Anthony, Camby Lift Nuggets Past Spurs
Denver 104, San Antonio 92
DENVER, March 22 (Ticker) -- When Bruce Bowen went to the bench, Carmelo Anthony rediscovered his offense.
Anthony scored 32 points and carried things offensively in the fourth quarter as the surging Denver Nuggets posted a 104-92 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, who continued to struggle in the second of back-to-back games.
Anthony scored 16 points in the first half before becoming frustrated by the tight defense of Bowen - one of the NBA's best on-the-ball defenders - in the third quarter. Anthony made just 2-of-7 shots in the third period, when the Nuggets squandered a double-digit lead.
However, Anthony found his rhythm in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 of his points after Bowen went to the bench for good with his fourth foul with 8:48 remaining. While Bowen was out, he did a majority of his damage against 11-year veteran Michael Finley.
"I'm just playing my game and not worrying about who we're playing against," Anthony said. "It's nice to come home and show the fans what we've been doing on the road. We've been playing well, especially the past eight games or so."
"Carmelo had a great game shooting the ball," Spurs All-Star Tim Duncan said.
Anthony's jumper with 4:55 remaining provided a 91-86 lead and triggered a decisive 9-1 surge. He also fed Greg Buckner for a layup in the burst that Patterson capped with an inside basket with 2:16 remaining for a 98-87 lead.
In reaching the 30-point mark for the 12th time in his last 20 games, Anthony made 13-of-23 shots and all six of his free throws.
"Carmelo Anthony's jump shot is really looking good," Denver coach George Karl said. "He's really been working on it. He's a hard guy to cover 1-on-1. I wouldn't want to cover him right now."
Andre Miller added 15 points and Buckner 13 for the Nuggets (40-30), who shot 47 percent (39-of-83) and held a commanding 58-27 rebounding advantage. Denver opened a 6 1/2-game lead over Utah in the division.
Manu Ginobili scored 26 points and Duncan 10 of his 22 in the fourth quarter for the Spurs, who fell to 5-9 in the second end of back-to-backs, a far cry from their 13-1 mark on the front end.
"There are no excuses here," Ginobili said. "They wanted the game more than us. They were more aggressive than us and we made too many silly mistakes."
"Things just weren't going our way and we didn't make the right plays," Duncan said.
Sparked by Anthony, the Nuggets led by as many as 18 points in the first half before settling for a 55-41 advantage at the break.
"I thought the Nuggets competed for 48 minutes," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "After we spotted them 18 points, we decided to compete. That's just not good enough."
The Spurs battled back in the third quarter behind Ginobili and Parker, who scored nine points apiece in the period. The duo combined for 13 points in a 14-2 surge that cut the deficit to 63-62 at the 5:43 mark.
Ginobili made a technical free throw with 1:33 left in the third quarter, giving the Spurs their first lead at 68-67. The quarter ended with Denver holding a 72-71 edge.
"We knew they were going to make a run but we kept our composure and finished off the game," Anthony said. "It was a great game out there."
Parker scored 14 points and Finley 11 for San Antonio (53-16), which fell one-half game behind Dallas for first place in Southwest Division.
Playing the opener of a five-game road trip, the Spurs shot 42 percent (32-of-77) and made just 21-of-34 free throws.
"It's hard to start the road trip like this," Ginobili said. "It puts a lot of pressure on the next four games."