San Antonio Spurs 126, Denver Nuggets 100: A night when everything, even a Duncan three, fell right.


AT&T CENTER — Though Spurs center Tim Duncan has hit a memorable 3-pointer or two, the long distance shot is hardly part of his established repertoire.

But on a night when everything else seemingly dropped in a 126-100 win over the Denver Nuggets, perching himself in the corner in the closing seconds of the first half, Duncan lined up and nailed his 3-point attempt to give the San Antonio Spurs a 60-40 halftime lead.

“When the shots are falling,” shooting guard Danny Green said, “the game is easier.”

Hitting 16-of-27 from behind the arc is enough to make an easy go of any opponent, let alone one that has struggled as the Nuggets have this early season. All but three Spurs (Tony Parker, DeJuan Blair, and Tiago Splitter) connected from deep as the Spurs assisted on 33 of their 47 made baskets.

DeJuan Blair (19 points, eight rebounds, and three assists) and Stephen Jackson (nine points, nine rebounds, and three assists) got tabbed for the starting lineup, providing the energy the team lacked down the stretch in its previous showdown with the New York Knicks.

Blair set the tone, dropping a beautiful pass on a Danny Green backdoor cut for a dunk. The on-again-off-again starter moved his feet on defense, jumped passing lanes (two steals), and put the Nuggets frontline in early foul trouble (six free throw attempts in the first quarter).

“They did a great job of finding the open man and hitting somebody with a little bit better shot,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after the game.

When the shots are falling and the ball is moving the game becomes as simple as shots falling through the net, as Popovich visually pantomimed for a reporter asking about the difference in Manu Ginobili’s game.

“There’s this orange thing,” Popovich said as he brought his hands together in the shape of a rim, “and when the ball goes in there that’s what we’re looking for.”

Struggling through back spasm for much of this early season, Ginobili broke through for 20 points on 7-10 shooting and five 3-pointers—his shot finally displaying its usual lift and arch.

Before the game Popovich said Ginobili’s back was finally moving in the right direction, something that was notably visible as Manu worked his way through a variety of step back jumpers and curls during his pregame shoot around.

“I kind of knew from the warm-up that I was going to have a better game,” Ginobili said. “I had a different mental approach and I was feeling pretty good.

“I had a couple tough weeks where (the back) was bothering me, in my head too, now I think I’m getting over it.”

A Ginobili resurgence couldn’t come at a better time with a seemingly much improves Los Angeles Clippers coming to San Antonio on Monday night.

When these two teams last met the Spurs were at the opposite end of the NBA’s up-and-down spectrum. On a night when everything fell right, including a Duncan 3-pointer, the Spurs can only hope Ginobili’s momentum carries forward.

  • MrNiko

    I know you guys are against bringing back the grading system, but you should bring it back pretty quickly. It’s popular with your readers, and you can just as easily write up an excellent review of the game like the one above this comment, and then slap some grades down at the bottom. That way you end up with a pretty good review of the game, a spurcentric box score, and a grade of how you guys thought each player performed. Total coverage.

  • David Salazar

    i agree

  • Bruno

    That’s the team that i like(except for some lazy defense later in the game…), Spurs players were clearly pissed and played hard.

  • Bruno


  • rj


    what is your take on matt moore’s assesment of tiago? it was pretty damning.

    hopefully manu gets his legs under him with kawhi being out.

  • mivanov

    here’s a link to the 3 pointer

  • GonzoGinobili

    Yes, a thousand times, yes. I know it was a big work load, but it was totally unique and set you guys apart.

  • TD BestEVER

    Where is this assessment?

  • TD BestEVER

    DJB back on the RISE!!!!!!!!!!! Dude needs to be a regular rotation guy until he screws up majorly……. he has played extremely this year when given the chance to play – even in limited minutes

  • phillip mabry

    Grading system = awesome

  • phillip mabry


  • Bentley

    Anybody have video of Tiago dunking on JaVale McGee?

  • ThatBigGuy

    He’s played well….because of his limited minutes.

  • John M. Perkins

    Focus on your better writing. Leave the grading to Spurstalk.

  • Tyler

    Agreed. Simple gut-reaction grades don’t set you apart. You guys have done that with great, creative, thought provoking writing.