Spurs Even up with Series

Written by Randy Watson

After a dismal Game 1 in which none of the Spurs top three scorers shot over 50% and San Antonio was out-hustled on both ends of the floor, the silver and black attack was hitting on all cylinders and showed much more aggressiveness in Game 2.  The Spurs built large leads in the game, leading by 9 at the half, 14 after three quarters, and 17 early in the fourth, but Denver came back to get within 3 points with 27 seconds left in the game, before late Spurs free throws put the game away.

The Spurs were led by Tim Duncan who gave a vintage performance: 22 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 blocks.  Tony Parker scored 20 and had 6 assists, while Manu Ginobili was again the main man off the bench, pouring in 17, with 4 rebounds and 4 assists.  San Antonio shot 42% from behind the three point arc, and was 21-23 from the free throw line.

Had the Spurs lost this one, they would have found themselves down 0-2, and heading to the Mile High City, needing to sweep there.  The series stands even now, and the Spurs need to keep the aggressive attitude that made them the hottest team since the All-Star break, if they want to win this series.

After having scored a combined 61 points in the first game, Denver’s dymanic duo of Anthony and Iverson, were ‘held’ by San Antonio to 46 on Wednesday.  The Spurs took the lead for good with less than six minutes left in the first quarter and led the entire game, although Denver mounted a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, led by a 16-5 run.  The Spurs’ defense, which has been the strength of the team all year, was the defining point through much of the game, but San Antonio’s free throw shooting late, was the difference.  The Spurs’ bench also scored 30 points, while Denver’s was only able to put up 7.

This series is quickly becoming the one to watch in the playoffs.  Denver has shown that they can go toe-to-toe with the Spurs, and for San Antonio to win, they must continue to hustle for every loose ball, keep applying the defensive pressure, and rebound well.  So far in the series, Denver has out-rebounded the Spurs, and Duncan, Fabrico Oberto (who had 10 on Wednesday), and San Antonio’s other inside presences must step up and keep cleaning the glass for the Spurs to advance.