Duncan, Spurs escape with 100-99 win over Nuggets
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Tim Duncan had 23 points and 14 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs escaped with a 100-99 win over Denver on Wednesday night when Nuggets veteran guard Andre Miller missed a short jumper at the buzzer.Danny Green added 20 points and Tony Parker had 18 points and 11 assists for the Spurs, who remained 1 1/2 games ahead of Oklahoma City in the race for the top spot in the Western Conference. Kawhi Leonard chipped in with 11 points and Tiago Splitter had 10.JaVale McGee had 21 points and 11 rebounds, Wilson Chandler scored 15 points and Miller 14 for the Nuggets, whose reserves outscored their Spurs counterparts 59-18. Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari added 12 points apiece and Andre Igoudala had 10.The Spurs (54-17) pulled within two games of Miami (56-15) in the loss column for the league’s best record. The Heat lost 101-97 at Chicago, snapping their 27-game winning streak.San Antonio escaped with its sixth straight home victory in a game that had 20 lead changes.Duncan missed a 15-foot jumper with 10.2 seconds left, setting up Miller’s driving attempt that bounced off the back of the rim as the buzzer sounded. Parker sprained his right middle finger late in the third quarter, but returned to score four points in the fourth.Continuing the momentum they captured late in the first half, the Spurs outscored Denver 32-21 during a third quarter in which they shot 3 for 3 from 3-point range. The Nuggets failed to score any fast-break points in the third and were 9 for 23 in the quarter.Denver opened the game by missing its first six shots, including a pair of 3-point attempts, as San Antonio raced to a 7-0 lead. The Nuggets closed within 14-12 on eight points by Faried off a series of short jumpers, layups and a dunk.Denver opened the second quarter on a 12-0 run to take a 39-28 lead. San Antonio went 3 minutes without scoring before Parker double-pumped to make a contested layup.The Nuggets were 23 for 39 following that early drought, continually attacking the basket against the Spurs.Green made three straight 3s to fuel a 12-4 run to close the first half, pulling San Antonio within 54-51. Green also had a free throw in the run, closing the first half with 19 points while shooting 6 for 7 from long range.NOTES: The Spurs are 64-19 at home against the Nuggets, which includes games at all three of the franchise’s home courts: the Hemisfair Arena, Alamodome and AT&T Center. . Ty Lawson had two points and played 19 minutes after being listed as a game-time decision due to strained and bruised right heal. . The Spurs’ Australian contingent – G Patty Mills and C Aron Baynes – were both on the inactive list. . Nuggets G Julyan Stone (knee) sat out with an injury. Stone has been inactive 61 times this season and had seven did not play-coach’s decision. . Parker gave Duncan an inquisitive look when the All-Star power forward opted to toss a three-quarters court pass to Leonard off a rebound rather than give it to the point. Duncan’s pass sailed untouched out of bounds as Parker stared dumbfounded, before smiling and shaking his head. . Former Spurs center David Robinson received a huge ovation when he appeared on the large television displays as the team honored those in attendance who had served in the Armed Forces.
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