Denver coach George Karl said the Nuggets double-teamed Duncan
effectively and pushed the ball hard against the Spurs in
"They were just fed up with playing so many close games against [the Spurs] and not winning," Karl said. "A lot of times San
Antonio plays with such quickness and penetration that you don't
get a physical presence, but I thought tonight we had that physical
The Nuggets trailed by one after three quarters but took the
lead for good at 69-68 with 10:44 left when Boykins made a short
jumper after a steal by Greg Buckner. It was the first of six
turnovers in the period for the Spurs, matching their number of
San Antonio committed 17 turnovers, 12 in the second half.
Duncan had a team-high six turnovers, five after the break, and
only four field goals in the game.
The Spurs had trouble getting the ball inside and struggled from
the perimeter, going 4-for-23 (17 percent) on 3-pointers. Denver
also ran on San Antonio effectively, scoring 32 points on fast breaks.
"You have to make shots to win basketball games and we didn't
do that," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "You also have to get
back on defense, so it was a double-whammy."
Added Bruce Bowen: "We knew they were going to try and go
up-tempo in the game. ... We couldn't get into any kind of
The Nuggets extended their lead to 79-73 before San Antonio made
two free throws and Nick Van Exel hit a floater in the lane
to make it 79-77 with 3:37 remaining.
Francisco Elson then had a dunk and Boykins a layup to restore
the Nuggets' lead to six points. The Spurs got within three on a
3-pointer by Bowen, but Carmelo Anthony made two free throws and
Andre Miller hit a short jumper for Denver.
"I knew my shot wasn't going in from the outside, so I decided
to keep on going to the hole and get some fouls called," said
Anthony, who scored 12 of his 20 points from the foul line. He shot
4-for-19 from the floor while being defended mostly by Bowen.
Miller had 15 points and 10 assists for the Nuggets, while Elson
added 13 points and Kenyon Martin 12.
Barry started in place of Manu Ginobili, who sprained his right
ankle in Friday night's win in Miami.
A layup by Mohammed gave the Spurs a 14-9 lead with 5:14 left in
the first quarter, but that would be San Antonio's final field goal
of the period.
Denver outscored the Spurs 13-2 to make it 22-16 after one, then
Anthony opened the second with two free throws and Boykins
made back-to-back 3-pointers to extend the Nuggets' lead to 32-25.
Van Exel made a 10-foot jumper to start a 15-4 run that gave San
Antonio a 40-36 lead late in the half. During that stretch Barry
made a 3-pointer and two free throws, and Parker found
Fabricio Oberto for two straight layups.
The Spurs led 48-44 when Anthony muscled past Bruce Bowen for a
layup with 11 seconds remaining.
Popovich argued loudly for an offensive foul on the play and was
given a technical foul by referee Steve Javie, and Anthony made
the free throw to narrow the difference to 48-47 at the break.
The Spurs led by as many as five early in the third, but a
jumper and a layup by Earl Watson keyed a Denver burst that made the score 57-57. The teams swapped small leads for the rest of the
quarter, which ended with San Antonio ahead 66-65.
Parker, who was 35-for-50 (70 percent) in his previous four
games, shot 4-for-11. ... The Spurs are 8-3 this season in games
decided by five or fewer points. ... Boykins made all three of the
Nuggets' 3-pointers. ... Denver is 5-0 with Watson in the starting
backcourt. ... Mohammed had scored only 21 points in January before