Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/26

Game 1: Tuesday, November 26th
Game 2: Wednesday, November 27th
Game 3: Thursday, February 6th
Game 4: Tuesday, February 18th

Spurs 83


Nuggets 74


    8:00 PM ET, February 6, 2003

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 20 20 28 1583
    DEN 12 20 19 2374

    Top Performers

    SA: T. Duncan 25 Pts, 8 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Den: J. Howard 23 Pts, 11 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Short-handed Spurs win fifth straight

    DENVER (AP) -- The San Antonio Spurs are becoming big rodeo fans.

    Tim Duncan

    Tim Duncan had 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists, and Tony Parker scored 19 of his 23 points in the third quarter as the San Antonio Spurs beat the Denver Nuggets 83-74 Thursday night for their fifth straight win.

    The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo at the SBC Center forced the Spurs out on the longest road trip in franchise history.

    The Spurs opened the nine-game trip with a 106-95 loss to Minnesota, but followed with wins over Indiana, Orlando and Miami. The Spurs beat Golden State 103-99 Wednesday night before traveling to Denver for their final game before the All-Star break.

    San Antonio's next home game is Feb. 18 against Denver.

    "The rodeo is important in San Antonio and we have no choice, so what are you going to do?'' San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "The guys have reacted really well.''

    San Antonio played without center David Robinson, out because of a sore knee. The Spurs then lost third-leading scorer Stephen Jackson to a sprained right ankle five minutes into the game.

    The lineup dropped to nine players when Jackson's replacement, Emanuel Ginobili, went down with a sprained right ankle with 45 seconds left in the second.

    It didn't matter against the lowly Nuggets.

    The Spurs hit 10 of 19 shots in the first quarter and never looked back to win for the seventh time in eight games. The Spurs have won 14 of 17 overall.

    "It was a huge win for us to get this one, especially with a whole bunch of our guys going down,'' Duncan said. "We finished into the All-Star break on a positive note and hopefully we can come out the same way.''

    Denver was seeking just its second three-game winning streak of the season, but the Nuggets struggled on both ends against the surging Spurs.

    The Nuggets had scored at least 100 points in two of their past three games, but shot 40 percent and had 22 turnovers in failing to reach 80 points for the 23rd time this season.

    The final minutes of the third quarter epitomized Denver's struggles.

    Mark Blount shot an airball on a short jump hook, then Chris Andersen followed with a straightaway jumper that caromed hard off the backboard and rim. Blount closed the stretch by clanging an open dunk off the back of the rim toward Denver's bench.

    The Nuggets were 8-for-22 in the quarter and had as many points as Parker (19) as the Spurs extended the lead to 68-51.

    "You won't win games when you turn the ball over that many times,'' Denver point guard Junior Harrington said. "We just didn't execute.''

    Duncan had his way with Denver rookie Nene Hilario inside, hitting all five of his shots for 10 points in the first, including a dunk over Donnell Harvey midway through.

    Most of San Antonio's points came on easy baskets inside, clearly frustrating Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik. He jumped out of his seat after Ginobili scored on a flying putback, but could only put his hands on his hips and stare at his young team.

    "You can pin it on me. You can pin it on youth and you can pin it on a lot of things, but the bottom line is it's not getting done,'' Bzdelik said.

    The Nuggets weren't much better on offense.

    Denver set an NBA record with just three points in the first quarter of a 99-68 loss to San Antonio on Nov. 27. The Nuggets were better this time -- barely.

    Denver was just 2-for-11 with four turnovers in the first seven minutes and had just four points until Juwan Howard hit a 14-foot jumper with 3:54 left. The Nuggets, the league's worst-shooting team, were 6-for-18 and trailed 20-12 after one quarter.

    Howard led Denver with 23 points, 11 rebounds and five assists before fouling out late in the fourth.

    Game notes

    Denver C/F Marcus Camby shot with the team before the game, but didn't play. Camby, who has missed 10 games with a sprained right ankle, hopes to be back after the All-Star break. ... Robinson, who is retiring at the end of the season, received a warm ovation from Denver's fans after his name was announced late in the first quarter. ... Denver dropped to 1-32 when its opponent scores at least 83 points.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 83 74
    FGM-FGA 31-68 (.456) 30-75 (.400)
    3PM-3PA 6-17 (.353) 1-13 (.077)
    FTM-FTA 15-21 (.714) 13-15 (.867)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-38 9-39
    Assists 24 24
    Turnovers 22 22
    Steals 8 11
    Blocks 3 6
    Fast Break Points 3 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (0/0) 23 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Tim Duncan Duncan
    Points: 25
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 2
    Juwan Howard Howard
    Points: 23
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1