Spurs survive Nuggets late barrage to win third straight, 104-103

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs were on their way to another dominating home performance until the Denver Nuggets went panning for threes and nearly came up with gold. 

The Spurs pulled it out, 104-103, but it was nerve wracking at the end. The Nuggets hit five-three's in the last 4:27.

When the barrage started the Spurs were up 11 points. When it ended, their lead was down to one with a half minute left in the game.

"These guys and the barrage they put on at the end with the 3's was really impressive. I thought our defense was great," said head coach Gregg Popovich. "80 percent of those were contested and they knocked them down so I was thrilled with the defense."

Part of the defensive stand was turning the Nuggets away four times in the last 29 seconds with that one point lead.

The Spurs couldn't corral the ball and Rudy Gay missed a couple of free throws.

"It's finally over, two rebounds tipped off my hands, missed two foul shots. I felt like, 'Man if we lose this game, I am going to be on suicide watch,'" said Gay, who had 14 points and nine rebounds.

Gay joked that the extra opportunities the Nuggets had were solid practice.

"We have had some let downs defensively, just feels good. That's why I missed those rebounds, give us some more practice," Gay said.

With former vice presidential candidate and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin sitting right behind the Spurs bench, the Spurs started the game on fire, running out to a a 21-point first half lead thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge's 11 points in the first quarter. He finished with 22.

Early in the fourth, the Spurs had an 18-point lead, but once again, the Nuggets took care of that.

Denver started the game three of nine from three point range and finished 17 of 40.

"Got to give them their respect, they hit some tough shots," Gay said.

"Now it is all about being close to consistent for 48 minutes as possible," said DeMar DaRozan, who scored a team-high 24 points.

During this three-game winning streak, the Spurs have beaten the No. 2 and 3 teams in the conference. DeRozan was asked what that says about the Spurs.

"That we can beat anybody in our league. We have to have this same intensity, the way we play defense, talk, how we play offensively on the road, that has kind of been our biggest struggle," DeRozan said.

The Spurs will get an opportunity Wednesday in Atlanta to see if their home success can translate to road wins.

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