SAN ANTONIO -- Manu Ginobili hit a 3-pointer with just over a minute left and the Spurs used the rest of the energy they had to survive a push form the hard-charging Nuggets, winning 100-99 at the AT&T Center Wednesday night.
The game went down to the wire and the Spurs fan could not celebrate until Andre Miller's runner in the lane bounced off the rim as the buzzer was sounding.
With the NBA playoff races coming down to the final few weeks, each game seems to get more important as the teams jockey for position in the talent-laden Western Conference.
The Spurs (54-17) are holding a narrow one-and-a-half game lead over second-place Oklahoma City, which kept pace by beating Washington earlier in the night. The Nuggets (49-24), on the other hand, fell to fourth in the West with their loss and the Los Angeles Clippers' victory over New Orleans.
Ginobili's 3-pointer with 1:10 left turned out to be the Spurs final points as they took a 100-95 lead.
Danilo Gallinari hit four free throws for the game's final points.
With Tim Duncan, who led the Spurs with 23 points, missing a jumper with 10.2 seconds left, San Antonio missed an opportunity to push the lead to three. Instead, they had to sweat out Miller's final attempt.
Danny Green helped the Spurs come back after the Nuggets built a 14-point lead in the second quarter, 46-32. Green got hot and hit 6 of 7 3-pointers in the first half on his way to a 20-point night
JaVale McGee led Denver with 21 points off the bench.
NOTES: Entering the game, the Spurs owned the all-time series 100-63 over the Nuggets, including 63-19 in San Antonio. The Nuggets have won four of the past eight in San Antonio. ... Spurs guard Gary Neal (nine points, 1.8 assists this season) returned to action after missing four games with calf tightness. ... Julyan Stone was still out for Denver with a right knee injury. ... Denver is third in the NBA in scoring per game at 105.7, but only managed 86 points in a loss to New Orleans. ... The Nuggets records for most points in a half (90) as well as the least (22) have come against the Spurs. ... Nuggets coach George Karl joked before the game that you could count on the Spurs dropping a few games with their historically poor free throw shooting. And the team, including Duncan, is improved. "It's the whole team. The whole team has gone goofy, man," Karl said.