LaMarcus Aldridge scored 30 points and Manu Ginobili added 14, including a 3-pointer and a jumper in the closing minutes, as the San Antonio Spurs outlasted the Denver Nuggets 106-104 on Tuesday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
The two teams traded the lead throughout the fourth quarter until consecutive 3-pointers by Ginobili and Patty Mills granted the Spurs a 104-99 advantage with 1:41 to play.
After two free throws by Denver’s Will Barton brought the Nuggets to within 104-101, Ginobili canned a jumper with 36.7 seconds remaining to push San Antonio’s lead back to five points. Jamal Murray’s 3-pointer with 31.6 seconds left gave the Nuggets a final chance, but Barton missed from beyond the arc with 1.5 seconds to go, allowing the Spurs to escape with the win.
Kyle Anderson and Pau Gasol added 18 points each for the Spurs, who have won four of their past five games, while Dejounte Murray pulled down 13 rebounds (10 on the defensive glass) and dished out 7 assists but did not score a point in the victory.
All five Denver starters scored in double figures, led by Jamal Murray’s 18 points. Garry Harris added 17, while Barton and Nikola Jokic scored 13 each and Darrell Arthur tallied 10. Emmanuel Mudiay pace the Nuggets’ reserves with 14 points in the loss.
Aldridge and Gasol led the way for the Spurs in the first half, scoring a combined 34 points. Aldridge poured in 20 points on 10-for-13 shooting from the floor but did not attempt a free throw. Gasol scored 14 points and took six rebounds as San Antonio led 60-55 at halftime of a game that was tied six times and featured half a dozen lead changes.
Harris poured in 11 points in the first half to pace the Nuggets while Arthur added 10. Arthur was in the starting lineup because normal front-line center Mason Plumlee stayed back in Denver to nurse a calf injury.
The Nuggets pushed past San Antonio midway through the third quarter and led 79-72 after a pullup jumper by Murray with 1:52 to play in the period. The Spurs responded with an 8-2 run to end the quarter that featured back-to-back 3-pointers by Ginobili and Davis Bertans that cut Denver’s advantage to 81-80 heading into the final quarter.
San Antonio continues its homestand with a game Thursday against Houston while Denver returns home -- where it will play its next three contests -- with a showdown versus Oklahoma City, also on Thursday.
--Field Level Media