Nuggets 100, Spurs 77
No matter. The inconsequential matchup, which saw both teams’ top players on the bench and ended with a 100-77 Nuggets’ win, probably won’t be remembered anyway. The clubs will meet again this weekend in the first round of the playoffs.
“We’ve just got to—in the next three or four days—respect them but learn what we can do well and build our confidence and energy and get ready to play,” Denver coach George Karl said. “They’re a great team, but we’re all human and we’re all beatable.”
Karl wasn’t the only one looking toward the weekend.
“I think we’re all ready to go,” Spurs forward Robert Horry said. “It’s been a fun season. Now it’s time to get to the playoffs and I think for a veteran team like us, that’s what we need to give us a jolt.”
The Spurs won their other two meetings with Denver this season, though the Nuggets were without Anthony for the first and the second matchup was Iverson’s first game back after missing time with an ankle injury.
The teams’ reserves took advantage of the insignificant game to increase their own stock.
“Everyone understands this is the last game, we are going to play them in the playoffs and no one wanted to get hurt,” Linas Kleiza said. “We definitely still tried to win it. It didn’t matter who they didn’t put on the court.”
Reggie Evans led the Nuggets with 19 points and 20 rebounds.
“You never know when this sort of opportunity is going to come. So when it happens you’ve got to be ready,” Evans said. “It’s all about being professional. It was just another game.”
And others certainly took notice of the effort.
“Thank you. Those guys played very well today. They don’t have a lot of opportunities each night,” Camby said. “But what they do for us doesn’t go unnoticed. And I’m glad they got the opportunity to get some minutes and show what they can really do out there.”
The Nuggets took the lead for good in the first quarter off a 3-pointer from Blake with 4:33 to go.
Denver extended its lead to 20 with 9:12 left in the fourth quarter off a 3 from Smith and Kleiza gave them 100 points with 31.2 seconds remaining.
The Spurs said Oberto did not play because earlier Wednesday he felt “abnormal sensations in his chest” that a cardiologist determined was heart arrhythmia. The team said the irregularity was likely due to “minor trauma” that happened during the Spurs’ Sunday road loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
Oberto underwent a procedure Wednesday to restore his heart to its normal rhythm, the Spurs said, adding that he was in stable condition and went home afterward. The Spurs said he will likely be cleared to play in the first game of the playoffs.
“They’re going to check his heart rate and rhythm for the next couple of days,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, noting that Oberto got hit in the neck Sunday. “If it stays under control and what’s supposed to happen on Thursday and Friday happens—if it looks good he might be able to practice on Saturday.”
Some first-quarter box scores passed out to the media incorrectly listed “Joe Crawford” as one of the game’s officials. Crawford was suspended indefinitely on Tuesday for conduct against Duncan in a Sunday game. His suspension will last at least through the NBA finals. Duncan was fined $25,000. The correct name of the referee officiating on Wednesday was Dan Crawford. … The Nuggets’ biggest lead was 27. … The Spurs ended the season with a 58-24 record. Denver finished 45-37.