DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 27 as the San Antonio Spurs played their best basketball in the fourth quarter while defeating the visiting Denver Nuggets 111-103 on Wednesday.
Denver led 80-79 after two free throws by Malik Beasley with 9:44 to play before the Spurs fashioned a 15-0 run, with 3-pointers by Marco Belinelli beginning and capping the spurt, to run past the Nuggets.
San Antonio ran its advantage to as many as 18 points and had more than enough to hold off a late Denver run.
The Spurs jumped back on the winning track after a loss at Houston on Dec. 22. San Antonio has won eight of its past 10 games.
Bryn Forbes scored 15 points for San Antonio, and Belinelli added 12 points off the bench. Jakob Poeltl led the Spurs with 11 rebounds.
Juancho Hernangomez poured in a career-high 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Nuggets. Beasley added 22 points, with Monte Morris hitting for 15 and Torrey Craig contributing 10 points. Nikola Jokic led both teams with 10 assists.
The loss was Denver’s second straight after a four-game winning streak; it’s just the fourth time this season the Nuggets have dropped back-to-back games.
San Antonio led 34-26 after the first quarter and by five points after an Aldridge putback with 5:05 remaining in the second quarter made it 45-40. But the Nuggets made a 10-0 run, capped by two free throws from Hernangomez with 3:06 to play in the period to take a 50-45 lead.
The Spurs tied the score at 53 on Aldridge’s layup with 35 seconds left in the period before a DeRozan jumper with seven seconds to play gave San Antonio a 55-53 advantage at halftime.
Aldridge led all scorers in the half with 18 points on 9 of 12 shooting, while DeRozan added 14 over the first two periods for the Spurs, who shot 53 percent from the floor in the half.
Hernangomez paced the Nuggets with 15 points over the first half, with Morris adding 11 off the bench for Denver. The Nuggets hit just 18 of their 48 shots before halftime, but 10 of those were from beyond the arc, which allowed them to stay in the game.
Aldridge and Hernangomez scored nine points each in the third quarter, which ended with the Spurs leading 77-75.
The two teams will have an immediate rematch, playing each other again on Friday in Denver.
—Field Level Media