for this game

Surging Spurs hold down Nuggets' superstars

Feb 21, 2007 - 6:06 AM SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Despite high expectations, Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson continued to disappoint.

With the superstar duo combining to score just 24 points, Tony Parker scored 17 points and Tim Duncan added 12 and six rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs overwhelmed the Denver Nuggets, 95-80, for their third straight win.

Just 2-5 with both Anthony and Iverson in the lineup, the new-look Nuggets have yet to jell.

"It's just going to be tough for a while," Iverson said. "(Anthony and he) have to get some practice in and some more games in. But we have to get it done. It has to happen right now. We don't have time for that. We can't make excuses for that because no one cares about that."

It will not get any easier as they will face Northwest Division-leading Utah on Friday and the league's top club - Dallas - on Saturday.

"Our work is cut out for us this week," Denver center Marcus Camby said. "We have Utah coming in on Friday, then get in late and play Dallas on Saturday. So, we have to find a way to weather the storm."

The Spurs' swarming defense engulfed Iverson, who was playing his first game since February 7 and just his second since January 29 after battling a sprained right ankle.

For his part, Anthony did not pick up the slack as the two have yet to spark the offense together for Denver, which posted its season-low point total on Tuesday.

"Every time I got the ball in scoring areas, they had four guys looking at me," Iverson said. "They just had a great defensive scheme. Once I beat one man, there were two or three other men there. But I think I got other guys shots. We just didn't make any."

Holding an 11-point lead, San Antonio outscored Denver, 30-10, in third quarter to blow the game wide open - taking a 79-48 lead into the final period. The Spurs nailed 7-of-13 shots from the arc in the quarter.

Duncan felt the defensive effort led the way in the pivotal third period and will be important the rest of the season.

"(Defense is) going to be the key to the stretch run here," Duncan said. "We have to really turn that defense up and really keep people off our offensive glass and that's something that has hurt us tremendously throughout the first half of the season."

Parker was 7-of-11 from the field and Duncan shot 4-of-9 for San Antonio, which shot 46 percent (38-of-82) for their fourth win in their last six games.

"Yeah, we're getting there," Duncan said. "I hate to come out of the break and say something different about the team just on one win, but we are starting to turn the corner."

Nene scored 13 points and DerMarr Johnson added 11 for the Nuggets, who shot 43 percent (31-of-73) to suffer their second loss in their last five games.

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