Sunday , May , 01 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Rocky Mountain High: Ginobili’s 32 leads Spurs

Denver, CO (Sports Network) – Manu Ginobili scored a career playoff-high 32
points with nine rebounds, leading the San Antonio Spurs to an 86-78 victory
over the Denver Nuggets in Game 3 of their Western Conference quarterfinals
series.

Ginobili went 10-of-21 from the field in 31 minutes off the bench for the
Spurs, who have won two straight in the series after a loss at home in Game 1.

“That’s my job,” Ginobili said. “Coming from the bench and changing the pace,
that’s what I do.”

San Antonio will look for a 3-1 lead in this best-of-seven series when the
teams meet for Game 4 on Monday at the Pepsi Center.

Tim Duncan was just 5-of-19 for 11 points in the game, but Ginobili picked up
the scoring slack and Robert Horry showed his clutch-shooting prowess when
things got tight down the stretch.

The steely veteran, who finished with 13 points, hit consecutive three-
pointers in the fourth quarter moments after Denver had climbed within two
points twice in one minute.

His big shots gave the Spurs a 10-point lead with six minutes remaining. The
Nuggets followed with an 8-1 run to climb within 76-73 on Andre Miller’s layup
with 3:02 left, but they scored just five points the rest of the way.

“I’m real proud of the way we played,” Denver head coach George Karl said. “We
fought and caught up. Robert Horry hits the threes, and we caught up again.”

Ginobili had eight points in the final 2:41 of the game, getting one of those
on a free throw after being fouled hard by Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony was called for a flagrant foul and ejected from the game for slapping
and shoving Ginobili as he drove the lane.

“Just a hard foul,” Ginobili said. “You are about to lose an important game
and you want to make a statement. That’s it.”

The free throw gave San Antonio an 84-78 advantage with 22 seconds left, all
but sealing the game.

Anthony scored 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting to lead the Nuggets. Kenyon
Martin added 18 points and Marcus Camby had 12 points and 14 rebounds in the
loss.

After trailing by as many as 13 points in the game, Denver was within two
points twice in the fourth quarter, the last time coming when Miller’s layup
made it 67-65 with 7:34 to play.

But then Horry showed up.

Horry’s steal after a Bruce Bowen jumper led to his first three-pointer —
calmly drained with no defenders on him — and his second came just moments
later to give the Spurs a 75-65 lead with six minutes remaining.

“Sometimes you gets shots that you’re real fortunate on,” Spurs head coach
Gregg Popovich said of Horry’s first three. “I was jumping up and down saying
“No! No!” when he took it.”

Duncan committed three fouls in the first half and was sidelined for 19
minutes. But Ginobili picked up the scoring slack by collecting 19 points on
8-of-15 shooting.

He scored four of his 19 first-points during an 8-1 run that gave San Antonio
a 50-37 lead late in the second quarter.

“He’s like Allen Iverson…fearless and he knows how to get to the basket,”
Popovich said.

The Spurs held on for a 50-41 advantage at the break, despite being outshot 46
percent to 44 percent by Denver.

San Antonio then turned the ball over six times and made just four field goals
in the third quarter. Duncan was 0-for-8 in the period, and Denver crept
within 61-58 heading into the fourth despite shooting just 6-of-18 in the
third.

DEN SAN