Denver coach George Karl retreated to the visitor's locker room at the AT&T Center on Friday, not long after his Nuggets had finished off a 97-91 preseason victory over the Spurs.

After addressing his team, pow-wowing with his friend, former Nuggets and Spurs coach Doug Moe, and consulting a box score, Karl made a mental note to later double-check his team's regular-season schedule.

He doesn't want to face this Tim Duncan anytime soon.

"I don't know when we play them in-season," Karl said, after Duncan went for 21 points and eight rebounds in a little more than 25 minutes. "I'm hoping it's the end of the season. Maybe the wear and tear will have caught up with him."

Karl will be dismayed to learn he'll be right back in the AT&T Center in less than a month, facing a Duncan as fresh as can be in the regular season.

In handing the Spurs their first loss of the preseason, the Nuggets showed flashes of why many observers consider them a team to watch in the Western Conference.

Devoid of an alpha dog star but deploying one of the deepest rosters in the league, the Nuggets used 24 points from Corey Brewer — 18 in the first half — and 19 from Danilo Gallinari to outrun the Spurs to the finish line.