Duncan, Spurs rebound in Game Two, beat NuggetsApr 26, 2007 - 3:33 AM SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs were not going to let the Denver Nuggets just walk in and steal two games.
Duncan scored 22 points and Tony Parker added 20 as the Spurs posted a 97-88 victory over the Nuggets to even their Western Conference first-round series at one game apiece.
Manu Ginobili scored 17 points, including a key burst in the third quarter, and Michael Finley added 14 points to help San Antonio take control of the contest.
"It was a good game played both ways," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "You had two basketball teams knocking it out and we were able to get the lead and hang on."
The Spurs were beaten, 95-89, in Game One on Sunday as Duncan was held to 14 points, six below his regular-season average. The nine-time All-Star watched Denver All-Stars Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony combine for 61 points to take early home-court advantage away from the Spurs.
"We knew it was going to be a long series," Duncan said. "They're playing great basketball and caught their stride towards the end of the season. They're a (heck) of a talented team, and we respect them. They got that first one, unfortunately, but we have to go to Denver and try to get that first one to get our homecourt back."
On Wednesday, Duncan, tallied 10 first-half points as San Antonio led, 49-41, entering the third period. He was ably assisted by Parker, who totaled 12 points at the half.
In the third quarter, after the Nuggets had cut a 14-point lead down to 65-55 with 3:08 left on a follow shot by Anthony, Ginobili went to work. The 29-year-old Argentine, who was held to nine points in Game One, scored on a layup with 2:34 remaining before nailing a 3-pointer from the left corner 18 seconds later to put Spurs up 70-55.
"In the first half I tried to find the open player and I think I did it pretty well," Ginobili said. "Then, in the second half, I made a couple of shots and the whole game opened for me."
Ginobili's two free throws with 29 ticks left in the period gave San Antonio a 74-60 lead entering the final quarter.
After trailing by as many as 17 points in the last period, Denver rallied by using a 16-5 run to get back into the contest.
"Well, we know how dangerous they can be," Ginobili said. "A.I. and Carmelo, they can make some crazy shots even though you are playing good defense. You just have to be aware of that and be ready mentally to play 48 minutes. You have to be smart and respect them even if they are down 15 or 20."
When Nene dunked on a feed from Iverson, the Nuggets trailed, 89-85, with 1:12 left.
"We didn't back down," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "They had numerous runs and numerous momentum swings that could have broken our hearts. We got over it, but not until there were about two minutes left."
After Ginobili made a layup with 58 seconds remaining, Iverson, who finished with 20 points, dropped a shot from the arc to cut the deficit to 91-88 with 45 seconds left.
"We felt like we had a chance to win this game on their home court," Iverson said. We had all the opportunity in the world."
However, Duncan hit a short bank shot with 28 ticks remaining and Finley and Parker made four free throws in the last 17 seconds to close out the scoring.
"I'm pretty confident in that going down for me," Duncan said. "And if I get in that position, I like that shot. I'm going to continue to shoot it, and hopefully, it goes down even more."
The Spurs, who saw the Nuggets shoot 46 percent from the field in the first game, held Denver to 39 percent (34-of-88) while connecting on 44 percent (35-of-80).
Anthony scored 26 points and Nene added 17 for the Nuggets, who have lost 14 straight playoff Game Twos.
"I thought we could have won this game," said Nuggets center Marcus Camby, who tied his playoff career high with 18 rebounds. "We missed a lot of easy shots that we normally make, but we still made a game out of it. Give the Spurs credit, they came out here and got the game. They needed it."
Game Three is in Denver on Saturday.
"I can't wait to get home," Anthony said. "It feels like we've been out here forever. We're going back home in front of our fans knowing that we're coming home with one game under our belts. It's always good to get one game on the road."
SAN ANTONIO 97 FINAL
Apr 25 9:31 PM
SAN ANTONIO 74 END, 3RD QTR
Apr 25 8:51 PM
SAN ANTONIO 49 HALFTIME
Apr 25 8:06 PM
SAN ANTONIO 24 END, 1ST QTR
Apr 25 7:31 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