Spurs pound Nuggets to tie series
San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) – Tim Duncan scored 24 points and grabbed
nine rebounds and Tony Parker added 19 points and six assists, as the San
Antonio Spurs pounded the Denver Nuggets, 104-76, in Game 2 of the Western
Conference quarterfinals at SBC Center.
The Spurs rebounded nicely from their 93-87 setback in Game 1 to even the
best-of-seven series at one game apiece. Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday at
the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Duncan had struggled in the opening game of the series, shooting just 7-of-22
from the floor. However, he had it working on Wednesday when he missed just
four shots from the field (11-of-15).
“Everyone came out focused and knew the game plan,” said Duncan. “When we do
that, we are tough to beat.”
San Antonio, the second seed, hasn’t been knocked out in the opening round
since 2000 when it lost to the Phoenix Suns. However, the Spurs are 2-11 all-
time when dropping the first game of a best-of-seven series.
Manu Ginobili netted 17 points in the victory and Brent Barry chipped in 16.
The Nuggets have now dropped 12 straight Game 2s and haven’t won the second
test of a playoff series since beating the Los Angeles Lakers on May 14, 1985.
DerMarr Johnson scored 12 points to lead the seventh-seeded Nuggets, who shot
just 36 percent in the game. Andre Miller posted 11 points and seven assists
and Carmelo Anthony finished with just 10 points. Marcus Camby led Denver with
12 rebounds and also added nine points.
“I’m not going to stand here and say I’m happy,” said Nuggets coach George
Karl. “But we’re 1-1 and we’ve got a homecourt that’s pretty good.”
Denver led 8-7 after Miller hit a pair of free throws with 9:11 remaining in
the first quarter, but the Spurs answered with a 16-2 explosion and never
trailed again. Bruce Bowen, Barry and Parker each hit three-pointers in the
run and San Antonio led 23-10 with 4:16 left. Parker scored 12 points in the
first 12 minutes and helped the Spurs to a 29-18 advantage.
San Antonio really started to run away with it in the second quarter where it
outscored Denver, 34-14. The Spurs held a 36-24 lead early in the second when
they exploded on a 24-4 run to open a 32-point cushion. Duncan scored 10
points in the stretch and capped it with a 15-foot jumper to make it a 60-28
game with 1:45 remaining.
The Spurs would carry a 63-32 lead into the locker room after shooting 61
percent in the first half. Denver, meanwhile, connected on just 31 percent of
its shots in the opening 24 minutes.
Duncan led all scorers with 18 at the break and Parker added 17, while Camby
scored nine to lead the Nuggets.
Denver opened the third quarter on a 17-5 stretch to get the deficit down to
68-49, but the that would be as close as the Nuggets would get. The Spurs
would take an 86-62 cushion into the final quarter.
Duncan and Parker barely played in the fourth quarter and the Spurs would
expand their lead to as many as 34 points en route to the easy win.
“Any loss like that is embarrassing,” said Anthony. “After the first game we
expected someone to get better. They were the team that got better.”