EditorsNote: 4th graf, add Juan Hernangomez as making free throws; 8th graf, add ‘the Nuggets’ ‘ before Monte Morris; other changes
Jamal Murray scored 31 points, Nikola Jokic had 21 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, and the host Denver Nuggets held on to beat the San Antonio Spurs 102-99 on Friday night.
Malik Beasley scored 21 before leaving the game with an undisclosed injury for Denver, which snapped a two-game losing streak.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points, DeMar DeRozan had 15 and Bryn Forbes scored 13 for the Spurs.
The Nuggets led by three after DeRozan’s layup and driving dunk midway through the fourth quarter. Two free throws by Juan Hernangomez and a basket by Jokic gave Denver a 93-86 lead, but the Spurs didn’t go away. Aldridge hit a layup and a free throw and then fed Jakob Poeltl for a layup to make it 93-91 with 4:44 left.
The Nuggets got a scare when Murray fell to the floor grabbing his right leg with 4:31 left. Murray was in obvious pain but remained in the game.
Murray hit a 15-foot floater in the lane with 3:16 left to put Denver ahead 98-93. DeRozan’s jumper got San Antonio back within three, but Forbes missed a 3-pointer that would have tied it with 2:09 left.
DeRozan and Poeltl each split a pair of free throws, but Jokic hit a short jumper in the lane to make it 100-97.
Jokic fouled out to put DeRozan on the line, and he hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it 100-98. Another Denver turnover led to a Spurs fast break and two free throws for Derrick White. He hit one, but the Nuggets’ Monte Morris drained two with 7.2 seconds left to seal it.
San Antonio couldn’t get a final shot off before the buzzer.
The Spurs trailed by as many as 18 in the first half but turned up their defense in the third quarter to get back into the game. Denver didn’t score for the first 3:32 of the period, missed eight of its first 12 shots and had eight turnovers to match what it had in the first half.
Jokic committed five turnovers but Denver led 78-75 entering the fourth quarter.
—Field Level Media