The San Antonio Spurs Advance, The Denver Nuggets Are Off Fishing
In 2005, the Nuggets won game one, but the Spurs came roaring back to win four consecutive games … History repeats itself … Last night, San Antonio, after losing game one, eliminated A.I.’s Denver squad 4-1 … Michael Finley tuned back the clock for the Spurs … Duncan and Parker produced … And what to make of Denver’s season? What do they need for next season? … All this and much, much more …
What Happened: The ’ stingy defense neutralized the’ high-octane offense.
On Wednesday, in game five, the Spurs slowed the Nuggets’ free-wheeling attack with a 93-78 victory, closing out the series 4-1.
With the win, San Antonio moves on to the second round of the playoffs.
Michael Finley led the way for the Spurs. The former All-Star nailed 8 three-pointers and finished with a season-high 26 points. and both had double-doubles for San Antonio. Duncan scored 23 points to go with 12 rebounds, while Parker scored 16 points and dished out 10 assists.
San Antonio’s defense forced Denver’s two superstars, and , into taking tough, low-percentage shots. ‘Melo’ and ‘The Answer’ both had off-nights. Anthony only made 8-of-20 attempts for 21 points, while Iverson connected on just 6-of-22 shot attempts for 21 points.
had an impressive night on the glass for Denver, pulling down 19 rebounds.
San Antonio will face the winner of the Phoenix/L.A. series in round two.
Reaction of San Antonio guard Micahel Finley on his hot shooting:
"Well, I was feeling it a little bit. Every shot I took felt good and fortunately they went in tonight. It was important for us to play 48 minutes. They came out. They played hard. But we focused and that was the difference." (ESPN)
My Take: The Spurs are an experienced team with balance. The Nuggets are, for the most part, an inexperienced team that lacks balance. This was the difference in the series.
San Antonio has seen every situation. They didn’t panic after losing game one. They just adjusted their offense, often going small to open-up the middle for Duncan and Ginobili.
The Spurs are also getting contributions from their entire team. ’s in a time-warp; the veteran looks five years younger and he’s playing great basketball. His three-point range spreads the floor for teammates. had a solid series, hitting a clutch shot in game four. And and are great glue-players, providing hustle and energy.
Right now, Denver lacks the savvy to compete with San Antonio. Teams learn to win. Often that means building experience through losing. The Nuggets are building that experience.
However, I do feel Denver’s onto something with this group. I like the way finished the season. But they need an outside shooter to keep defenses from double and triple-teaming Anthony and Iverson.
Next season, they’ll definitely compete in the Western Conference.
Click here to read and subscribe to Oly Sandor’s NBA blog.