Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 10/29

Game 1: Wednesday, October 29th
Game 2: Monday, January 5th
Game 3: Saturday, February 28th
Game 4: Wednesday, April 14th

Spurs 72


Nuggets 80


    Coverage: KRRT

    7:00 PM ET, October 29, 2003

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 20 16 15 2172
    DEN 20 19 24 1780

    Top Performers

    SA: T. Duncan 17 Pts, 21 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 8 Blk

    Den: N. Hilario 12 Pts, 11 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Denver humbles defending champs

    DENVER (AP) -- Even after picking up two fouls less than two minutes into the game and being hounded by one of the NBA's best defenders, Carmelo Anthony showed he belonged.

    Anthony had 12 points and seven rebounds in his NBA debut, helping lead the Denver Nuggets to an 80-72 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.

    "When people look at us, they are going to notice that we won our first game," said Anthony, who was limited to 4-for-15 shooting by Bruce Bowen. "They aren't going to look at how many points I had. I don't care if I only average four points. I will be happy if we win.

    "I was a little anxious in the first half. I picked up the early fouls. In the second half I kept my composure and we won the game."

    Anthony, the third overall pick in the draft after leading Syracuse to the NCAA championship as a freshman, sustained a small cut near his right eye, courtesy of Bowen.

    "I think he wanted to make a statement, like, `Hey, this isn't easy.' I don't know what he got me with. He's a top defender in the league, and I think I did a decent job."

    Bowen said Anthony "is a very talented player. I think as he gets older in this game he will settle down more and will be able to do things that other guys do that become Hall of Famers.

    "I thought he was a good player in college. I never thought him coming into the NBA would require a drastic step."

    Andre Miller added 16 points, Earl Boykins 13 and Nene 12 for the Nuggets, who overcame poor shooting to knock off the defending NBA champions.

    Denver shot 29 percent from the field, compared to 27 percent for the Spurs.

    Tim Duncan had 17 points on 7-of-22 shooting and 21 rebounds for San Antonio, which opened its season Tuesday night with an 83-82 win over Phoenix.

    "Despite the fact that it was ugly offensively," Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said, "it was a great win in front of a great crowd against a great opponent."

    Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was most concerned about his point-guard situation. Tony Parker and Shane Heal are injured, and Anthony Carter was able to play only 10 minutes because of patella tendinitis in his left knee.

    "It stiffened up on him," Popovich said. "It was bad enough in the first half where he was dragging his leg and couldn't move it.

    "We didn't have any point guards after that. We'll have to bring somebody in to make sure we have somebody there when our next game comes. We can't depend on Carter's knee right now."

    Miller's three-point play gave Denver a seemingly comfortable 72-55 lead with 6:04 remaining.

    The Spurs responded with a 13-2 run, including a pair of 3-pointers by Manu Ginobili and five points by Duncan, to make it 74-68 with 1:23 left.

    They got no closer, however, as Miller, Anthony and Boykins each hit a pair of free throws in the final 56 seconds.

    Marcus Camby had 20 rebounds for Denver, including a club-record 16 in the first half, and his defense was partly responsible for Duncan's poor shooting.

    After a poor-shooting first half for both teams, the Nuggets took a 39-36 lead. San Antonio shot 29 percent and Denver 30 percent in the half. Duncan shot 2-for-10 in the half, and Denver's Voshon Lenard was 2-for-11.

    The Nuggets opened a 12-4 lead on Lenard's driving layup with 5:50 left in the first quarter, but back-to-back baskets by Ginobili helped the Spurs make it 20-20 at the end of the period.

    Nene hit four straight free throws as Denver used a 7-0 run to take a 37-31 lead late in the half. San Antonio's Robert Horry made a three-point play to cut the deficit to one, but Boykins hit a buzzer-beating jumper.

    Denver scored the first seven points of the third quarter, capped by Miller's three-point play, to take a 46-36 lead. The Nuggets finished the period with a 63-51 lead, capitalizing on San Antonio's 19 percent shooting in the quarter.

    Game notes

    A wildfire south of Denver threatened the home of Nuggets forward Ryan Bowen. He returned home between the morning shootaround and the game, but was told he didn't need to evacuate. ... San Antonio's field-goal percentage (.268) was a record low for a Nuggets' opponent. ... Tony Parker, the Spurs' starting point guard, didn't play because of a sprained left ankle. ... Nikoloz Tskitishvili returned to the Denver lineup after missing the final five preseason games with a broken thumb.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 72 80
    FGM-FGA 26-97 (.268) 28-96 (.292)
    3PM-3PA 2-13 (.154) 4-10 (.400)
    FTM-FTA 18-23 (.783) 20-29 (.690)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 23-60 26-66
    Assists 14 17
    Turnovers 19 20
    Steals 11 8
    Blocks 16 7
    Fast Break Points 7 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 28 (0/0) 25 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Tim Duncan Duncan
    Points: 17
    Reb: 21
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 8
    Nene Hilario Hilario
    Points: 12
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1