for this game

Duncan, Spurs get revenge over Nuggets

Mar 11, 2008 - 4:43 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) - Tim Duncan scored 23 points as the San Antonio Spurs narrowly avoided a three-game losing streak by defeating the Denver Nuggets, 107-103, on Monday.

Duncan, who grabbed 18 rebounds, knocked down two free throws and Kurt Thomas added a 16-footer to give the Spurs a four-point advantage with 60 seconds remaining.

"Kurt Thomas hit a big shot," said Spurs guard Tony Parker, who had 16 points. "He's known to knock down that shot, and that was a big shot."

Thomas, who was acquired from Seattle to help down the stretch run, laughed when told he was pretty open for the jumper.

"Without a doubt," said Thomas, who scored eight of his 13 points in the first quarter. "They have to give up something. Instead of letting Tim beat them, they're going to let Kurt beat them. When they make that decision, I have to make them pay."

It was San Antonio's second game in four days against Denver, which posted a convincing 109-96 victory at home on Friday.

"There are good losses and bad losses," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "(Monday) is a good loss, and with the exception of losing our composure, we fought the way you're supposed to fight."

But the Spurs wouldn't let that happen again.

Parker raced down the court and threw up a layup high off the glass, giving the Spurs a 100-98 lead with 2:34 left. But the Nuggets responded as Kenyon Martin got free for basket following a timeout.

San Antonio then collected two huge offensive rebounds, leading to Duncan's late go-ahead free throws.

"That's what we are working towards," Duncan said. "We are trying to play harder for 48 minutes than anyone else."

"We did some positive things, just not enough to win," Denver guard Allen Iverson said. "They were just a better team at the end of the game. They have been through a lot, they have been tested, and it showed."

With the win, the defending champion Spurs (44-19) moved into a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for the top seed in the Western Conference standings.

Iverson scored 28 points and fellow All-Star Carmelo Anthony added 18 for Denver (37-26), which is 2 1/2 games behind Golden State (39-23) for the final spot in the West.

Prior to this one, Iverson discovered he had a minor fracture on the tip of his ring finger.

"The finger was sore and throbbing," Iverson said. "I was actually hoping to get hit on it to see how it would react, but never really did. I just had to deal with it being broken."

"(Iverson) is a very tough player, and we would have never been in this game without him," Karl said.