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Spurs Walk All Over Nuggets


In an NBA season of futility, the Denver Nuggets were the latest victims.

Denver managed a franchise low for points in a 92-61 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night.

Tim Duncan led the Spurs, who won their seventh straight game, with 27 points.

"I really have no explanation," said Denver coach Mike D'Antoni. "They defended us well and at some point in the game we decided to bang it inside where we had no chance. It was a little bit of them, but a lot more us. We just played poorly tonight."

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  • The 61 points by Denver was also the lowest point total ever scored against San Antonio. The Nuggets previous low was 63 points, which they have done twice before.

    Duncan was joined in double figures by Sean Elliott, who scored 18 points, while David Robinson added 12, and Antonio Daniels had 11.

    Denver dropped its seventh straight game despite 23 points from Antonio McDyess, while Nick Van Exel added 16 points. The Nuggets connected on only 21 of 73 (28.8 percent) of their field goal attempts.

    "There's no question they are one of the toughest matchups," said McDyess, who was 9 of 21 from the field. "You get by Tim Duncan and there's another seven-footer waiting for you in the paint. They had a great defensive scheme tonight."

    San Antonio took a 17-16 lead on an Elliott dunk with 5:41 to play in the first quarter and never looked back in routing the Nuggets.

    Behind 18 first half points by Duncan and 15 from Elliott, San Antonio led 53-36 at halftime. The Spurs held Denver to 12 of 38 shooting from the floor over the first 24 minutes.

    "We wanted to come out strong," said San Antonio guard Avery Johnson, who had eight assists. "We weren't sure we would be able to play a full 48 minutes after that game last night. Sean (Elliott) came out tonight like he ended last night and hat gave us some energy."

    The Spurs continued to pour it on in the third quarter, grabbing a 62-38 lead on a Duncan jump shot with 7:35 remaining in the quarter.

    Leading 68-49 going to the fourth quarter, San Antonio continued build its advantage, stretching the lead to as many as 33 points, 92-59, on an Andrew Gaze 3-point field goal with 1:57 remaining.

    San Antonio, which connected on 44.9% of its field goal attempts, held Denver to 25 points in the second half.

    "Shooting percentages have gotten better for most teams the more ball they've played," Popovich said. "We've gotten into a groove, because our percentage has gone up to a degree."

    San Antonio, which led the NBA and set a new league record last season in opponent field goal percentage, have now held two teams this season to all-time low scoring totals. On Feb. 21, Detroit managed only 64 points against the Spurs.

    "They defended us great tonight," said Denver guard Chauncey Billups, who was 0-4 from the floor. "They do that to a lot of teams. Anytime you have two seven-footers it eliminates a lot in the paint."

    San Antonio was also able to force Denver into 20 turnovers.

    "We can't forget the struggles we have been through," Robinson said. "We had some basic problems early, but we were able to fix some of those. Now we are playing better. When we start playing .500-and-better teams again, the challenge will really be there. But when you get on a roll, you want the games to keep coming."

    For Denver, its road woes continue. The Nuggets are now 0-12 this season and have lost 18 straight away from McNichols Arena. Over the last two seasons, Denver is now 2-51 in road games. NOTES: With the double-figure scoring effort against Denver, San Antonio forward Sean Elliott has now scored in double digits in 13 games. ... Last season he was in double figures only 14 times total. ... When Elliott scores 12-or-more points the Spurs are now 9-2. ... Denver is now 0-12 on the road this season and have now dropped 18 straight over the last two years. ... Denver is now 0-9 when scoring less than 90 points.

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