Spurs use second half surge to beat Nuggets 102-94
Things looked bleak in the first half as the San Antonio Spurs were unable to stop a Denver Nuggets 3-point barrage, but in the second half Denver cooled down and the Spurs heated up, using a 30-16 fourth quarter to take a 102-94 win.
Tim Duncan’s 17 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and four blocks and Tony Parker’s 24 points led the way, but it was actually the Spurs bench that shot them back in the game. With 3:45 left in the third, Patty Mills and Jeff Ayres entered for Parker and Duncan. At the time the Spurs were down eight. By the time both franchise cornerstones came back in, the Spurs were up three. Mills, Ayres, Boris Diaw and Manu Ginobili all scored during that run.
From there, Parker, Duncan and a dash of Kawhi Leonard took it home for the Spurs. The trio scored ten of the final 14 points. All three also played 34 minutes, so it’ll be interesting to see how much they play against Phoenix Wednesday night.
A couple of other items:
-The Spurs recorded 14 steals and scored 18 points off Denver turnovers. The steals stat in particular is very un-Spursy but it shows they can take advantage of other teams’ mistakes.
-This game featured two frontlines that couldn’t be any different from one another. Early in the game, the Spurs seemed to have trouble with JaVale McGee’s length and athleticism and Kenneth Faried’s energy. They figured it out eventually (making jump shots and slowing the game down certainly helped), but it shows they still struggle with extra athletic line ups that get up and down the court.
-Coach Pop kept a short leash on Danny Green in the first half. Green started the game on Randy Foye, who couldn’t miss early. About 90 seconds into the game, Pop subbed in Marco Belinelli for Green. While Green wasn’t as active as he could’ve been to start the game, Pop quickly going to Belinelli shows a high amount of confidence in the reserve guard shockingly early into his time with the Spurs. Green still obviously has value due to his defense and 3-point shot that will eventually start falling, but Belinelli’s play means we could be seeing less of Green in crunch time even if the Spurs use a small lineup.
The Spurs head home to San Antonio where they play the Suns Wednesday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. central time.