SAN ANTONIO — During a timeout with 2:42 remaining in the first quarter Friday, Warriors coach Don Nelson walked onto the court to talk to referee Ron Garretson.
In a relatively calm manner, Nelson said the magic words that prompted Garretson to slap him with a technical foul and send him to the locker room. It was the smartest decision made by anyone associated with the Warriors all night.
Though his team was down just six points at the time, it was if Nelson knew what was coming — a 147-116 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
The Warriors (19-49) lost their 24th straight in San Antonio, this one among the most lopsided. They never led and trailed by as many as 40.
"Can't worry about this one," Warriors guard Monta Ellis said after scoring 39 points on 15-for-28 shooting. "It's gone now. I'm glad it's over with."
It was over for Nelson before it was for everyone else. So was his chance to inch closer to Lenny Wilkens, the NBA's all-time winningest coach. Nelson remains five wins away from catching Wilkens. The Warriors have 14 games to pull it off.
To get Nelson the record, they'll certainly have to play better defense than they did against San Antonio. The Spurs shot 64.6 percent and scored the most their most points ever against the Warriors, topping the 143 they put up on Feb. 23, 1982.
Before Friday, the most points the Warriors had allowed this season was 135 (at Denver in December and at New Orleans earlier this month). The best an opponent had shot against the Warriors was 59.3 percent, which Denver did in Oakland in late February.
The Spurs toyed with the Warriors' defense while forward Tim Duncan sat and watched for all but 13:50. Still, the Warriors were outscored 90-34 in the paint.
Guard Manu Ginobili played just 22 minutes, totaling 23 points and 11 assists. The Spurs didn't have guard Tony Parker, who was out with a broken right hand.
Most of the damage was done by the Spurs' bench, which racked up 72 points and 32 rebounds. The Warriors totaled 39 rebounds.
"We just didn't defend the ball well," forward Corey Maggette said after scoring 30 points in 30 minutes. "They simply dominated on both ends."
The Warriors, who trailed 77-61at the half, were outscored by 15 in the third quarter. San Antonio made 19 of 24 field goals in the quarter while hiking its lead to 121-90.
The same team that came from behind by 21 points to beat New Orleans on Wednesday didn't manage much fight on Friday.
"We didn't compete at a level that you needed to have a chance against this team," said assistant coach Keith Smart, who took over for Nelson. "Not to say that you'd win it, but you needed to have a very high competitive level."
The last time the Warriors won in San Antonio was on Valentine's Day in 1997. Latrell Sprewell had 32 points. Joe Smith had 20 points and 13 rebounds. San Antonio didn't have Duncan, who was still at Wake Forest, or center David Robinson, who was injured.
Since then, the Warriors' trips to San Antonio have ended on a sour note. At least for Nelson, the latest one ended early.