Saturday , Apr , 28 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Duncan lifts Spurs to Game 3 win over Nuggets

Denver, CO (Sports Network) – Tim Duncan’s 20 points, 13 rebounds and five
blocked shots led the Spurs to a 96-91 win over the Nuggets in Game 3 of their
Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Tony Parker had 21 points and Manu Ginobili tallied 19 for San Antonio, which
grabbed a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Michael Finley finished with
16 points, going 5-of-7 from three-point range, and Robert Horry had 10 points
for the Spurs, who missed just one of their 14 free throws.

Carmelo Anthony had 28 points and 12 rebounds for the Nuggets, who also got 20
points from Allen Iverson. Nene contributed 18 points for Denver, which lost
Game 2 on Wednesday.

The Spurs won by hitting 9-of-21 shots from beyond the arc and overcame being
outrebounded by the Nuggets. Denver, which held a 46-41 edge on the boards,
had three players with at least 10 in Anthony, Marcus Camby (10) and Eduardo
Najera (10).

“We played pretty good defense,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “I thought
that Carmelo got away from us. I thought we were really poor on the boards,
but our team defense in general I guess was pretty good. Rebounding-wise we
just got murdered.”

Game 4 is scheduled for Monday night at the Pepsi Center.

The Spurs led 75-67 going into the fourth quarter and they quickly widened the
margin to 10 points at 79-69 on Fabrice Oberto’s layup with 9:27 left. The
Nuggets closed within five a few times, but at each spot the Spurs had an
answer.

Camby hit two free throws with 1:04 remaining to get the Nuggets within 92-87,
but then with the shot clock running down, Horry, in the playoffs for a 15th
straight year, nailed a jumper from the left corner with the shot clock
running down. That boosted the Spurs to a 94-87 cushion with 42.8 seconds
remaining.

“Horry, he hit some tough ones,” Iverson said. “The shot he hit late was real
tough. A couple guys hit shots like that. Finley hit a couple of shots with a
hand right in his face.”

A dunk by J.R. Smith and a layup by Anthony made it 94-91 with 7.8 seconds to
go, but Ginobili sealed San Antonio’s victory by draining a pair of free
throws with 4.5 seconds left.

Iverson was limited to one point in the fourth quarter.

The Nuggets held a 25-22 lead after the opening quarter, but the Spurs’
defense stiffened in the second, limiting Denver to 15 points. Finley’s three-
pointer gave the visitors a 34-33 edge midway through the period and it was
43-40 Spurs at the half.

Most of the third was close before the Spurs scored eight in a row for a 72-64
advantage. Horry and Finley hit back-to-back threes during the spurt, and
Horry nailed another from beyond the arc for the final points of the third.

Game Notes

Each team shot 43 percent…Ginobili went 10-of-11 at the foul line…San
Antonio has faced the Nuggets, on five separate occasions in their previous
postseason history, and the Spurs won four of those five series and are 18-6
all-time against the Nuggets, including this season in the playoffs. The only
series that the Spurs dropped to the Nuggets in postseason play was the 1985
first round…San Antonio had lost three straight Game 3s in the
postseason…The last time the Spurs lost in the first round of the playoffs
was in 2000.

DEN SAN