Tim Duncan

A veteran of 15 NBA preseasons, Duncan remains in the early stages of gearing up for games that count. At 36 years old, he has learned how to pace himself through October and how to conserve energy for the regular season.

That all went out the window early Friday.

Duncan hit his first five shots, including a basket-and-a-foul against Denver’s Kenneth Faried. Six minutes in, Duncan had 11 points, and the Spurs had a 15-2 lead. He would finish 8 of 11 from the field [with 21 points and 8 rebounds] before taking a seat for the fourth quarter.

“That’s what Timmy does,” Spurs guard Danny Green said. “We’re going to need that from him this year.”

At this stage of his career, Duncan isn’t a lock for these kind of games every night. If nothing else, coach Gregg Popovich’s meticulous handling of Duncan’s minutes often serves to depress his nightly box score.

– Reported by Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News Blog