96 - 89 Final
  for this game

Ageless Horry nails huge shot to lift Spurs over Nuggets

May 1, 2007 - 7:08 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- The Denver Nuggets knew what was coming but they still couldn't stop Robert Horry.

Horry again drained a crucial 3-pointer down the stretch and Tim Duncan collected 22 points and 11 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs took a commanding 3-1 lead with a 96-89 victory over the Nuggets in their first-round Western Conference series.

Manu Ginobili added 18 points and six assists for the Spurs, who took a lead in the series following a 96-91 victory on Saturday in which they got key contributions from a pair of veterans - including Horry.

"Another game just like the three previous ones," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "Very physical, both teams playing pretty well. And we were fortunate enough to knock down a few shots down the stretch. I feel very fortunate to get out of here with a victory against one (heck) of a team."

In his 15th season, Horry owns six championship rings as a member of the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and Spurs. But the lanky forward was more than just along for the ride on those squads.

Horry built a reputation for hitting clutch shots in the biggest moments and it was no different Monday. The 36-year-old forward, who already has hinted that this will be his last season, thwarted Denver during crunch time.

After Nuggets guard Steve Blake's long two pulled the Nuggets to within one, Horry came up big for the second straight contest. Benefitting from penetration by the lightning-quick Tony Parker, Horry dropped in a high-arching 3-pointer from the right corner to make it 93-89 with 30 seconds left.

"It felt good. (Marcus) Camby really contested it, and I had to shoot it high," Horry said. "I thought it was going to be short but it went in. Tony penetrated and just passed it to me in the corner. I don't think that would of made the top five or 10 (best shots) for me. There was too much time left on the clock and too many things could of still happened."

Horry praised his teammates for his success.

"I just love the fact that my teammates have the confidence in me to do the things that I do," Horry said. "I couldn't do it without them. I don't know if the play was designed for me, it was designed for me to go to the corner though.

"Now that I think about it, maybe it was for me. It was just team basketball and Tony found me. That team has some competitors over there and they are going to come back at us really hard next game."

Ginobili was at a loss for words.

"What can you say? (Horry) has done it so many times we are getting used to it," Ginobili said. "It makes me upset that he makes it look so easy. It didn't even touch the net.

"It was just a great play. That was the play that really killed them. We are lucky to have him. You just have to trust him. Every time he puts it up, it is a good shot for us."

The veteran forward, who also drained an off-balance jumper with 43 seconds left to secure Saturday's victory, shot 2-of-3 from the floor.

But the key to game - as always for San Antonio - was the relentless defensive effort, especially against Nuggets superstar Allen Iverson.

"We are trying hard. Bruce (Bowen) is a very good defender," Popovich said. "As I said before, we are not going to stop people like Iverson, he's a great player. But we hope at the end of a game that he's worked hard to get what he does end up with.

"And I thought (Bowen) and (Parker) both were spending time trying to guard him and they are working very hard and using most of their energy trying to guard him. And they are doing a decent job."

After scoring just 20 points on 7-of-20 from the field in Saturday's loss, Iverson continued to struggle from the field on Monday - nailing just 9-of-25 shots.

"I just didn't play well. I'm searching for my game," Iverson said. "I had so many good looks, so many easy baskets that I missed. It's getting frustrating at times. It's just something I've got to fight through."

But the All-Star guard, who had just 17 assists in the first three games of the series, tried to bring his squad back with unselfish play - dishing out seven assists.

In front of a raucous crowd, the fourth quarter was played at a frantic pace with both teams trading blows. But the Nuggets, who shot 54 percent (30-of-56) in the first three periods, seemed to run out of gas.

Denver shot just 33 percent (7-of-22) in the fourth quarter, getting outscored, 26-19.

"I thought we had a pretty good offensive game going until that fourth quarter," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I thought we ran out of gas. Playing a reduced rotation I thought caught up to us in the fourth quarter. I thought we were fatigued in the fourth. (The Spurs) seemed to have more energy down the stretch."

Duncan shot 9-of-19 from the field and Ginobili was 5-of-15, including 3-of-8 from the arc for the Spurs, who shot 46 percent (37-of-81) from the field, including 8-of-25 from the arc.

Carmelo Anthony continued his strong play, scoring 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting for the Nuggets, who will have to win Wednesday in San Antonio to keep their season alive. Only eight teams in NBA history have come back from a 3-1 deficit.

"Heart and guts is all Game Five is going to be," Karl said. "I know they will say that the odds are against us, but we can win this next game. I'm not going to rationalize about this loss by saying they've been together for eight years and we've been together for eight weeks.

"But we can still win basketball games. I think we hurt ourselves by not getting those missed shots, but overall I thought we played a good game."

Anthony also thinks his squad still has a shot.

"Of course after losing three games straight - two at home - everybody is going to be disappointed and down," Anthony said. "I like to try and tell everybody 'It ain't over.' I know a lot of people are counting us out already, but anything can happen.

"We can go down there, and if we play the way we've been playing for this whole series, I'm pretty sure we have a good chance of bouncing back and getting a win in San Antonio."

  • chairmanlau From game 4:

    "After Camby, who had 17 boards and four blocks, slapped away one of his shots, Duncan stared down official Bill Kennedy for 10 seconds as his teammates walked past him to the bench during a timeout. Kennedy ignored him and didn't whistle a technical the crowd was calling for."

    It's the staring I was talking about from the commercial!

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  • mark are you kidding me? who in their right mind leaves big shot bob open?

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  • mark wow! on his first bucket of the night!

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    --- --- --- --- -----
    SAN ANTONIO 20 22 25 67
    DENVER 27 23 23 73 END 3RD QTR
    PARKER 10
    NENE 14

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