Iverson, Anthony lead Nuggets to upset of SpursApr 23, 2007 - 3:37 AM SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- The San Antonio Spurs are in their customary position as favorites. Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony had something to say about that.
Iverson and Anthony combined for 61 points as the Denver Nuggets used a decisive fourth-quarter run en route to a 95-89 victory over the Spurs in Game One of their first-round series.
Nene had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Nuggets, who carried their impressive play in the season's final month into the postseason. Denver set a franchise mark for wins in April (10) while dropping just one game during that time.
"We know what kind of series this is," Iverson said. "We know what kind of team they are . They're a great team, a well-coached team that has a lot of pride. They're not going to just give up. They want to win a championship just like we want to win one."
Nuggets coach George Karl thinks his team can play even better.
"I'm happy with our basketball team," Karl said. "We know San Antonio is going to play a lot better, but we can play a lot better. At least that's my feeling."
Meanwhile, the Spurs are expected to face off with Dallas in a rematch of last season's classic seven-game Western Conference semifinals series. But San Antonio hit a stumbling block in the fourth quarter on Sunday.
Trailing by three points with 7:58 left in the final period, the Nuggets went on a 15-2 run - capped by Nene's layup with 3:27 remaining - to make it 87-77. The Spurs then went on one last spurt, a 12-4 burst capped by Duncan's jam to make it 91-89 with 18 seconds left.
"We understood they were going to make that run," Iverson said. "We didn't panic and just kept playing basketball. We were just stronger."
However, San Antonio did not score again.
"In the second half, they really outplayed us," Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. "Melo (Anthony) and Iverson started making big shots. They played better defense, and really improved in the second half, so they deserved it. They played better than us."
The Nuggets had no such problems thanks to their two superstars, who combined to shoot 21-of-40 from the field - including 3-of-7 from the arc. Attacking one of the best defensive squads in the league, the duo looked like the high-flying offensive tandem it was supposed to be.
"(Anthony and Iverson) played pretty solid," Duncan said. "They shot the ball very well and made a lot of jump shots on us. We're going to have to make some adjustments in that respect, but all in all, I thought we stayed in front of them and they just made some tough ones."
Iverson credited Anthony.
"Carmelo's a great player," Iverson said. "Having the luxury of being able to pass the ball to someone like Melo is great. He is very effective on the basketball court."
It took a while for the two to mesh after Iverson was traded from Philadelphia near midseason and Anthony returned from a 15-game suspension for his part in a brawl in New York on December 16. However, they have come together just in time for a tough series against the Spurs.
"It's a long series," Iverson said. "We understood they're going to come back. Their fans are going to be into it, and they're going to be into it. They're going to have that sense of urgency. We expect that. We just have to match that intensity."
Duncan had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Tony Parker had 19, eight assists and six rebounds for the Spurs, who shot 42.5 percent (37-of-87) from the field, including 8-of-23 on 3-pointers.
"There are no excuses," Duncan said. "Bottom line, they played better than us. We got to positions and took shots that we wanted to take, and they didn't go down for us. Hopefully, we can change that next game and hopefully knock out those shots."
SAN ANTONIO 89 FINAL
Apr 22 9:37 PM
SAN ANTONIO 66 END, 3RD QTR
Apr 22 8:52 PM
SAN ANTONIO 42 HALFTIME
Apr 22 8:08 PM
SAN ANTONIO 16 END, 1ST QTR
Apr 22 7:32 PM
- Thunder will try to bounce back after big loss to Warriors May 20
- Towns, Porzingis unanimously selected to All-Rookie 1st team May 19
- 24 teams set for NBA Summer League in Las Vegas in July May 18
- Cavs 9-0 in these playoffs, and joining rarefied NBA air May 18
- Timberwolves' Towns is unanimous Rookie of the Year pick May 16
- Defending champion Warriors expect tough task from Thunder May 16
- Capsule preview of the Warriors-Thunder West finals May 15
- Durant, Thunder beat Spurs and return to conference finals May 13
- Spurs unsure if Duncan or Ginobili will return May 13
- Thunder beat Spurs, advance to Western Conference finals May 13
- How many times has your team changed coaches in the Pop era? May 12
- Spurs' Duncan competing with Thunder, Father Time May 12