PHOENIX — The San Antonio Spurs keep rolling, and part of their winning ways includes overwhelming the NBA's struggling teams and making good use of their quality depth.
The Spurs did just that on Thursday night, putting the Phoenix Suns away with a 38-point fourth quarter driven by their bench. Starter Kawhi Leonard's 21 points led the way in a 117-89 win, San Antonio's 12th straight.
Leonard, selected as an All-Star starter for first time in his career earlier in the day, scored eight of his points in the third quarter. Boban Marjanovic added 17 points and 13 rebounds for his first career NBA double-double, and Jonathon Simmons had 13 points.
The Spurs improved to 37-6 to match their best 43-game start in franchise history. They got 66 points from their bench.
"The bench guys got it done for us," coach Gregg Popovich said. "The starters weren't all that enthused."
"We stopped their rebounds and their shooters and we started a lot of fast breaks," Marjanovic said.
The Suns were down to only nine available players to start the game, with starting guard Brandon Knight out due to an abductor strain. Forwards Mirza Teletovic (sprained ankle), Jon Leuer (back spasms) and Markieff Morris (shoulder strain) — all injured before or during Tuesday's loss to Indiana — also did not play.
All nine played Thursday, but forward P.J. Tucker took a shot to the chest midway through the first quarter trying to defend a drive by Leonard and didn't return due to a bruise.
"We're down a lot of players. We're going out there, we know we're less talented, so we just have to play harder," Booker said. "We were running out of men out there, so I feel like toward the end, we started wearing down a little bit."
The Spurs outscored the Suns by 18 in the fourth.
"In the fourth quarter, we just ran out of gas," coach Jeff Hornacek said.
The Spurs led by as many as 18 points in the first half after a layup by David West with 5:42 left in the second quarter. The Suns were able to cut the deficit to 12 by halftime at 51-39 and trailed by as few as six points in the third quarter after Booker hit back-to-back shots.
But the Spurs held the lead with reserves playing quality minutes throughout the game. They took a 10-point advantage into the fourth quarter and built up the lead in the final 12 minutes.
No starter played more than the 29 minutes by Ray McCallum, who started in place of Parker.
"It was just a time for us to really execute our plays and make sure we were in our defensive rotation," Leonard said.
LEONARD HONORED BY ALL-STAR STATUS
Leonard said he wasn't really surprised to be named an All-Star starter.
"It's a great honor," he said. "I just thank the fans for voting for me and for my teammates having my back and pushing me to compete at an All-Star level, and thank Coach Pop and the coaching staff for giving me an opportunity to play."
WINNING IN THE 90s
Thursday night's game, a 90s theme night for the fans, matched two teams who won well over 60 percent of their games in the 1990s. Phoenix was 509-283 in the decade, while San Antonio was 498-295.
Spurs: Popovich said Leonard has a large responsibility being a standout two-way player. "There are very few in the league," Popovich said. "You can probably count them on one hand that do it night after night after night." ... Arizona Cardinals RB Chris Johnson attended the game with former NFL RB LenDale White. ... The Spurs lead the all-time series between the teams 86-75.
Suns: Phoenix signed F Cory Jefferson to a 10-day contract earlier in the day and he saw immediate action Thursday. Jefferson appeared in six games for the Suns after opening the season on the roster. He was waived on Jan. 7. ... Suns players will spend some time Friday working as Southwest Airlines employees at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport. ... Kevin Eubanks, the leader of Jay Leno's Tonight Show band for 15 years, played the national anthem.
Spurs: at Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
Suns: host Atlanta on Saturday night.