Wilson Chandler hit a go-ahead jumper with 29.3 seconds remaining and the Denver Nuggets (43-29) beat the San Antonio Spurs (57-14) 115-112 at the Pepsi Center.
The Spurs played their first game since losing Tim Duncan indefinitely to a left ankle sprain in Monday night's night win over the Golden State Warriors.
Rookie center Tiago Splitter got the start in place of Duncan and had a quiet night, scoring four points and stayed on the bench after picking up his fourth foul with 5:37 left in the third quarter.
It's time to look at the numbers that stood out in this Spurs' loss.
88.5 - The Spurs shot 23-of-26 (88.5%) from the free throw line, including 4-of-4 from Richard Jefferson. The Nuggets had a huge edge on free throw attempts but did not take advantage of it, making only 25-of-39 (64.1%) of their foul shots.
57.1 - The Nuggets shot very well from the beyond arc, making 12-of-21 (57.1%) three-point goal attempts while the Spurs went 13-of-32 (40.6%) from behind the arc.
50.6 - Denver connected on 39-of-77 (50.6%) shots from the floor while San Antonio made 38-of-88 (43.2%) of their field goal attempts.
45 - The Spurs won the rebounding battle, outrebounding the Nuggets 45-42.
38 - San Antonio had a good inside game, outscoring Denver 38-32.
27 - Al Harrington had a game-high 27 points and added three rebounds, two assists and one steal for Denver.
25 - Gary Neal led the Spurs with 25 points, including 6-of-8 from the three-point line.
21 - The Nuggets dominated in transition, outscoring the Spurs 21-2 on fast break points.
20 - Manu Ginobili added 20 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block for San Antonio.
19 - Tony Parker chipped in 19 points, five assists and two rebounds for the Spurs.
18 - J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton added 18 points each for Denver.
13 - Antonio McDyess had a double-double for the Spurs scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 boards while Danilo Gallinari added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Nuggets.
8 - DeJuan Blair scored eight points, grabbed six rebounds and had two assists and two blocks off the Spurs' bench. Nene had eight points and 10 rebounds while Chandler had eight points including the go-ahead basket and added six blocks and four rebounds for Denver.
7 - Matt Bonner and George Hill scored seven points apiece for San Antonio.
0 - McDyess, Bonner and Hill had zero turnovers for the entire game.
Rookie Watch: Neal had 25 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes of action, Tiago Splitter had four points, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal in his second start of the season, James Anderson did not play.
Game Notes: The 69 point total by the Spurs in the first half was three shy of their season high. After providing impressive shooting during the last two games, Steve Novak did not get any playing time against the Nuggets.
What's Next? The Spurs will visit the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden on Friday.
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@LFJeremy I agree, a win will be huge statement for the rest of the NBA. But we lost by just 3 points and it came down to one shot and one stop sort of thing, I think we will play better in our next games it will be interesting to see how the Spurs respond to this loss.
Hey guys, since i didnt get to watch the game last night i cant really comment on how they played.
But i will comment on the stats. and two things really stood out for me. 1. was Tiago. 4 pts of 1-5 shooting? thats not very impressive at all. he did play 17 mins... but was limited for picking up 4 fouls. If were to do good these next 5 games without Tim. Hes really gonna have to step up his game. Blair is not a starter in place of tim because of his height. So Tiago has to be our to go to guy. But if he keeps those stats hes not gonna see many mins.
and the second thing was pop not putting in all the guys to play. Not that he has to put all of them in every night. but i think when u get such good play from your reserves on one night... you kind of want to see if that streak will continue into the next game. And after Novak scores 5-6 and gets 13 pts against golden state. i would have put him in for some mins. but thats just me
lets just hope for a quick great recovery from Tim so he can get at least a few games before the playoffs to get in form. And that we get some needed help from our outstanding bench
GO SPURS GO!
@carlos_vnzla Me too I was a bit puzzled why Pop did not play Novak in this game. Blair is fine and he proved he can be starter (even if he is undersized) he was effective for the most part of the season but Tiago Splitter's development will be key for the Spurs in the playoffs this is the time for him to show up while Duncan is healing from an injury.
This was a painful loss for the Spurs. They were leading for most part of the game only to falter down the stretch. Richard Jefferson needs to step up big time.
@Tonyforlife i know, it could have gone either way, let's hope the Spurs wins their next game in Portland. Thanks for the comment and read.
25 points from Gary Neal, if he can contribute consistently for the Spurs, especially in the playoffs the Spurs will be very tough to beat.
@JohnAbney It was on oversight on my part, I already corrected it, thanks for the heads up! I also want to thank everybody for the continued support here on Project Spurs. Thanks for the comments and reads, keep them coming.
no worries. i figured it was just a typo.
keep it up, i enjoy all of the stuff you guys put up here!
@JohnAbney Good to know you enjoy our articles expect more from us in the coming weeks as the playoff approaches. Again, thanks for the comment and read.
The main problem in this game is the Spurs tried to out gun the Nuggets and did not play good defense. We need to be better on defense to win games. I love how McDyess played in Duncan's absence 13 points and 12 rebounds, that means he still have a lot left in the tank.
The Spurs lost the game, but it's nothing to be ashamed of. They were able to bring it on even without Duncan. Had Bonner and Splitter played just a little better offensively we could have won this game.
The Spurs just needed one stop and one made shot to win the game, unfortunately Manu did not deliver.
This is great experience for the team. Splitter did not play very well but they almost pulled it off. I wonder why Pop elected not to play Steve Novak.