DENVER, May 2 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan
had a big game, Tony Parker
some big shots and the San Antonio Spurs got a big win.
Duncan collected 39 points and 14 rebounds and Parker scored 11
of his 29 points in overtime as the Spurs grabbed control of
their Western Conference first-round series with an emotional
126-115 victory over the Denver Nuggets.
The second-seeded Spurs have stormed back after losing the
opener to win three in a row, including the last two in the
altitude of the Pepsi Center, where the seventh-seeded Nuggets
had lost just once in three months.
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For the first time in the postseason, Duncan looked like
himself. Still working his way back from a sprained ankle, he
made the Nuggets pay for not double-teaming him by sinking
13-of-23 shots and 13-of-14 free throws, torturing defenders in
the low post.
On three consecutive possessions late in the
fourth quarter, Duncan made a layup, hook and two foul shots,
pulling the Spurs into a tie each time.
After the free throws, Game 3 star Manu Ginobili
layup gave San Antonio a 105-103 lead with with 1:05 remaining.
sank a jumper, then answered Parker's 20-footer
from the corner with two free throws with 14 seconds left,
forcing overtime. However, there was no answer for Parker in
the extra session.
After a hook by Duncan, Parker sank a fast-break runner and beat
the shot clock with a jumper for a 113-107 lead - a cushion
that came in handy when Duncan fouled out with
Parker answered Anthony's tip-in with two free throws, then
sealed matters with a 3-pointer for a 118-109 advantage with
1:40 to go.
Duncan and Parker both bounced back from poor performances in
Game 3, when Duncan made just 5-of-19 shots and Parker
Ginobili scored 24 points off the bench for the Spurs, who were
an uncharacteristic 39-of-45 from the line and can advance to
the conference semifinals for the eighth time in nine years with
a win at home Wednesday.
The Nuggets rallied from a 12-point deficit late in the third
quarter to take the lead midway through the fourth period but
could not hold on. They wasted a career-high 32 points by
and 28 from Anthony.
The teams combined for 73 fouls, 37 by Denver, which made
38-of-46 free throws.
Duncan scored 18 points in the first half, when San Antonio led by as many as 10 points before settling for a 57-51 lead. Denver battled back for a 61-61 tie before Duncan got going again, making two free throws and a three-point play for an 87-75 bulge late in the third period.
In the fourth quarter, the Spurs missed nine straight shots, revisiting their awful finish from Game One. Anthony's jumper capped a 12-2 surge that gave the Nuggets a 97-94 edge with 4:24 to go.
and Kenyon Martin
scored 12 points apiece and Andre Miller
added 12 for Denver. But Martin and Miller fouled out in overtime, when the game became somewhat of a battle of attrition.