SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs earned a 119-109 victory over the Denver Nuggets (11-8) at the AT&T Center on Friday night thanks to a big game from DeMar DeRozan.
With the win, San Antonio earned their third straight win and moved into fourth place in the Western Conference.
Nikola Jokic had 35 points and 10 rebounds, and Jamal Murray added 20 points for Denver, who had their six game winning streak snapped. The loss is the first for the Nuggets since Jan. 17. when they fell 109-105 to the Utah Jazz.
Leading by example
DeMar DeRozan led by example on Friday night, showing the young guys how it’s done as he led the Spurs to a win over Denver.
DeRozan poured in 30 points and dished out 10 assists. He weaved his way through the Nuggets defense and pulled up from beyond the arc, scoring five consecutive threes. As a result, the Spurs young players followed DeRozan’s lead.
Dejounte Murray added 26 points and seven rebounds to go along with three assists. Keldon Johnson had 19 points, nine rebounds, and three assists. Patty Mills came off the bench to score 17 points.
Spurs defense improves
San Antonio’s defense has improved over the last few games, giving up just 105.3 points per game in the last three games. All those were wins over Wizards, Celtics, and Friday’s game against Denver.
“We’ve got some young kids setting the tone defensively,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “The whole team knows with no defense, no wins.”
If the Spurs’ defense continues to improve over the course of the season, they could climb even higher in the standings and surprise a lot of people in the process.
The Spurs rookie has been taking advantage of his minutes as of late, scoring the ball and defending well. Friday night against Denver, Vassell had nine points and two rebounds as he shot 75 percent from the field.
With Derrick White set to return on Saturday, it will be interesting to see if Vassell’s minutes get reduced or if he stays a part of the rotation moving forward.
The Spurs are now 11-8 on the season and will return to the court on Saturday when they face the Memphis Grizzlies at the AT&T Center at 7:30 p.m.