NBA Game Summary - San Antonio at Denver
(Tuesday, February 3rd)
Final Score: Denver 104, San Antonio 96
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points and brought down nine rebounds in just his second game since returning from a fractured right hand, and the Denver Nuggets defeated the shorthanded San Antonio Spurs, 104-96, in a battle of division leaders.
Nene logged 17 points and 11 rebounds while Linas Kleiza and Chris Anderson provided 13 and 11 points, respectively, for the Northwest Division-leading Nuggets, who have won five of six.
Chauncey Billups left the game in the second quarter with a sprained right ankle and did not return while Kenyon Martin sat out the contest with tonsillitis.
Roger Mason led the shorthanded Spurs with 26 points, six assists and five rebounds as San Antonio was without starters Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
With the Spurs looking to corral a fifth straight win, head coach Gregg Popovich elected to rest the trio following the team's overtime win at Golden State on Monday.
Tuesday's setback puts the Spurs at 1-1 on their annual eight-game Rodeo Road Trip. The Spurs hit the road every year at this time while the rodeo inhabits the AT&T Center in the Alamo City.
Malik Hairston added 12 points and Matt Bonner 11 with eight rebounds for the Southwest Division-leading Spurs, who lost for just the second time in 10 games.
The Spurs cut the deficit to two by scoring 10 of the first 12 points to start the fourth. Jacque Vaughn got to the rim for two and capped the scoring with a jumper at the nine-minute mark for an 80-78 game.
Denver scored the next nine points with Kleiza and J.R. Smith draining long- range jumpers to give the Nuggets an 11-point lead. Another Kleiza three- pointer with just under five minutes to play kept the lead at 11, but a Mason triple with two minutes left allowed the Spurs to move within four, at 98-94.
However, San Antonio's next points came on a Kurt Thomas layup while the Spurs were down eight with 32 seconds left, and Anthony Carter's ensuing jumper sealed the win for Denver.
The Nuggets held a 31-25 advantage after 12 minutes and pushed their lead to 56-44 at the half.
Following a Bonner three-pointer early in the third Mason scored eight straight points for San Antonio to keep the Spurs in the game, but Denver still held a double-digit lead. Two free throws from Anthony made it a 76-61 game late in the quarter, and Denver led 78-68 going into the fourth.
These two teams had split a pair of meetings this season coming into Tuesday's game, with each club winning on the road...Denver, which moved to 20-6 at the Pepsi Center, next hits the road for an eight-game road trip of its own starting Wednesday in Oklahoma City...San Antonio has traditionally flourished on these annual trips. Since 2002-03, when the rodeo moved to the AT&T Center from the smaller Freeman Coliseum, the Spurs have compiled a 36-14 mark...Carter finished with 10 points and nine assists for Denver while Smith had just six points on 1-of-10 shooting...Thomas tallied 10 points and seven boards for San Antonio, with Fabricio Oberto also providing 10 points in the loss.
02/04 01:04:03 ET