Notebook: Nuggets 96, Spurs 86



Posted Apr 11, 2013 2:28 AM

By Michael Kelly, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The 2012-13 Denver Nuggets are in the record books. Now they're aiming for a high seed and homecourt advantage in the Western Conference playoffs.

Wilson Chandler had a game-high 29 points, Corey Brewer came off the bench to score 28 and the Nuggets overcame a slow start to beat the San Antonio Spurs 96-86 on Wednesday night.

Andre Iguodala had a triple-double with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for the Nuggets (54-24), who set a franchise record with their 21st straight home win. The Nuggets also tied the franchise record for home wins (36) and overall wins (54) with four games left. They are sitting third in the Western Conference and have a chance to clinch the No. 3 seed by winning out. Tim Duncan and Gary Neal had 17 points apiece for the Spurs (57-21), who fell into a tie with Oklahoma City for the best record in the West.

QUOTABLE: "We need homecourt in the first round, so we're going to get every win we can get."

-- Corey Brewer

THE STAT: Denver made just two shots outside the paint in the first half, and both were 3-pointers by Brewer.

TURNING POINT: The game was close heading into the fourth, but with Duncan on the bench and Tony Parker not playing, the Nuggets took control. Chandler hit two free throws and a 3-pointer, while Iguodala and JaVale McGee had a steal and dunk each as Denver started the period on a 12-0 run to take an 82-63 lead.

QUOTABLE II: "I thought JaVale's 16 minutes were really good for us. A lot of emotion in those minutes. It was an ugly, sloppy win but we'll take it."

-- Nuggets coach George Karl

HOT: Brewer has turned up his game over the last month, but even more so the past three games. He has scored 20 or more points in each game and has provided a spark defensively with his speed and quick hands.

NOT: Neither team was good offensively in the first half despite being two of the top four scoring teams in the league this season. The Nuggets started the game by turning it over four times and missing their first six shots to fall behind 14-0. Then the Spurs, who hit six of their first eight shots, went 4-for-24 in one stretch, allowing Denver back in the game.

GOOD MOVE: Late in the third quarter the Nuggets started wresting control, and defense was a big part. On one San Antonio possession McGee blocked Duncan's shot. The Spurs got the offensive rebound and fed Duncan again but Chandler blocked his layup attempt to force a shot-clock violation.

QUOTABLE III: "JaVale got the block and then I saw Tim Duncan going up and I thought about it. I don't want to get dunked on so I went up and blocked it."

-- Wilson Chandler

BAD MOVE: The Spurs' 3-point shooting. They started missing early and never really got going. They finished 4-for-21 from behind the line and some misses led to easy fast-break points for Denver.

QUOTABLE IV: "When you don't make shots it's pretty easy fast break the way they did. I don't know what we were from 3 but it wasn't good. When you're that bad from the 3-point line and you turn it over at the same time people make runs."

-- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

ROOKIE WATCH: Nano De Colo started for the sixth time this season in place of Parker, who was out with a sore neck. De Colo had only two points and played just 5:54 in the second half.

NOTABLE: The Nuggets last home loss was Jan. 18 to Washington. ... The Spurs' 37 points in the first half was their season low for one half. ... Iguodala's triple-double was his first this season and ninth of his career. He was three turnovers from a dubious quadruple-double.

UP NEXT: For the Spurs, Friday vs. Sacramento, Sunday @ L.A. Lakers, Monday @ Golden State. For the Nuggets, Friday @ Dallas, Sunday vs. Portland, Monday @ Milwaukee.