Game Notes: Spurs at Nuggets
Drama ensues in San Antonio’s seventh straight win in Denver.
by Sulaiman Folarin
DENVER, CO – Carmelo Anthony thought his last shot and game-high 31 points should have lifted the Denver Nuggets over the San Antonio Spurs. When he drove to the basket with 4.2 seconds left and blew past Spurs center Antonio McDyess, he nailed a buzzer beater with Manu Ginobili in front of him. The entire arena erupted once the ball went in.
But the last shot didn’t count.
NBA official Haywoode Workman had called an offensive foul on Anthony as Ginobili hit the hardwood floor. San Antonio instead had won 113-112 as the team with the best record in the NBA (22-3) extends their current winning streak to seven.
“I knew Carmelo was going to try to attack the rim,” Ginobili said. “We were not going to let him take that open shot… When he jumped, I knew I was going to get it, because I was right outside the circle.”
Ginobili, who nailed a buzzer beater the night before against Milwaukee, rallied the Spurs in the fourth quarter. Apart from taking a charge from Anthony, Ginobili scored 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter.
“I was very slow and I couldn’t get anything done,” Ginobili said. “Three quarters I was settling for too many threes.”
It was a classic NBA game televised on TNT as part of their Thursday doubleheader games, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. As the network’s slogan goes; “we know drama.” There were numerous dramatic moments along with various intriguing scenes in the game as it came down to the last shot, which the replay on the final possession sums up.
“No I haven’t seen it. No I don’t want to see it.” Anthony said referring to the replay of the final call. “Maybe I’m biased, but I thought it was a good play.”
Nuggets coach George Karl looked dejected during his post-game press conference. It was a disappointing loss and a tough pill to swallow.
“Seems like referee’s like to hit us with tough calls. We played good ball and Melo made a good play,” Karl said. “It was close I have seen it called both ways.”
There was 6.4 seconds left in the first quarter when Smith dunked the ball on Neal to beat the buzzer. That was the most dramatic it got before the fourth quarter scenes.
With 8.4 seconds left in the game, the Nuggets were down 111-108. Anthony took what the defense gave him and opted for an easy two points rather than forcing the three. The ensuing inbound pass from McDyess deflected off Ginobili’s head, giving Anthony the steal and layup to give the Nuggets a one-point lead.
“It was wild, just a hell of a game. We went back-and-forth,” Gregg Popovich said. “We feel great that we were able to get by a really good team through whatever we had to fight through.”
Immediately after that, the Spurs got the ball to their fourth quarter man Ginobili who’s running bank jump shot was the last bucket of the game that counted.
“Down the stretch I know that the team really trusts me, that Pops [Gregg Popovich] is going to call plays for me. I am really happy that I helped make it happen,” Ginobili said.
Chauncey Billups missed his second straight game with a torn ligament in his right wrist.
JR Smith’s dunk on Gary Neal was on youtube within seconds of when it happened. Various links to the dunk now exist on the World Wide Web.