SAN ANTONIO –Derrick White had 23 points, Lonnie Walker IV added 21 and the San Antonio Spurs never trailed as they beat the Denver Nuggets 123-111 Thursday night, breaking a two-game skid.
Dejounte Murray added 20 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for San Antonio, which is in the middle of a five-game homestand.
“It was a good night of competition,” said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. âA lot of guys played well. We had a short period where we were a little sloppy, three or four turnovers, five or six possessions, there for a short time, but the defense held up and that allowed us to continue to play well.
“Turnovers at one end and not playing would have been a bad combo, but we avoided that.”
Nikola Jokic had 22 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his third consecutive triple-double and fifth of the season for Denver.
The Nuggets entered the game third in the league defensively, limiting their opponents to 104.5 points per game, but had no answer for the Spurs.
“It was unofficially double-digit losses for probably over 20 points,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. âJust sitting on the goalie, whether Dejounte Murray, Derrick White (and) Lonnie Walker on the bench, really made the difference in this game that attacked us. Then when a guy got beat up, there was no shrink, there was no help behind. It was layup after layup.
Walker finished 7 for 12 on the field, including 3 for 5 on 3 points.
âI just have to have this mindset of being aggressive,â Walker said.
San Antonio dominated, scoring 45 points on 3 points and 58 in the paint. San Antonio also had 32 assists, two short of a season-high, while shooting 52 percent from the field.
Denver wraps up a seven-game trip to San Antonio on Saturday.
The Nuggets have come close to two baskets on several occasions, but never led while trailing up to 18 points.
âThey had us on our heels,â said Malone. âMan, this is the worst feeling in the world. We did a few runs to try to get back into the game a bit, but we just couldn’t support anything. “
Aaron Gordon added 25 points and Will Barton had 19 for the Nuggets, who continue to struggle with injury this season.
PJ Dozier and Michael Porter Jr. are both out for the season and Jamal Murray is out indefinitely after knee surgery. Denver, which was 3-7 in its previous 10 games, was also without Austin Rivers due to health and safety protocols.
San Antonio opened the game 4-5 on 3 points to take a 22-12 lead. Spurs set a season-high 37 points taking an eight-point lead after the first quarter.
Jokic scored 13 points in the second quarter, rallying Denver 69-65 before San Antonio scored five in a row to end the half. Spurs set a season-high any half with 74 points in the first quarter and tied another high with 37 points in the second quarter.
âI thought we did the best job we could on Jokic,â Popovich said. “He is incredible.”
The Spurs were without starting forward Keldon Johnson due to a sprained right ankle, but Devin Vassell came back from a three-game absence.
Nuggets: Denver is 3-3 on its longest trip of the season. â¦ Rivers missed his fifth straight game while under league health and safety protocols. He has appeared in 18 games this season, averaging 3.9 points, 1.4 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 17.5 minutes. â¦ Jokic had 32 points in the Nuggets’ 102-96 win over Spurs on October 23.
Spurs: Johnson sprained his right ankle while stepping on Poeltl’s foot at the end of the first half on Tuesday against New York. Popovich has said Johnson will not be available against Denver on Saturday and is unsure of when he will return. â¦ Murray became the fastest player in franchise history with 3,000 points, 1,500 rebounds and 1,000 assists in his 276th career game. â¦ Bryn Forbes has 458 career 3 points with Spurs, overtaking Chuck Person for 10th in franchise history.
Nuggets: In San Antonio on Saturday.
Spurs: hosts Denver on Saturday.
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