with former teammate Blair as the two ran down the court. The two had been talking to each other all series and Parker was clearly frustrated at times with the hard fouls committed by Blair on his drives earlier in the series. But Parker said it was all in good fun. "I was just laughing with DeJuan," Parker said of the technical. "Thats why it was so funny to get a technical for that, because I was not even cursing at him. DeJuan played four years (for the Spurs). He lived for a year at my house. I love DeJuan." Blair was later assessed a flagrant foul for elbowing Ginobili in the face on a drive. After the foul, Blair stared down Popovich, who was screaming at officials over the severity of the foul. The flagrant foul energized the Spurs, who went on a 14-2 run to take a 51-27 lead with 8 minutes remaining in the first half. "Everybody was active and kind of focused," Duncan said. "We had very little mistakes." San Antonio never led by less than 14 points in the second half. NOTES: The Spurs were 7-0 in games decided by three points or less during the regular season but were 0-2 against Dallas in such games in their first-round series. . Sundays game between Dallas and San Antonio was the 50th post-season game this season. It was also the fifth Game 7 of the first round. "I think its great for basketball and for the fans," Popovich said. "It drives all the coaches crazy. (But) for the game and everybody, its been a wonderful thing. " ... Blair was booed heavily each time he entered the game or committed a foul. ' ' '