Nuggets 125, Spurs 121, 2OT
DENVER (AP) _ Chris Jackson scored 32 points, including a 3-pointer with 1:03 left in the second overtime, lifting the Denver Nuggets to a 125-121 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night.
The Spurs, 0-2 under rookie coach, Jerry Tarkanian, led 99-88 with 3:01 left in regulation, but the Nuggets, playing their season-opener under new coach Dan Issel, forced overtime with a 12-1 run, including seven points by Jackson. Rookie Bryant Stith’s two free throws tied the game 100-100 with 9.3 seconds remaining.
The Nuggets led 111-109 on Marcus Liberty’s two free throws with 42 seconds left in the first overtime after David Robinson, who had 30 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, fouled out. But Lloyd Daniels tied it with a jumper at the 18-second mark.
Dale Ellis gave San Antonio its final lead, 113-111, to start the second overtime. But Denver didn’t take the lead good until Jackson’s 3-pointer made it 122-119 with 1:03 left.
Denver played both overtimes without Dikembe Mutombo, who fouled out in the fourth period with 14 points and 15 rebounds.
Liberty, Reggie Williams and Stith each scored 20 points for Denver. Dale Ellis scored 27 points and Daniels 26 for the Spurs, who shot 45.9 percent to Denver’s 44.1 percent.
Denver led 29-23 after one period, its largest margin of the game. After the Spurs closed within three on a 3-pointer by Ellis, the game stayed close until halftime, which ended with the Nuggets 58-56.
The Nuggets, who retired David Thompson’s uniform number at halftime, carried an 81-79 lead into the fourth period.
Both coaches thought San Antonio had the game won in regulation, and so did most of the sellout crowd of 17,022 as it headed for the exits.
″That should make one or two of those people want to come back,″ a frazzled Issel said. ″I’m not so sure I’ll be able to come back. San Antonio had it won, but we never stopped coming at them.
″Only at one time did our guys have their heads hung, but I told them we were going to win this game, and they hung in there. Bryant Stith was incredible. He hit the shots, got the rebounds and stole the ball.″
Tarkanian said missing six of eight free throws in the last three minutes of regulation cost the Spurs the game.
″We had an 11-point lead and then we missed our free throws and we just gave the game away,″ Tarkanian said. ″I thought we played well except for the end of regulation. Chris Jackson was sensational. He beat me at UNLV and he did it again.″
″Dan told me to go ahead and take the quick ‘3’ if it presented itself,″ Jackson said. ″I was fortunate enough to get a couple of them to go down.″
Jackson was 13 of 24 from the field overall, including 2 of 3 3-pointers.