San Antonio Manu Ginobili knew Game 2 would have to be different after the San Antonio Spurs' top three scorers delivered less-than-stellar performances in the opening-game loss to the Denver Nuggets.
He was right, and the Spurs won, 97-88, Wednesday night to even the first-round series.
"A sense of urgency is what kept us matching that aggressiveness," Ginobili said. "Today we were much more aggressive. We fight for loose balls and boards, and that's what we've got to do every single game."
It almost wasn't enough as the Nuggets cut a 17-point, fourth-quarter deficit to three points with 45 seconds to play.
But Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, who all struggled offensively in Game 1, were able to help the Spurs hold off the sixth-seeded Nuggets, who were looking to return home with a second road win.
Ginobili scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half in Game 2.
"You had two basketball teams knocking it out and we were able to get the lead and hang on," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We were able to hang on more than anything."
Duncan led San Antonio with 22 points and five blocked shots. Parker had 20 points, and Michael Finley added 14.
"I feel good about our situation," said Denver's Allen Iverson, who had 20 points. "I feel good about being down the way we were tonight and fighting back. That showed them a lot and it showed us a lot."
Carmelo Anthony led the Nuggets with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Iverson added 20 points, Nene had 17 points, and Marcus Camby had 10 points and 18 rebounds.
The Nuggets got within 91-88 on a three-pointer by Iverson with 45 seconds to play, but Duncan's jump shot and two free throws each by Finley and Parker put the Spurs on even footing with Denver.