DENVER, Nov. 26 (Ticker) --
It didn't take long for Tim Duncan
San Antonio Spurs to have the Denver Nuggets feeling ill.
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Duncan scored 10 of his 23 points in a decisive game-opening run
as the Spurs cruised to an 89-75 victory over the Nuggets, who
played most of the game without flu-ridden Kenyon Martin
The Spurs wasted no time establishing their superiority. They
never trailed, scoring the first eight points and building a
23-6 lead in the first eight minutes.
Duncan had a lot to do with the hot start as the two-time MVP
worked over Marcus Camby
, who looked like he needed some help
from Martin. But the All-Star forward was not feeling well and
called it a night midway through the first period, leaving
Denver without its best two-way player.
"They have three other capable big guys," Duncan said. "It
really didn't change much of what I wanted to do."
"Martin is a heck of a player and he gives them a lot of
energy," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
said. "It made things
easier on us, that's for sure."
"We missed Kenyon Martin tonight, but we have no excuses,"
Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik
said. "Other people need to step up."
San Antonio toyed with Denver after the opening spurt, never
letting the lead dip below seven points. The Spurs used surges
at the end of the second quarter and beginning of the third
period to answer rallies by the Nuggets and maintain control.
"We started pretty well," said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili
scored 16 points. "When our defense is there, it makes it a lot
easier to make some shots."
Duncan made 10-of-15 shots and collected 13 rebounds and six
blocks, backstopping a defensive effort that held the Nuggets to
34 percent (28-of-82).
"The defense was the key from the beginning to the end of the
game," Popovich said. "For us, that was the ballgame."
scored 24 points for the Nuggets, who had won
the first four games of their five-game homestand. Denver has
lost 13 of its last 15 meetings with San Antonio.
"It was an ugly loss," Anthony said. "It was tough to come back
against a team like that."
made just 1-of-10 shots and Nene was 2-of-10 for
Denver, which fell to 1-5 when shooting below 40 percent.
"When you don't shoot well from the perimeter and don't shoot
well in the paint, you are going to struggle," Bzdelik said.
The Nuggets closed to 40-33 in the second quarter before
Ginobili scored seven points in a 13-4 surge that closed the
first half and gave the Spurs a 53-37 advantage. Denver opened
the third quarter with eight sraight points, which an Antonio
immediately answered with 10 in a row.