The Denver Nuggets heard all about the San Antonio Spurs' nearly flawless home record. They just chose to ignore it.
Denver used physical defense Sunday night to frustrate the Spurs into a 10-minute field-goal drought in the fourth quarter, as the Nuggets rallied for a 93-87 win in the opening game of their best-of-seven first-round NBA playoff series.
It was Denver's second victory this year at the SBC Center, where the Spurs went a league-leading 38-3 during the regular season.
"The playoff series begins when someone wins on someone else's court," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "We started that process, but it's a long way from four wins."
Game 2 is tomorrow night in San Antonio.
The Spurs looked strong early in the fourth, making their first three shots. The last one was a 14-footer by Glenn Robinson with 10:20 left that gave them an 81-76 lead.
But after that, the Spurs missed 17 straight from the floor. Denver didn't shoot much better down the stretch, going 6 for 19 in the period but the damage was already done.
San Antonio's cold snap lasted until Robert Horry hit his second 3-pointer of the night with 9 seconds left. The Spurs went 4 for 21 in the fourth. "We had some great looks," said Tim Duncan, who missed all seven of his shots in the fourth quarter, all from 8 feet or closer. "There were a lot of shots around the basket that I should have made."
Despite the offensive futility, the Spurs stayed ahead until Earl Boykins made a high-arching jumper over 6-foot-10-inch Nazr Mohammed with 1:56 remaining to give Denver an 85-84 lead.
The Nuggets then got a short jumper from Marcus Camby and three free throws from Miller to build a 9-point lead in the final minute. Carmelo Anthony had 14 points, Camby 12, and Kenyon Martin 11 for Denver. Camby, who missed the final three games of the regular season with a strained hamstring, also had 12 rebounds.
Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with 23 points, his career playoff high, and Duncan scored 18 with 11 rebounds. . . .
In Phoenix, the Memphis Grizzlies reduced the Suns' Amare Stoudemire to a bit player in their playoff opener.
The Suns came out on top anyway, using an avalanche of 3-pointers and a surprising performance by a stringbean-thin, 7-foot reserve center to win.
Shawn Marion had 26 points and 13 rebounds, and backup center Steven Hunter scored 16 points -- one shy of his career high -- in Phoenix's 114-103 victory Sunday night. The Suns, who made an NBA-record 796 3-pointers in their 62-win regular season, set a franchise playoff record with 15 against the Grizzlies in 32 attempts.
Stoudemire had just 9 points, 17 below his average, in a frustrating playoff debut.
"They double-teamed me pretty much the whole night," Stoudemire said. "They sent everybody at me, almost like a quadruple-team out there, every time I got the ball. We adjusted to that, and Steve [Nash] did a great job of getting the guys open on the perimeter."
Quentin Richardson added 22 points and Joe Johnson 16 as the NBA's highest-scoring team in a decade topped its regular-season average by 4 points. Nash scored 11 on 3-of-11 shooting but had 13 assists. . . .
Mavericks coach Avery Johnson was fined $10,000 by the NBA for his postgame exchange of words with official Joey Crawford following a loss to the Rockets in Game 1 of their playoff series.
Johnson began berating Crawford in the final minutes of Saturday's game, which Houston won, 98-86. When time expired, Johnson had a few more things to say as he walked off the court. Crawford laughed as he walked off in the other direction and Johnson came back at him. A Rockets security official helped pry Johnson away.