Spurs even up series with win

Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2005


  Denver Nuggets guard Andre Miller (24) stops a drive by San Antonio Spurs guard Brent Barry in the second quarter of a first-round playoff game in San Antonio, Wednesday, April 27, 2005. AP Photo/Eric Gay

Denver Nuggets guard Andre Miller (24) stops a drive by San Antonio Spurs guard Brent Barry in the second quarter of a first-round playoff game in San Antonio, Wednesday, April 27, 2005.

AP Photo/Eric Gay

SAN ANTONIO — The Denver Nuggets expected San Antonio to come out hard and fast in Game 2, and the Spurs didn't disappoint them.

But what did disappoint the Nuggets on Wednesday was the way they reacted.

The Spurs made nine of their first 10 shots and then outscored Denver by 20 points in the second quarter en route to a 104-76 win that evened their first-round playoff series at one win each.

''Any loss like that is embarrassing,'' said Denver's Carmelo Anthony, whose team shot just 36 percent. ''After the first game we expected someone to get better. They were the team that got better.''

Game 3 of the best-of-seven series will be played Saturday night in Denver, with Game 4 scheduled for Monday.

San Antonio, which lost the opener Sunday after missing 17 straight shots down the stretch, went back to basics on offense — that is, they got the ball to Tim Duncan.

On his first touch, Duncan drove on Kenyon Martin and hit a short bank shot. Next trip down, he backed down Marcus Camby in the post and flipped in a jump hook.

''We had great energy in that first half, great focus coming out of the gate,'' Duncan said. ''Everyone came out focused and knew the game plan. When we do that, we are tough to beat.''

Establishing Duncan early created shots on the perimeter, and the Spurs made them. They hit their first four 3-pointers, two by Brent Barry, and they owned an 11-point lead less than eight minutes into the game.

Camby said the Nuggets couldn't stop the Spurs or get anything going themselves.

''The whole game was terrible,'' he said. ''They got everything they wanted. It made for a long, tough night.''

Tony Parker scored 12 points in the first period, matching his total for all of Game 1. He finished with 19 points.

''I knew my offense would come,'' said Parker, who was more concerned about stepping up his defense on Andre Miller (31 points in Game 1).

Duncan had 24 points, while Manu Ginobili added 17 points in 18 minutes. Barry, who started in Ginobili's place, made all four of his 3-pointers for 16 points.

DerMarr Johnson led Denver with 12 points. Miller added 11 and Anthony 10, while Camby had 12 rebounds.

The Nuggets, who rely on their transition scoring, had only one fast-break basket in the game.

''We got back,'' Duncan said of the Spurs' transition defense. ''When the ball went up we had one or two guys on the offensive glass. We wanted everyone else back and keep (the Nuggets) in front of us.''

The Nuggets made three of their first four shots, then missed nine of their next 10 before a driving layup by Miller made it 23-12.

Wesley Person hit a corner 3-pointer early in the second quarter to trim San Antonio's lead to 29-21, but the Nuggets followed with another dry spell while the Spurs piled up points.

Bulls 113, Wizards 103

CHICAGO — Kirk Hinrich found his shooting touch and the Bulls are headed to Washington with a 2-0 lead in their opening-round playoff series.

Hinrich scored 21 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter and the Bulls overcame a strong start by the Wizards. Hinrich rebounded from a tough 8-for-23 shooting night in Chicago's 103-94 win in the opener Sunday night, hitting 12 of 15 shots and spearheading key runs at the end of the first half and beginning of the final quarter.

Antonio Davis added 18 points and Ben Gordon 14 for the Bulls.

Gilbert Arenas, held to nine points in the opener, picked up his game dramatically. He scored 39 — 16 in the final period — and helped the Wizards rally in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough.

Suns 108, Grizzlies 103

PHOENIX — The Suns erased a five-point deficit with a 14-4 run over the final 4:04 to take a 2-0 lead. Game 4 is Friday night in Memphis.

Amare Stoudemire, who scored just nine points in the series opener, had 34 points and 10 rebounds, including 18-of-22 shooting at the foul line. The physical Grizzlies sent Phoenix to the line 40 times, and the Suns made 32 of them.

Shawn Marion, playing with a sprained right wrist, added 22 points for Phoenix, including a pair of 15-footers that tied the game, then put Phoenix ahead for good. He also grabbed 13 rebounds.

Quentin Richardson had 15 points, and had a big blocked shot in the final minute.

Joe Johnson scored 20, while Steve Nash had 12 points and 15 assists.

Pau Gasol overpowered the smaller Suns most of the night for 28 points and 16 rebounds, both career playoff bests. Jason Williams scored 21, also a career playoff high, but was scoreless in the fourth quarter.

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