SAN ANTONIO — Carmelo Anthony came out of his shooting slump when it counted.
Anthony made a 14-foot jumper and added a pair of free throws in the final 2 minutes as the Denver Nuggets rallied for their eighth straight win, 90-87, over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night.
The basket was only Anthony’s fourth in 17 attempts in the game. Of his 13 misses, 11 came from 5 feet or closer.
“I was missing shots
around the rim, so I tried to find open looks, get free in the open court, draw some fouls and get some rebounds,” Anthony said.
He finished with 21 points, 12 of them coming on free throws, and four of his six rebounds were on the offensive end.
The Nuggets trailed 79-70 with about 9 minutes left after Devin Brown made two 3-pointers and Beno Udrih added another for the Spurs, who played without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili for a second straight game.
But Denver chipped away at the deficit while San Antonio’s offense bogged down, and the Nuggets finished by scoring the game’s final 10 points.
The Spurs’ last points of the game came on a corner jumper by Tony Parker with 3:29 left that made the score 87-80.
“I told my guys that they couldn’t let (the Spurs) score any more baskets if they hoped to get out of this one with a win,” Denver coach George Karl said. “Yes there was no Duncan out there, but I don’t care what you say, this is a big win.”
Duncan has a sprained right ankle, and Ginobili a slight groin strain.
The win broke Denver’s eight-game losing streak in San Antonio, and for the Spurs, the loss was only their third in 31 home games this season.
Anthony made his fourth basket of the night with 1:48 remaining to make it 87-86 Spurs.
Andre Miller tied it at 87 by making one of two free throws, and Eduardo Najera made another foul shot with 31 seconds left.
Brent Barry then threw the ball away for San Antonio’s fifth turnover of the quarter, and the Spurs were forced to foul Anthony, who made both with 17 seconds remaining.
Parker tried to get loose for a shot to tie, but tight defense by Greg Buckner and Najera kept him from getting a good look. Parker’s last-second heave bounced off the back of the rim.
“Up seven with 3 minutes to go and you can’t score a basket?” Parker said. “It’s hard to believe. We should have won that game.”
Kenyon Martin led the Nuggets with 23 points and Miller scored 14.
Parker had 25 points for San Antonio, while Tony Massenburg matched his season high with 16 and Brown had 15.
The Nuggets took their biggest lead of the game at 20-15 on a midrange jumper by Wesley Person, but San Antonio came back to tie it at 23 late in the opening quarter on a pair of tip-ins by Nazr Mohammed.
Parker, who scored 13 points in the first, drove past Najera and banked in a layup to put the Spurs up 25-23 before Earl Boykins evened it up again on a 17-foot jumper with 1.9 seconds left in the period.
San Antonio went on a 19-9 run midway through the second to build a 48-39 lead, with Bruce Bowen making two corner 3-pointers.
Denver cut it to 50-46 at halftime when Najera stole the ball from Parker and got it to Boykins for a 3-pointer with 7.5 seconds left.
Notes: Denver (32-29) is 15-4 under Karl. ... The Spurs’ last home loss to the Nuggets came in December 2000. ... Duncan and Ginobili combined to average 39 points in San Antonio’s two wins over Denver earlier this season. Replacement starters Massenburg and Barry combined for 25 points for the Spurs. ... The Nuggets will play Phoenix today in Denver. The Suns are tied with the Spurs for the NBA’s best record at 47-15.