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Spurs defeat Nuggets, even series

Associated Press • Apr 26, 2007 at 12:00 PM

SAN ANTONIO - The San Antonio Spurs nearly headed to Denver down 0-2.

After squandering most of a 17-point fourth-quarter lead, the Spurs held on for a 97-88 victory over the Nuggets on Wednesday night to even the first-round playoff series.

Manu Ginobili had eight points in the fourth quarter and Tim Duncan added seven points in the final 12 minutes to save the Spurs from losing two home games against sixth-seeded Denver.

Duncan led San Antonio with 22 points and five blocked shots. Tony Parker had 20 points, Ginobili had 17, all but two in the second half, and Michael Finley added 14.

The Nuggets got within 91-88 on a 3-pointer by Allen Iverson with 45 seconds to play, but Duncan's layup and free throws by Finley and Parker put the Spurs on even footing with Denver, which won Game 1 95-89 on Sunday.

Carmelo Anthony led the Nuggets with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Iverson added 20 points, Nene had 17 points and Marcus Camby had 10 points and 18 rebounds.

Game 3 in the best-of-seven series is Saturday in Denver.

The Nuggets trailed 74-60 after three quarters. They were down 82-65, but a 16-5 run capped by Iverson's 3-pointer brought Denver within 87-81 with 3:23 left. It was the closest they had been since 7:11 was left in the first half.

Nene's dunk with 1:12 left made it 89-85. Ginobili scored for the Spurs, but Iverson's second 3 of the quarter made it 91-88. Duncan's layup with 27 seconds to go put the Spurs up 93-88.

Finley hit two free throws after being fouled by Iverson with 16.5 seconds left and Parker added two more with 9.9 seconds left.

Fabricio Oberto grabbed 10 boards for the Spurs.

Iverson and Anthony combined for 61 points in Game 1.

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