LAS VEGAS -- The San Antonio Spurs (2-0) pulled out a tightly contested 78-76 tilt with the Denver Nuggets Tuesday night in the 2009 NBA Summer League presented by EA Sports from the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas. The Spurs took control of the game in the final 1:37 with a go-ahead bucket by George Hill.
Denver held a three-point lead at 57-54 heading into the final 10 minutes of action, but watched as San Antonio knotted up the game three times before taking the lead for good at the 73-71 juncture. The teams scored five points apiece down the stretch towards the 78-76 final.
San Antonio jumped out of the gates quickly storming out to a 16-6 lead 6:42 into the first quarter. Denver turned its game up in the final 2:22 with a jump start from a Cedric Simmons layup en route to an 8-1 run. The quarter ended with the Spurs clinging to a three-point edge at 17-14.
The Nuggets turned things around in the second quarter, as Coby Karl's hot shooting sparked the rally. Denver knotted the score at 20-20 nearly three minutes into the stanza and took its first lead with 6:58 remaining on the clock off a layup by Karl, which gave him four of his 10 second-quarter points. The ultimately reached a seven-point advantage at 34-27 before ending the first 20 minutes of action with a 39-33 lead.
The third period featured some see-saw basketball with two lead changes and two ties occurring. The Spurs tied things up at 41 just 3:11 into the quarter and took a lead that pushed out to as much as three points on two occasions for 2:13. The Nuggets rebounded to the first 30 minutes up 57-52.
San Antonio was paced by 17 points from Malik Hairston. Hill and Romel Beck collected 16 and 14, respectively. Ian Mahinmi was the only player to register a double-double with 14 points and 12 boards.
Karl was the game's high-scorer with 19, as she shot 6-of-7 from the field and 4-of-5 from the line. Ronald Dupree trailed Karl's output with 13 and Richard Hendrix had 11.