Notebook: Nuggets 112, Spurs 106

Posted Dec 19, 2012 1:09 AM

By Michael Kelly, for

THE FACTS: Danilo Gallinari scored a season-high 28 points, including two 3-pointers in the final five minutes, and the Denver Nuggets overcame a big night from veteran Tim Duncan to beat the San Antonio Spurs 112-106 on Tuesday night.

Kenneth Faried had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Corey Brewer had 16 points off the bench for the Nuggets, who won for the third straight time.

Duncan had a season-high 31 points to go with his 18 rebounds, six assists and five blocked shots for the Spurs, who have lost four of five. Manu Ginobili returned from a one-game absence to score 16 for San Antonio.

The Spurs trailed 98-83 early in the fourth before going on a 12-2 run to pull within five. Tony Parker's 3 with 3:38 left made it 103-100 before Gallinari came through with a clutch 3 from the wing.

QUOTABLE: "Gallinari just ripped our hearts out with those two 3s. On the one, Boris [Diaw] contested him better than anybody could possibly contest him and he just drilled that sucker. Making shots at the end of the game often wins games and Gallinari did it."
-- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

THE STAT: Duncan reached 23,000 points for his NBA career with two free throws early in the third quarter. Duncan, out of Wake Forest, joins Michael Jordan as the only two players in NBA history from the ACC to score at least 23,000 points in their career.

TURNING POINT: After the Spurs cut Denver's 15-point fourth-quarter lead to three, Gallinari launched a 3-pointer from the wing to stretch it to 108-102 with 3:15 left. After a Duncan turnover, Andre Miller hit a floater to give Denver a 110-102 lead with 2:36 left.

QUOTABLE II: "With the team we have we can have a different protagonist every game. Tonight it was me, maybe the next night it will be someone else. I was happy to knock down those shots."
-- Danilo Gallinari

HOT: Patty Mills was nearly the hero instead of Gallinari. The little-known guard out of Australia hit 5-for-8 3-pointers, including four in the second half. His 25-footer with 5:54 left brought the Spurs within five. He finished with 15 points.

HOT II: Despite playing with a cold/flu and spending his time on the bench trying to find energy, Faried notched his 11th double-double of the season and 23rd of his career.

NOT: Danny Green struggled from the field, going 1-for-8 from 3-point range and 1-for-10 overall.

GOOD MOVE: Kosta Koufas drew the main assignment on Duncan, and while the veteran got his points the rest of the Spurs' frontcourt was neutralized.

QUOTABLE III: "I don't care, I just show up. They play me however much they want to play me."
-- Tim Duncan, on logging 40 minutes on the second game of a back-to-back.

BAD MOVE: The Spurs employed a hack-a-JaVale McGee strategy late in the third quarter to good results. Trailing 82-69, they fouled McGee on four possessions and the 7-footer went just 2-for-8 in that span. The Spurs cut the lead to 10 but they missed five shots in the last 2:32 of the third and Denver led 90-75 heading into the fourth.

QUOTABLE IV: "They were scoring every time. We were running out of gas, running out of energy, so we figured if we could go up and down a few times and not have to play any defense that might put some fuel back in the tank."
-- Gregg Popovich, on fouling McGee.

NOTABLE: Duncan's double-double was his 14th of the season. ... Koufas had a career-high 14 rebounds and had four blocked shots. ... Brewer has scored 14 or more points in seven of the last nine games. He is averaging 14.8 points in that span.

UP NEXT: For the Spurs, Friday vs. New Orleans, Sunday vs. Dallas, Wednesday vs. Toronto. For the Nuggets, Thursday @ Portland, Saturday vs. Charlotte, Tuesday @ L.A. Clippers.