The San Antonio Spurs bring out the worst in the Denver Nuggets.
After holding the Nuggets to a franchise-low 61 points less than two weeks ago, the Spurs added another black mark to Denver's record book with an 86-65 victory Thursday night.
The 65 points were the fewest Denver has ever scored at home, and the lopsided loss was the third by 20 points or more for the Nuggets this season. All three have come against the Spurs.
Tim Duncan scored 28 points and David Robinson added 12 points and 13 rebounds for the streaking Spurs, who have won nine straight against Denver and 12 of 13 overall.
Vainly trying to defend both 7-footers, the Nuggets had no answer for San Antonio's inside game. Denver shot 31 percent from the field and were outscored 44-20 in the paint.
"They're kind of undersized," Robinson said. "They start two forwards at 6-9 and then a center at 6-7, so there are tough matchups for them. They're athletic, but at the same time, it's hard shooting over 7-footers every time you turn around."
Antonio Daniels, playing through a bout with the flu, had 12 points off the bench to spark the Spurs, who have rebounded from their 6-8 start.
"I'm feeling a little bit better, but this cough is killing me," Daniels said. "This is the worst place to play if you're sick the worst place, because even if you're healthy, you can't breathe. If you're sick, it's that much worse."
Antonio McDyess had 17 points and Nick Van Exel 16 to lead the Nuggets, whose previous low at home was 67 points against Detroit on Jan. 1, 1998.
The Spurs started slowly and fell behind by 11 points, but Duncan took advantage of his 3-inch height advantage over McDyess to hit 11-of-18 shots. He also converted 6-of-7 free throws and locked three shots.
"I was feeling good early," Duncan said. "I was getting more aggressive, going in hard to draw some fouls and get some baskets."
The Nuggets trailed by 15 points at halftime and closed to 66-56 late in the third quarter, but the Spurs went on a 12-0 run over the final three minutes of the third and the first 2:33 of the fourth to pull away.
"I knew it was going to be a tough game because they've already beaten us by 30 twice," McDyess said. "They get up on us, and we're saying there's no way we can beat this team."
Though little consolation, Denver avoided matching the 61 points it scored at San Antonio on March 13. The Spurs still won four games against the Nuggets by an average of 23 points.
Denver led 17-6 early, but San Antonio used an 18-5 run over the first and second quarter to go ahead for good.
The Spurs had nine straight field goals inside the paint during one stretch, made 15 of 21 shots and outscored Denver 37-20 in the second quarter to take a 55-40 lead into halftime.
The Nuggets, who were 5-of-16 in the second period, went nearly 19 minutes without scoring consecutive baskets.
Notes: Duncan played 46 minutes the last time the Spurs were in Denver. He logged 34 minutes Thursday night. ... McDyess grabbed his 2,000th career rebound in the second quarter. ... The Nuggets are 0-11 when scoring 90 points or less and 1-15 when trailing at half. ... Duncan and Daniels combined for 16 of San Antonio's 18 first-quarter points. ... Denver is 8-for-42 on 3-pointers in four losses to the Spurs this season. ... During their 12-1 stretch, the Spurs have won eight road games.
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