Thursday , Apr , 19 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Nuggets rout Spurs in first-round playoff preview

San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) – Reggie Evans scored 19 points and ripped
down 20 rebounds as the Denver Nuggets defeated the San Antonio Spurs, 100-77,
in a first round playoff preview.

With San Antonio locked into the third seed and Denver saddled with the sixth
spot, both teams sat their regulars in the season finale. Tim Duncan, Tony
Parker, Manu Ginobili and Fabricio Oberto all rode the bench for the Spurs,
while Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby and Nene did not play for
the Nuggets.

Linas Kleiza and J.R. Smith each scored 17 points and Steve Blake had 16
points and eight assists for the Denver (45-37), which is 10-1 in April
heading into the playoffs.

“I thought this game more showcased our personality as opposed to theirs,”
said Denver head coach George Karl. “They matched our tempo and ran with us
most of this game. San Antonio is more likely to play a bit of a smarter tempo
when we see them again. It gave us a confidence that we are we are going to
need to find in a new way next time out.”

Beno Udrih scored a team-high 13 points and Melvin Ely had 11 for San Antonio
(58-24), which is appearing in the playoffs for the 10th consecutive season.

The last time these two teams met in the postseason was in the first round of
the 2004-05 playoffs, where the Spurs eliminated Denver in five games.

“We’re happy to have the playoffs start,” said Spurs head coach Gregg
Popovich. “This is what its all about. The competition is great and all the
series are difficult. It’ll be fun to get it started.”

The series begins Sunday at 7 p.m. (et).

Holding a slim 46-40 lead at the break, Denver had a dominant second half and
won going away.

Two straight Evans layups followed by a Yakhouba Diawara layup pushed the
Nuggets’ lead up to 12, 68-56, with just under four minutes to play in the
third. A Jackie Butler putback brought San Antonio back within 10, but Denver
closed the quarter out on a 9-2 spurt and led 79-62 heading into the fourth
quarter, where the Spurs never threatened.

Denver led 25-16 after the opening 12 minutes before the Spurs battled back in
the second quarter to cut their deficit to six at halftime.

Game Notes

Diawara finished with 12 points for the Nuggets…Butler and James White each
scored 10 points for the Spurs. White also grabbed a team-high nine
rebounds…The Spurs finished 31-10 at home this season, while Denver ended
22-19 as the visitor…San Antonio center Fabricio Oberto felt abnormal
sensation on Wednesday and underwent a procedure to restore his heart to its
normal rhythm. A cardiologist determined that a minor trauma to his chest
caused a heart arrhythmia. Oberto returned home after the procedure and is in
stable condition.