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Spurs 102, Nuggets 94

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Point guard Tony Parker scored 24 points, forward Tim Duncan dropped in 17 and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Denver Nuggets 102-94 Tuesday night.

Forward Kawhi Leonard scored 14 points for the Spurs (3-1).

Point guard Ty Lawson had 20 points and eight assists, and forward Kenneth Faried scored 15 for the Nuggets, who are off to an 0-3 start for the second consecutive season.

Early, it looked as if Denver would get its first win.

The Spurs trailed by 12 in the third quarter but made a run at the start of the fourth. Guard Patty Mills' jumper from the top of the key cut the deficit to two, and center Tiago Splitter's three-point play with 9:06 remaining gave San Antonio an 81-80 lead, its first since early in the second quarter.

After the Nuggets regained the lead on a Faried jumper, forward Boris Diaw drained a 3-pointer from the corner to put the Spurs up for good. Diaw, guard Danny Green and Parker hit shots as San Antonio's lead grew to 92-84.

Denver went cold from the field, missing eight straight shots and managing just four free throws in a five-minute span. Faried, in the starting lineup for the first time, broke the drought with a fast-break dunk to pull the Nuggets within 94-88.

That was all the Nuggets could manage. They missed their next three shots as the Spurs began to pull away.

Denver's centers, JaVale McGee and Timofey Mozgov, played effectively in spurts but were hampered by foul trouble. McGee picked up his fifth on Splitter's layup with 9:06 to play, and less than a minute later, Mozgov fouled out.

The teams traded runs in the first half, with the Nuggets using one at the start of the second quarter to grab a double-digit lead. Faried had a steal and three buckets, and McGee added a putback dunk to give Denver a 39-29 lead midway through the period.

Lawson's 15-foot jumper made it a 12-point lead before the Spurs cut it to nine at half.

NOTES: Nuggets F Anthony Randolph sat out after spraining an ankle in Friday's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. F Jordan Hamilton started in his place and scored 11 points. ... San Antonio PG Tony Parker entered the night averaging 18 points and eight assists. He is one of six players in NBA history to average at least 15 points and five assists while shooting 49 percent for a career. ... Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said he would put C JaVale McGee on a tighter rotation during the game in order to get him more minutes. McGee came into Tuesday playing 11:30 a game, but Shaw hopes holding him to five- or six-minute stretches will increase his playing time and effectiveness. McGee had nine points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes against San Antonio. ... The Spurs, who began the night averaging 23 assists a game, dished out 27 Tuesday. They led the NBA in assists last season at 25.1 per game.
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