EditorsNote: Corrected to “eight straight Denver points” in last graf; other minor fixes throughout
Jamal Murray scored 26 points, Paul Millsap had 22 points, and the host Denver Nuggets rallied from a 23-point, third-quarter deficit to beat the San Antonio Spurs 127-120 on Monday night.
Nikola Jokic had 19 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds, Monte Morris added 16 points off the bench, and Torrey Craig had 11 points and seven rebounds to help the Nuggets win their third straight and their eight in 10 games.
The Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge led all scorers with 33 points, Derrick White scored 15, Dejounte Murray and Bryn Forbes scored 14 each, and Rudy Gay had 13 for the struggling Spurs. San Antonio has lost five straight and eight of 10.
It was the first meeting between the teams since the first round of the 2019 playoffs. Denver, the second seed, prevailed in a Game 7 on its home court. The Spurs scored just 86 points in that elimination game, but they had matched that total with 6:49 left in the third quarter Monday.
Aldridge scored 15 of the first 28 San Antonio points and had 17 in the first quarter. The Spurs went 7-for-9 from the 3-point arc in the opening period and led 40-30 after one.
They continued that hot shooting at the start of the second, going up 47-32 in the first 1:09. Denver cut the deficit to 51-43, but a 9-0 run gave San Antonio a 17-point lead.
The Spurs led 67-53 at halftime. Aldridge hit a 3-pointer and a couple of baskets as the Spurs increased their lead to 86-63 midway through the third quarter.
Denver came storming back, using a 26-7 surge in the last 6:33 of the period to cut the deficit to four. The Nuggets drained three 3-pointers to end the third, then Millsap and Murray hit two more to tie the score at 95 with 11:16 left.
It was tied at 99 when Millsap gave Denver its first lead with a 3-pointer, but San Antonio responded with eight straight points to retake the lead. Murray scored eight straight Denver points, Gary Harris and Craig hit 3-pointers, and Murray had another from deep to cap a 17-2 run and make it 119-109.
—Field Level Media