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Spurs 126, Nuggets 100

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Tim Duncan was able to relax and cheer on his teammates, and he even got to enjoy a courtside snack.

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This was one nice night for the San Antonio Spurs.

Manu Ginobili had 20 points and San Antonio set a season high for points in a 126-100 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.

The Spurs (8-2) shot 53 percent from the field, including a 16-for-27 performance from 3-point range.

``It's a lot of fun, for any team, when shots are going in,'' said Danny Green, who had 15 points. ``We've had a couple of games where we've struggled. We stayed in the game, trying to playing defense, but we wanted to do a better job rebounding. And when shots are falling for you, it makes it a lot of fun, a lot easier.''

DeJuan Blair added 19 points for San Antonio. Tony Parker and Duncan each scored 14 while playing 25 and 23 minutes, respectively.

Danilo Gallinari scored 15 and Kenneth Faried finished with 14 for Denver (4-6), which has lost three straight games for the second time this season.

The Spurs collected 33 assists on 47 baskets during the Nuggets' worst loss of the season.

``They did a great job of finding the open man; hitting somebody with a little better shot,'' San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. ``The pace was good. The ball movement was great and it allowed us to score. It was a great response after a tough loss against New York and that's what you like to see.''

The Spurs blew a 19-point lead in the final 7 minutes during a 104-100 loss to the Knicks on Thursday night, but they finished the job in this one.

With the win in hand, one of the few second-half highlights came when Tiago Splitter dunked over JaVale McGee with 7 minutes remaining. The dunk caused Duncan to leap out of his chair in celebration.

Minutes after the dunk, Duncan walked over to the scorer's table and grabbed a few red Lifesavers to enjoy on the bench.

Duncan gave San Antonio its largest lead at 74-42 on a pair of free throws with 7:49 left in the third.

Stephen Jackson made his first start of the season for the Spurs, and Blair was in the starting lineup for the second time this season. They powered a strong start for San Antonio, teaming up to score 12 straight points after Green opened the game with a dunk.

Blair also had eight rebounds and three assists. Jackson finished with nine points, nine rebounds and three assists.

``You know Jack, he's got the ability to do that and he played a good all-around game and it helped us stay in the lead and not lose it,'' Popovich said.

Jackson also pronounced Ginobili healthy, saying the guard had regained his ``swag'' after missing the first two games of the season with back spasms.

``I'm still trying to figure out what `swag' means,'' Ginobili said. ``I'm very happy of course, and that's all I care about. I feel great that I had a good game. I needed it to build confidence and hopefully I keep building from here.''

Ginobili went 5 for 7 from 3-point range.

``We never covered the ball so we had to help,'' Denver coach George Karl said. ``(The Spurs) moved the ball on the perimeter great. We have some guys that need to work a little better on defending, so we just need to need to learn how defend out there much better.''

Denver finished with 21 turnovers.

NOTES: Spurs F Kawhi Leonard, hampered by quadriceps tendinitis above his left knee, missed his first game of the season. He is expected to miss at least 10 days. ... Spurs G Gary Neal missed his second game after he cut his right index finger when he picked up his luggage. Neal sported a small bandage around the index finger. ... The Spurs wore their silver alternate jersey, which features their traditional Spur logo on the front. It's the first jersey in NBA history without any writing on the front of the jersey. ... Nuggets F Wilson Chandler (hip) missed his second straight game.

AP NEWS
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Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
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