Wednesday , Apr , 25 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Spurs even series with Nuggets

San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) – Tim Duncan poured in 22 points and grabbed
seven rebounds as San Antonio held off Denver, 97-88, in Game 2 of their
Western Conference quarterfinal series at the AT&T Center.

Tony Parker added 20 points and dished out six assists for the Spurs, who
evened the best-of-seven series at a game apiece.

Manu Ginobili provided a spark off the bench and netted 17 points for San
Antonio, which has won eight of its last nine Game 2s in the postseason.

“We got the lead and hung on,” said San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich. “It
was nothing great. We didn’t really do anything different at all. I just
thought we were more physical than we were in Game 1.”

Michael Finley had 14 points and seven assists in the victory.

Carmelo Anthony had 26 points and pulled down 10 boards for the Nuggets, who
look to rebound and regain the series lead Saturday night at the Pepsi Center
in Game 3.

Allen Iverson contributed 20 points and five assists for Denver, which has
dropped 14 straight Game 2s in its playoff history. Iverson shot just 9-of-25
from the field and did not make a trip to the free throw line.

Marcus Camby had 10 points and a game-high 18 rebounds while Nene had 17 and
seven boards in defeat.

“It’s a tough loss, but it’s a playoff loss,” said Denver head coach George
Karl. “It was a one possession game in the fourth, and the Spurs had to
win. I’m proud of how our team fought.”

Leading by eight points at halftime, the Spurs stayed in control and continued
to run in front in the third quarter. Towards the end of the stanza, Ginobili
capped off a fast break with a layup and after a defensive stop, Ginobili
drained a three-pointer as San Antonio increased its lead to 15 points at
70-55.

The Spurs led 74-60 heading into the final frame.

After San Antonio’s lead grew to as many as 18 points in the fourth, Nene
dropped in four straight points and Camby hit a jumper to make it 84-73 with
just under six minutes to go.

Denver continued to fight back and made it 86-78 with 4:15 remaining after
Anthony drilled a three-pointer and Steve Blake sunk a jumper from the right
baseline.

Iverson’s trey made it a six-point game with 3:23 to go. After both team’s
traded baskets, Nene took a pass inside from Iverson and slammed home two to
make it 89-85 with 1:12 remaining.

Ginobili answered with a driving layup through traffic, but the resilient
Nuggets made it 91-88 after Iverson sunk a three-pointer with 45 ticks left.

At the other end, San Antonio let the shot clock wind down before Duncan’s
jumper banked off the glass and through the twine to make it 93-88 with 27.8
seconds left.

Anthony then missed a three-pointer and San Antonio sealed the victory by
hitting its free throws down the stretch.

“I knew before the game we were not going to have a game like the other
night,” said Ginobili. “We cannot accept to play like that again.”

Bruce Bowen drilled a three-pointer as time expired in the opening quarter as
the Spurs went into the second stanza with a 24-18 advantage.

San Antonio outscored Denver 25-23 in the second quarter and went into
halftime with a 49-41 lead. Parker paced the Spurs with 12 points while Duncan
had 10.

Anthony led the Nuggets with 10 points at the break.

Game Notes

The Spurs shot 43.8 percent from the field while the Nuggets shot 38.6
percent…Fabricio Oberto came off the bench for San Antonio and had eight
points and 10 rebounds…Denver’s last victory in the second game of a playoff
series was on May 14, 1985 against the Lakers in the Western Conference
finals.

DEN SAN