Tim Duncan had 17 points and 16 rebounds in another dominant performance against Atlanta and San Antonio coasted to a 105-79 win over the short-handed Hawks on Friday night.
Budenholzer, in his first season as the Hawks’ coach, was in the San Antonio organization for 19 years, including 17 as an assistant, and the last six as Popovich’s top aide. Popovich said facing Budenholzer was difficult.
“Actually, it’s no fun at all, to tell you the truth,” Popovich said. “If you win, you feel bad. If you lose you always feel bad. It’s a no-win when that happens.”
The Hawks, already short-handed without Pero Antic and DeMarre Carroll, lost point guard Jeff Teague to a left ankle sprain in the second period. Teague didn’t return and is expected to miss at least two games.
Boris Diaw led the Spurs with 21 points. Patty Mills, who made a career-high six 3-pointers, had 18 points.
Cory Joseph started for Kawhi Leonard, who will miss three to four weeks with a broken bone in his right hand. Joseph had eight points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Leonard joined starting center Tiago Splitter (sprained right shoulder) and former starter Danny Green (broken left index finger) on San Antonio’s injured list.
Mills said it was “everyone’s mindset” to step up for the missing players.
“We’ve got big shoes to fill until everyone gets back,” Mills said. “Guys go down, we’ve still got to stick to the game plan and we were able to do that (Friday).”
The Hawks have an even longer injury list.
Budenholzer said Teague will not be with the team for a two-game trip to Milwaukee and Oklahoma City. The Hawks play at Milwaukee to night.
“We will hope that Jeff recovers quickly,” Budenholzer said.
Teague was leading the Hawks with nine points when he hurt his ankle by landing on Duncan’s foot. Teague then limped off the court.
Even with Teague, the Hawks had only 10 players in uniform. They played their first game after losing Antic for two to four weeks with a stress fracture in his right ankle. Antic had been the replacement for Al Horford, who was lost for the season when he tore his right pectoral muscle on Dec. 26.
Carroll was held out with a mild strain to his left hamstring.
Budenholzer said the Hawks can’t focus on the injuries.
“I think nobody else in the league cares if there’s a mounting toll or what our injury status is,” Budenholzer said.
Paul Millsap’s 15 points led the Hawks, who set a season scoring low.
Duncan, who blocked four shots, and point guard Tony Parker didn’t return after leaving the game with the Spurs leading 77-50 late in the third quarter. The Spurs used backup players in the fourth.
Parker had 11 points and seven assists.
Duncan, who had 23 points and 21 rebounds in the Spurs’ 102-100 win over the Hawks on Dec. 2 in San Antonio, enjoyed a strong start in the rematch. He blocked Millsap’s shot on the Hawks’ first possession, then hit a jumper before blocking an attempt by Gustavo Ayon on Atlanta’s next attempt.
The Hawks’ last lead was 7-6. Back-to-back baskets by Parker and Duncan gave San Antonio the lead for good. Mills sank three 3-pointers in the final minutes of the opening period to stretch the lead to 27-14. The Spurs kept the lead in double figures the remainder of the game.
“It doesn’t make us feel any better, but this is what they do,” said Atlanta’s Kyle Korver. “They’re a well-oiled machine.”
Korver scored his only points on a 3-pointer with about 6 minutes remaining in the first half. He extended his NBA record to 111 consecutive games with a 3-pointer.
Budenholzer was called for a technical foul in the second quarter.
NOTES: Popovich tied Red Auerbach for 10th place all-time with 938 wins. ... Duncan posted his 17th double-double of the season. ... The Hawks set their previous scoring low in an 83-80 loss to Houston on Jan. 10. ... The Spurs are 6-0 on the road against Eastern Conference teams. ... San Antonio signed G Othyus Jeffers to a 10-day contract. Jeffers averaged 22.8 points and 11.4 rebounds in 22 games with the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League this season.