San Antonio wins series 4-1 (Game 1 of 5)

San Antonio wins series 4-1

Game 1: Sunday, April 24th
Game 2: Wednesday, April 27th
Game 3: Saturday, April 30th
Game 4: Monday, May 2nd
Game 5: Wednesday, May 4th

Nuggets 93

(49-33, 18-23 away)

Spurs 87

(59-23, 38-3 home)

Coverage: FSSW

7:00 PM ET, April 24, 2005

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

1 2 3 4 T
DEN 23 29 21 2093
SA 27 25 23 1287

Top Performers

Den: A. Miller 31 Pts, 4 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

SA: N. Mohammed 15 Pts, 15 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 4 Blk

Miller's 31 points enough to carry Denver

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- A fourth quarter that started with so much promise for the San Antonio Spurs turned into an exercise in futility. After making their first three shots, the Spurs missed their next 17.

The Denver Nuggets didn't shoot much better down the stretch but frustrated San Antonio by playing physical defense while rallying for a 93-87 victory Sunday.

"We're not a great defensive team for 48 minutes most nights," Denver coach George Karl said. "But we have learned somehow this year to play defense in the fourth quarter."

A 14-footer by Glenn Robinson with 10:20 left gave the Spurs an 81-76 lead in the opening game of the first-round playoff series. But after that, San Antonio's drought lasted until Robert Horry made a 3-pointer with 9 seconds left. The Spurs went 4-for-21 in the fourth, while the Nuggets were 6-for-19.

"We had some great looks," said Tim Duncan, who went 0-for-7 in the fourth quarter, all the shots coming from 8 feet or closer. "There were a lot of shots around the basket that I should have made."

Despite the offensive troubles, the Spurs stayed ahead until Earl Boykins made a high-arching jumper over 6-foot-10 Nazr Mohammed with 1:56 remaining to give Denver an 85-84 lead.

The Nuggets then got a short jumper from Marcus Camby and three free throws from Miller to build a nine-point lead in the final minute.

"There was a lot of energy out there," said Andre Miller, who scored 31 to top his previous playoff high of 21 points. "The fourth quarter, we stepped it up."

Carmelo Anthony had 14 points, Camby 12 and Kenyon Martin 11 for Denver. Camby, who missed the final three games of the regular season with a hamstring strain, also had 12 rebounds.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night in San Antonio.

"The first game is hard and the second one will be harder," said Anthony, whose team finished the regular season with 25 wins in its final 29 games. "The further you go, the tougher it gets."

Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with 23 points, his career playoff high, and Duncan scored 18 with 11 rebounds. Mohammed added 15 points and 15 rebounds for the Spurs, who led by as many as nine points in the first half, and Tony Parker finished with 12.

Duncan quickly dispelled any notion that he would go easy after missing a dozen late-season games with a badly sprained right ankle. He made three baskets in the game's opening minutes, ran the floor in transition and bumped bodies at both ends with Martin and Camby as the Nuggets consistently double-teamed him. He played 35 minutes.

"Timmy gave us everything that he could," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Obviously he's not in his typical rhythm and not on the top of his game, but we knew that going in."

Miller carried Denver's offense in the first half, scoring 24 points on 11-for-16 shooting.

"He was the one keeping their team alive," said Ginobili, who was among the Spurs who tried to contain Miller. "He was making tough shots, being a real leader."

Ginobili went 6-for-8 and had 18 points in the half for San Antonio, which trailed only once before the break.

The Spurs made it 52-44 on a dunk by Ginobili on an inbounds pass from Parker. But Miller came back with a jumper and Camby converted a three-point play to pull the Nuggets to 52-49 with 5.7 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

Ginobili then picked up an offensive foul by bowling over Camby on a drive, and Miller hit a 41-foot heave as time ran out to knot the score at 52.

Anthony scored only four points in the half on 2-for-7 shooting.

Game notes

San Antonio is now 6-2 in opening playoff games since Duncan joined the team in 1997-98. ... Duncan is 22 points shy of 2,000 in the playoffs. ... Horry's first 3-pointer, late in the third quarter, was his 200th in the postseason in his 13-year career. ... Anthony has averaged 14.8 points on 34.6 percent shooting in his five career playoff games. His career regular-season average is 20.9 ppg. ... DerMarr Johnson scored his first playoff points on a first-quarter tip-in for Denver. He went scoreless in three postseason games with New York last season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 93 87
FGM-FGA 34-82 (.415) 34-81 (.420)
3PM-3PA 3-6 (.500) 3-13 (.231)
FTM-FTA 22-30 (.733) 16-19 (.842)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 15-44 12-45
Assists 12 22
Turnovers 13 17
Steals 9 6
Blocks 8 8
Fast Break Points 12 13
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/1) 23 (0/0)
Largest Lead 9 9

Top Performers

San Antonio
Andre Miller Miller
Points: 31
Reb: 4
Ast: 5
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Nazr Mohammed Mohammed
Points: 15
Reb: 15
Ast: 1
Stl: 2
Blk: 4