SAN ANTONIO (AP)—The Denver Nuggets expected San Antonio to come out hard and fast in Game 2, and the Spurs didn’t disappoint them.
But what did disappoint the Nuggets on Wednesday was the way they reacted.
The Spurs made nine of their first 10 shots and then outscored Denver by 20 points in the second quarter en route to a 104-76 win that evened their first-round playoff series at one win each.
“Any loss like that is embarrassing,” said Denver’s Carmelo Anthony, whose team shot just 36 percent. “After the first game we expected someone to get better. They were the team that got better.”
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series will be played Saturday night in Denver, with Game 4 scheduled for Monday.
San Antonio, which lost the opener Sunday after missing 17 straight shots down the stretch, went back to basics on offense—that is, they got the ball to Tim Duncan.
“We had great energy in that first half, great focus coming out of the gate,” Duncan said. “Everyone came out focused and knew the game plan. When we do that, we are tough to beat.”
Establishing Duncan early created shots on the perimeter, and the Spurs made them. They hit their first four 3-pointers, two by Brent Barry, and they owned an 11-point lead less than eight minutes into the game.
Camby said the Nuggets couldn’t stop the Spurs or get anything going themselves.
“The whole game was terrible,” he said. “They got everything they wanted. It made for a long, tough night.”
Tony Parker scored 12 points in the first period, matching his total for all of Game 1. He finished with 19 points.
“I knew my offense would come,” said Parker, who was more concerned about stepping up his defense on Andre Miller (31 points in Game 1).
Duncan had 24 points, while Manu Ginobili added 17 points in 18 minutes. Barry, who started in Ginobili’s place, made all four of his 3-pointers for 16 points.
DerMarr Johnson led Denver with 12 points. Miller added 11 and Anthony 10, while Camby had 12 rebounds.
The Nuggets, who rely on their transition scoring, had only one fast-break basket in the game.
“We got back,” Duncan said of the Spurs’ transition defense. “When the ball went up we had one or two guys on the offensive glass. We wanted everyone else back and keep (the Nuggets) in front of us.”
The Nuggets made three of their first four shots, then missed nine of their next 10 before a driving layup by Miller made it 23-12.
Wesley Person hit a corner 3-pointer early in the second quarter to trim San Antonio’s lead to 29-21, but the Nuggets followed with another dry spell while the Spurs piled up points.
A 10-foot jump hook by Duncan restored the Spurs’ double-digit lead with about 11 minutes left in the half. Less than four minutes later, a short runner by Parker made it 46-25. Parker later dished to Duncan for a dunk that extended San Antonio’s lead to 30 points with 2:27 remaining.
The Nuggets missed 13 of their 14 shots during the Spurs’ 27-5 run.
“The other day they were missing everything,” Anthony said. “You’ll have days like that. There are no excuses.”
San Antonio scored more in the second quarter (34) than Denver had in the first half (32).
The Nuggets nearly doubled their points by scoring 30 in the third quarter, and several times they cut their deficit to 19. But each time the Spurs answered with a basket and they led 86-62 after three periods.
Anthony made four of his five shots in the third period after going 1-for-9 in the first half, but he sat down late in the period after committing his fifth foul. He did not play in the fourth quarter.
Duncan’s 24 points were his highest since scoring 25 against Minnesota on March 16. … Rasho Nesterovic played 14 minutes and Devin Brown six for San Antonio, and Eduardo Najera played four minutes for Denver. All three sat out Game 1 with injuries. … Anthony is 31-for-94 (33 percent) in four regular-season games and two playoff games against San Antonio this season. … After making their first 13 free throws in Game 1, the Spurs missed five of their first six Wednesday and finished 26-for-38.