Nuggets fall to rejuvenated Spurs squad
SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs didn’t let Game 2 come down to fourth-quarter shooting.The Spurs made nine of their first 10 shots Wednesday and then outscored Denver by 20 points in the second quarter en route to a 104-76 win that evened their first-round playoff series at one win each.Game 3 will be Saturday night in Denver, with Game 4 scheduled for Monday.San Antonio, which lost the opener Sunday after missing 17 straight shots down the stretch, went back to basics on offense – that is, they got the ball to Tim Duncan.
On his first touch, Duncan drove on Kenyon Martin and hit a short bank shot. Next trip down, he backed down Marcus Camby in the post and flipped in a jump hook.Establishing Duncan early created shots on the perimeter, and the Spurs made them. They hit their first four 3-pointers, two by Brent Barry, and they owned an 11-point lead less than eight minutes into the game.Tony Parker scored 12 points in the first period, matching his total for all of Game 1. He finished with 19 points.Duncan had 24 points, while reserve Manu Ginobili added 17 points in 18 minutes. Barry, who started in Ginobili’s place, made all four of his 3-pointers for 16 points.DerMarr Johnson led Denver with 12 points. Andre Miller added 11 and Carmelo Anthony 10, while Camby had 12 rebounds.
The Nuggets made three of their first four shots, then missed nine of their next 10 before a driving layup by Miller made it 23-12.Wesley Person made a corner 3-pointer early in the second quarter to trim San Antonio’s lead to 29-21, but the Nuggets followed with another dry spell while the Spurs piled up points.A 10-foot jump hook by Duncan restored the Spurs’ double-digit lead with about 11 minutes left in the half. Less than four minutes later, a short runner by Parker made it 46-25. Parker later dished to Duncan for a dunk that extended San Antonio’s lead to 30 points with 2:27 remaining.The Nuggets missed 13 of their 14 shots during the Spurs’ 27-5 run.
San Antonio scored more in the second quarter (34) than Denver had in the first half (32).The Nuggets nearly doubled their points by scoring 30 in the third quarter, and several times they cut their deficit to 19. But each time the Spurs answered with a basket and they led 86-62 after three periods.Anthony made four of his five shots in the third period after going 1-for-9 in the first half, but he sat down late in the period after committing his fifth foul. He did not play in the fourth quarter.Notes: Duncan’s 24 points were his highest since scoring 25 against Minnesota on March 16. … Rasho Nesterovic played 14 minutes and Devin Brown six for San Antonio, and Eduardo Najera played four minutes for Denver. All three sat out Game 1 with injuries. … Anthony is 31-for-94 (33 percent) in four regular-season games and two playoff games against San Antonio this season. … After making their first 13 free throws in Game 1, the Spurs missed five of their first six Wednesday and finished 26-for-38.
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