Spurs 96, Nugs 91 (Game 3)
- Game 3 was a showcase for typical Spurs defense--Nugs shot 43%. They really ratcheted up the intensity in the 2nd quarter by closing off the lane. Shading Iverson & Melo into help, especially forcing them toward the baseline knowing Duncan is waiting at the rim. They were doubling Melo fairly option & even mixed in some zone on occasion. Duncan was his usual understated defensive force inside as the backline anchor changing & blocking shots (5 blks). Timmy also pounded the off. glass with 7 to add to his 6 def. boards.
- Maybe the most important sequence of the game came at the end of the 3rd. Nugs had taken the lead, but the Spurs responded with a flurry of 3s from Horry & Finley. Horry made a big steal that immediately led to a 3pt. to push the Spurs' lead to 5 with about 1 minute left in the 3rd. Big Shot Bob brought a nice spark off the pine with 10, 6 rebs & 2 big 3s in the 2nd half. Mike Finley continued his strong play ..5/7 from 3pt for 16 pts & 5 rebs. Has really been an underrated factor in this series (9/19 from 3pt. for the series).
- Parker had a nice overall effort. The usual deep penetration was there, but what was really encouraging was Parker stroked his jumper as well as I've seen. If he can consistently hit it, he makes the Spurs very dangerous because the defense is going to continuely give him open looks. Also, Parker was able to stay in front of Iverson as well as you can expect. Manu also put constant pressure on the Nugs on both ends. Manu drove the lane with his usual reckless abandon & was rewarded with 11 free throws (10/11) which led to 19 pts, 7 rebs, & 5 assts.
- Melo had 28, but it wasn't a hard fought 28. The Spurs were sending doubles early & often at Melo, usually leaving Blake to prove that he can shoot. Melo hit the glass hard once again--12, 6 off. Nene continued to be a reliable 3rd option for the Nugs by finishing in the painted area with authority--18 pts, 7/11 on mostly layups & dunks. Have to give credit to Nene & Camby for doing another solid job on Duncan--Timmy shot 9/21--Denver's bigs are defending him as well as you can expect. JR Smith finally added something to the mix with 12 pts, something that needs to continue every game for the Nugs to have a chance. Even with JR's 12 pts, the Spurs' bench once again badly outscored the Nugs' bench--33 to 12, the Spurs are outscoring them 99 to 25 for the series.