Fresh off the All-Star break, the San Antonio Spurs tried to shut out the noise, but fell122-119 to the Denver Nuggets.
This year has been anything but routine for the San Antonio Spurs. Nearly three quarters of the way through the regular season, injuries have ravaged the silver and black and forced a usually laser-precise, consistent franchise into a state of disarray. Heading into the All-Star break, the team had dropped 5 of the last 6 games, the most recent coming at the hands of the same Denver Nuggets they faced tonight. With only 23 games remaining and a razor-thin margin of error in the hotly-contested Western Conference, the Spurs flew into Denver with hopes of righting the ship.
While the Silver and Black were not able to take control of the game right away, the Spurs were able to generate more offense than usual due to a red-hot Patty Mills (who started in place of the ailing Danny Green), the return of Rudy Gay, and another rock-solid performance from LaMarcus Aldridge. Still, the Spurs gave up 18 first-half points to the Nuggets’ Wilson Chandler and trailed 63-61 going into halftime.
Aldridge kept up the momentum in the third quarter, scoring 14 points in the first 8 minutes of the quarter and giving the Spurs an 81-78 lead, but Nikola Jokic, Will Barton, and Gary Harris dominated the final minutes of the third to reverse the momentum and take a 96-89 lead into the fourth quarter. Tony Parker drove hard for a layup and notched two assists to Joffrey Lauvergne and Patty Mills in the opening minutes of the final quarter, sparking a 10-5 Spurs run and cutting the lead to two, but the Nuggets responded with a 6-0 run of their own to push the lead back to 107-99. The Spurs cut the deficit to one at 116-115, and Jokic picked up two fouls to foul out of the game, but the team from the Alamo City couldn’t contain the Nuggets, who closed out the game on a 7-3 run.
Aldridge scored 38 points in the losing effort, and Mills added 21, but the Spurs were out-rebounded 52-38. For the Nuggets, Jokic notched a triple-double with 28 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds. Harris added 23 points, and Wilson Chandler added a double-double with 18 points and 16 rebounds. The Spurs have now lost four straight.
San Antonio will return to play the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. CST.