By the time the Sacramento Kings had regrouped, Duncan was in the midst of hurling a court-length pass to Ginobili for an easy layup at the other end.
Welcome to Friday night football, Spurs style.
"I just obeyed orders and the defensive balance was not good, so I was just wide open," Ginobili said after the Spurs' 96-80 win over the Kings on Friday. "Yeah, he gave me a look. He's a big football fan."
The long pass with 4:43 left in the first half that put the Spurs up 40-21 wasn't the only time the game looked like it should have been played on Astroturf. Spurs point guard Tony Parker went down hard at least three times in the first half. He also got into the passing game, throwing one out of bounds and into the second row of courtside seats.
Despite that error, the Spurs remained unbeaten. They are 3-0 for the first time since the 2000-01 season, when they finished with the best record in the league.
The Spurs were up 17-10 after one quarter and 50-23 at the half. The Kings shot just 7-of-36 in the first half (19 percent).
"Under 20 percent from the field is not easy to do," Ginobili said.
The Kings set franchise record-lows for points scored in the half and for fewest field goals made in the first half. The previous lows were set in 1957 and 1987, respectively.
"Sure, they're frustrated, they don't like to play like that," said Sacramento coach Reggie Theus. "But there's nothing we can do about it except just keep fighting hard. That's it."
While the Kings were shooting poorly early, the Spurs were playing with energy.
On the possession after Duncan's football throw, he blocked Francisco Garcia's shot, leading to a 3-pointer from Ginobili that put the Spurs up by 22 points.
Martin led the Kings with 11 points in the third quarter as the Kings outscored San Antonio 31-21.
"We had a pretty serious conversation in the locker room," Theus said. "The guys have to understand that you can't hide, you cannot hide on the floor, you've got to be accountable."
Martin's fast-break layup off an assist from Salmons cut the Spurs' lead to 19 with 30 seconds left in the period. Salmons followed with a basket to make it 71-54 heading into the fourth.
"Second half, we had to show some kind of pride. We can't let them just continue to just trample all over us," Salmons said. "Tomorrow, just got to forget about this game, and just come out with a lot of energy."
Sacramento plays the Mavericks in Dallas on Saturday.
The Kings got within 71-56 early in the fourth, but back-to-back 3s from Brent Barry and Udoka pushed the Spurs back to an 81-60 lead with 8:09 to play.
Matt Bonner had 13 points for San Antonio. Ginobili finished with 10.
While the Spurs are off to a good start, coach Gregg Popovich still has a few things to figure out, including his bench rotation.
"I feel very uncomfortable," he said. "I have no clue on how to sub them."
On Friday, his star players gave him the chance to tinker a little bit, with most of them sitting out much of the fourth quarter.
After starting dismally, Sacramento finished 29-of-75 from the field (39 percent). It wasn't too much worse than the Spurs, who went 31-of-75 (41 percent.)
"Still want to see more than 39 percent for the game," Miller said. "You just got to try to build on the things. You know, look at the second half, why did we do better."
Guard Beno Udrih, who was traded on Monday to Minnesota, then signed with Sacramento after the Timberwolves waived him, did not dress while still recovering from a broken left index finger he got last month during Spurs training camp.
- Popovich gave Udrih his championship ring before tip-off Friday.
- The Spurs were 4-0 against the Kings last season.
- Duncan has four 20-20 games against the Kings, more than against any other opponent.
- The Kings also outscored the Spurs in the fourth quarter, 26-25.
- The Spurs hit 12 3-pointers, including three each from Udoka and Bonner, and two from Michael Finley.
- The Spurs outrebounded the Kings 50-35.