Chandler's go-ahead basket lifts Nuggets
Thursday, March 24, 2011; 1:31 AM
DENVER -- Wilson Chandler hit a go-ahead jumper with 29.3 seconds remaining and the Denver Nuggets beat the San Antonio Spurs 115-112 Wednesday night.
The Spurs were playing their first game since losing Tim Duncan indefinitely to a left ankle sprain in Monday night's night win over Golden State.
Rookie center Tiago Splitter got the start in place of Duncan and had a quiet night, scoring 4 points and remaining on the bench after picking up his fourth foul with 5:37 left in the third quarter.
Up by five at the half, the Spurs took a 93-90 lead into the fourth quarter and stretched it to 98-91 on a layup by Matt Bonner. That's when the Nuggets countered with an 11-0 flurry that put them in front 102-98 for their first lead since the game's opening moments. Al Harrington had 3-pointers to start and finish the flurry.
The Spurs tied it at 112 on a layup by Gary Neal with 1:34 remaining before Wilson hit the decisive jumper from just inside the foul line. After Manu Ginobili missed a jumper, the Spurs fouled Raymond Felton, who made one of two free throws with 9.5 seconds left.
Ginobili missed badly at the buzzer trying for a tying 3-pointer.
Al Harrington had 27 points, including five 3 pointers, to lead the Nuggets, who snapped a five-game losing streak to the Spurs while extending their home winning streak eight games. Felton and J.R. Smith each added 18 points for the Nuggets.
Neal had 25 points for the Spurs, who lead the Western Conference and have already clinched a playoff spot. Ginobili had 20 points and Tony Parker added 19.
San Antonio hit nine of their 13 3 pointers in the first half, and led by as many as 14 points before settling for a 69-64 advantage at the break. After Neal connected from beyond the arc to put the Spurs up 55-42 with 6:19 left in the second quarter, the Nuggets got close with a 13-2 run. Felton and Danilo Gallinari each hit 3-pointers and Harrington converted a three-point play during the surge.
Notes: Nuggets G Arron Afflalo, sidelined since re-injuring his left hamstring at Miami on Saturday, is expected to return for next Wednesday's game against Sacramento. ... The 69-point total by the Spurs in the first half was three shy of their season high and one shy of the season high by a Denver opponent. Golden State scored 70 in the first half against the Nuggets on Feb. 9.