SAN ANTONIO, April 24 (Ticker) -- Marcus Camby
stared down Tim Duncan
the Denver Nuggets stood up to the San Antonio Spurs.
Camby held Duncan scoreless in the fourth quarter and the
Nuggets made all the plays down the stretch in a surprising
93-87 victory over the Spurs in Game 1 of their Western
Conference first-round series.
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scored 31 points for the seventh-seeded Nuggets,
who won a road playoff game for the first time in 11 years and
stole home-court advantage from the second-seeded Spurs, who
looked nothing like the favorite for the NBA championship.
A two-time MVP, Duncan missed 12 games late in the season due to
a sprained ankle. Although he had 18 points and 11 rebounds,
he was not at full strength and wilted against Denver's fleet of
big men, most notably Camby, who had 12 points, 12 rebounds and
"We felt confident," Camby said. "Everyone thought that the
Spurs would run through us and everyone is talking about the
Spurs vs. the Suns in the conference finals. This team has a
lot of heart and a lot of pride."
Second in the NBA in blocked shots, the 6-11 Camby helped harass
Duncan into 7-of-22 shooting. Three of those misses came in
the final minute, when San Antonio had to have a basket from its
"There were a lot of shots around the basket that I should have
made," Duncan said. "We were just missing our shots tonight. I
felt like we had some great looks."
"I thought we benefited a little bit from Timmy being rusty,"
Nuggets coach George Karl
Camby made 1-of-2 free throws to give the Nuggets an 86-84 lead
with 1:18 to play, then sank a short jumper 27 seconds later.
But his biggest impact came on defense.
Camby forced Duncan into missing a jumper and got the rebound.
He was stripped and the ball went back to Duncan, who missed a
jump hook over Camby.
After Miller made 3-of-4 free throws with the Spurs failing to
rebound the miss, Duncan missed a 15-footer with Camby
defending. Miller added two more free throws to seal it.
"All we can do is challenge (Duncan) and I thought most of his
shots were fairly contested," Karl said. "We're in pretty good
position on him and he usually makes most of those shots, but I
thought our defensive position never let him get an easy shot."
"He's obviously not in his typical rhythm," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
said. "He was not at the top of his game, but we knew
that going in. He's a competitor."
San Antonio missed 17 straight shots until Robert Horry
meaningless 3-pointer with nine seconds to play. The Spurs
scored six points in the final 10:20 and fell to 38-4 at home
this season - with two losses to the Nuggets.
"We missed a whole bunch of easy shots," said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili
, who scored a playoff career-high 23 points. "In a
game this close, the game is going to be decided by those
had 15 points and 15 rebounds for San Antonio,
which hosts Game 2 on Wednesday.
"It is a must-win game," Duncan said. "We need to get the next
one, play better and play smarter. The next game is very
important for us. We will play smarter than we did tonight."
Denver also was the tougher team. In the first quarter, guard
committed a flagrant foul on Ginobili, who
retaliated by elbowing Buckner in the face on a drive in the
second period. The Nuggets responded with eight straight points
to take a 34-33 lead.
"That's the playoffs," Buckner said. "You can get away with a
little more and guys understand what is at stake now and the
farther these games go, the more physical it is going to get."
With 1:59 left in the first half, Miller body-blocked Ginobili
and was whistled for a technical foul that put the Nuggets in a
48-39 hole. But they scored eight points in the last 12 seconds
of the half, forging a 52-52 tie.
After Miller made a jumper, Camby made a steal, went in for a
dunk and drew a foul. Following the free throw, Ginobili
committed an offensive foul and Miller threw in a banker from
"We were down nine points in the last two minutes of the second
quarter, but our guys made some big shots," Miller said. "After
that the energy carried over to the second half."
"The end of the second quarter killed us emotionally and
point-wise," Popovich said. "You don't want to lose that lead
against a team like Denver."
A jumper by Glenn Robinson
gave San Antonio an 81-76 lead with
10:20 left. Denver responded with seven consecutive points and
took the lead for good at 85-84 on a jumper by Earl Boykins
1:56 to play.