SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Tim Duncan had 23 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 97-86 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
The Spurs played without Stephen Jackson, who was out with the flu, and Duncan and several other players were a bit under the weather. But they led for much of the game in defeating the Kings for the ninth straight time in Sacramento.
Marcus Thornton and Jason Thompson scored 17 apiece for the Kings, who had won two straight. DeMarcus Cousins, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, was in foul trouble much of the game and finished with 14 points and nine rebounds in 23 minutes. He went 4 for 14 from the field.
Leonard made two free throws and Duncan followed with an uncontested dunk to give San Antonio an 86-77 lead with 3:21 remaining. Mills' 3-pointer extended the advantage to 89-79.
Cousins went to the bench with four fouls early in the third quarter and the Kings trailing 59-47. But Sacramento rallied without its leading scorer, using a 15-4 run to briefly grab the lead.
Cousins finally got going in the final period, challenging Duncan inside and scoring five straight Kings points during one stretch to keep Sacramento close.
Tyreke Evans scored eight points and both Thompson and Thornton had seven in the third quarter, helping the Kings close to 69-68 heading into the fourth. The Spurs shot 7 of 20 in the third after shooting nearly 55 per cent in the first half.
With Parker playing without his usual energy due to flu-like symptoms and Manu Ginobili still feeling the effects of a sore back, Duncan was clearly looking for shots early. He made the Spurs' first basket on a jumper and had 12 points and seven rebounds at the break.
After an impressive opening quarter, the Kings shot 25 per cent in the second period and were outscored 23-12. Thompson had 10 first-half points.
NOTES: Kings reserve PG Aaron Brooks missed all five shots and went scoreless in 19 minutes. . Kings rookie Thomas Robinson was held out for the first game in a two-game suspension for elbowing Detroit forward Jonas Jerebko. . Veteran John Salmons, who missed much of the preseason due to his wife's pregnancy, played his first game of the season for the Kings. He had one points in five fourth-quarter minutes.