Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 11/26

Game 1: Friday, November 26th
Game 2: Saturday, January 8th
Game 3: Saturday, March 12th
Game 4: Friday, April 1st

Spurs 84

(53-19, 19-16 away)

Nuggets 102

(40-31, 26-10 home)

Coverage: KENS

8:30 PM ET, April 1, 2005

Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

1 2 3 4 T
SA 14 24 24 2284
DEN 27 23 23 29102

Top Performers

SA: T. Parker 17 Pts, 1 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Blk

Den: M. Camby 15 Pts, 10 Reb, 5 Ast, 8 Blk

Camby two blocks from triple-double

DENVER (AP) -- Unable to come up with anything better to describe Marcus Camby, Denver Nuggets coach George Karl blurted out the first thing that came to mind: "Marcus Camby, he's really good."

Simplistic, but right on the mark.

Spurs without Duncan, last two seasons
'04-05 10 games 4-6
'03-04 13 games 6-7

Camby set the tone early and squashed a big run late, dominating the lane at both ends to help the Nuggets beat the San Antonio Spurs 102-84 on Friday night for their 16th victory in 18 games.

Camby finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds, eight blocks and five assists, but carried the Nuggets just as much with his hustle and intensity.

Even San Antonio's Tony Parker kept it simple when describing the Nuggets' center.

"Camby was really good tonight," said Parker, who led the Spurs with 17 points.

Denver played without power forward Kenyon Martin (ribs) for the third straight game, then lost guard Greg Buckner to a broken hand in the second quarter.

But as they have over the past two months, the Nuggets shrugged off the injuries.

Denver got out to a big lead early, held on through a difficult third quarter, then pulled away to extend its best stretch since going 15-2 in 1988.

Earl Boykins had 23 points, and Carmelo Anthony added 18 for Denver, which has won seven straight home games to remain tied with Memphis for seventh place in the Western Conference -- three games ahead of ninth-place Minnesota.

"I don't know how good we are. I don't think anybody knows how good we are," Karl said. "I'm getting confident, though."

San Antonio had won three straight without All-Star Tim Duncan (ankle), but couldn't keep up with the energetic Nuggets. The Spurs shot a season-low 31.8 percent and didn't have anything left after making a big third-quarter run.

Manu Ginobili added 13 points, but had a hard time getting it. He was knocked to the floor several times and shot just 1-of-8 from the field. The Spurs trail Phoenix by just two games for the league's best record, but certainly don't want to lose their second All-Star with Duncan expected to be out another two weeks and six of the final 10 games on the road.

"We are trying to get a couple of guys some playing time to see what they can give us down the stretch, and at the same time we don't want to run Manu into the ground," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He is going to be very important come playoff time. It's a double-edged sword. We want to win games, but I don't want to do it at the expense of Manu Ginobili."

Karl complained about his team's defense the previous two games, saying the Nuggets were soft and giving up too many easy baskets.

Apparently, the message got through.

The Nuggets swarmed the Spurs from the opening tip, contesting every shot, pass and cut. Denver blocked 11 shots, set a season-low for opponent shooting percentage and held the Spurs to 5-of-23 on 3-pointers.

"Our defense, I thought the last two games we were soft a little bit," said Karl, who wore a Nuggets' retro warmup over his suit before tipoff. "I thought the team came out tonight and, wow, they were really good defensively."

The Spurs didn't have an answer, particularly without Duncan for the sixth straight game.

San Antonio had just six field goals and 14 points in the first quarter to trail by 13, and wasn't a whole lot better in the second. The Spurs shot just 37 percent and trailed by as much as 19 before cutting the lead to 50-38 by halftime.

But even without their best player, the Spurs didn't give up.

Picking up the defensive pressure and working the ball the Ginobili on just about every possession, San Antonio went on a 13-2 run midway through the third quarter to cut the lead to 62-58.

"I thought we made a good run at it in the second half, but we just didn't have enough juice and couldn't make that shot to get over the hump," Popovich said.

Camby made sure of it. He blocked three shots in the quarter, including two in the final minute to help the Nuggets the lead back up to 73-62.

But then, it's no surprise.

Camby was superb against Phoenix and Utah after missing two games with a sprained ankle and he simply kept it going against San Antonio.

He was seemingly everywhere on defense, swatting three shots in the first quarter, jumping into passing lanes and harassing anyone who came near the basket. Camby helped force a turnover on San Antonio's first possession, then knocked Ginobili to the ground scrambling for a loose ball seconds later.

Camby also knocked down jumpers from the top of the key, hit a difficult turnaround in the post and even went coast-to-coast for a layup.

"Nothing he does amazes me," Anthony said. "He plays like a defensive player of the year every night. He brings it every night."

Game notes

Karl was selected the Western Conference coach of the month for March to win the award for the second straight month. ... The Spurs have lost five straight road games. ... Denver is 23-1 at home when scoring at least 18 points (27) on the break. ... Buckner is expected to be out at least two weeks.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 84 102
FGM-FGA 28-88 (.318) 34-78 (.436)
3PM-3PA 5-23 (.217) 4-6 (.667)
FTM-FTA 23-30 (.767) 30-34 (.882)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 19-45 15-46
Assists 16 22
Turnovers 13 11
Steals 5 5
Blocks 10 11
Fast Break Points 7 27
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (1/0) 24 (0/0)
Largest Lead 1 21

Top Performers

San Antonio
Tony Parker Parker
Points: 17
Reb: 1
Ast: 7
Stl: 0
Blk: 1
Marcus Camby Camby
Points: 15
Reb: 10
Ast: 5
Stl: 0
Blk: 8