SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs returned to the court after a brief holiday break and held on for a 111-103 victory over the Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets (21-11) at the AT&T Center on Wednesday night.
San Antonio improved to 14-5 at home with the victory and have won eight of their last ten games overall.
“It’s a fine win for us,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said. “We feel really good about it but we realize we still have a long way to go. We took care of the ball better [in the second half] and our defense was solid. But we’re going to have to play a lot better in Denver.”
Here is what went good and bad for the Spurs, as well as three standout players: LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, and Derrick White.
- DeRozan and Aldridge combined for 57 of San Antonio’s 111 points.
- Marco Belinelli continues to play well off the bench, scoring 12 points on 4-for-9 from three-point range.
- Speaking of three-point range, San Antonio went 10-for-32 from beyond the arc. In the final quarter, the Spurs went 5-for-10.
- Derrick White continues to show promise for the future.
- Lonnie Walker IV was active for the first time this season but saw no court time. It seems the Spurs will be bringing him along slowly, which is good news. Just look at White, Bryn Forbes, and Dejounte Murray.
- The Spurs defense held Nikola Jokic to four points on 1-for-5 shooting.
- San Antonio led by as many as 18 points and by 14 points in the fourth quarter. Denver made a run with their starters, cutting the lead to six.
- Juancho Hernangomez was a thorn for the Spurs, scoring 27 points. Malik Beasley also added 22 points.
Three Standout Players:
The Spurs big man was a monster all night long from the opening tip and set the tone early for the Silver and Black with four quick points to start the game.
Aldridge finished with 27 points on 13-of-19 shooting from the field to go along with four rebounds and two assists. Denver threw Nikola Jokic, Juancho Hernangomez, and Mason Plumlee at him but LMA would not be denied.
DeRozan would close out the game and take over in the fourth quarter as he has done so many times for the Spurs this season.
He finished with a game-high 30 points on 53 percent shooting, adding five assists and seven rebounds. He would go 11-for-14 from the free throw line on the night, a nod to his aggressive play.
“It shows we can compete with the best,” DeRozan said of beating West-leading Denver. “We should look at ourselves as one of the best teams in this league as well. It’s definitely a confidence builder and it shows we can do this.”
The second-year guard may have gotten the start but he made his biggest impact during the fourth quarter as the Spurs took an 18-point lead.
White struggled to shoot the ball as he had just seven points and shot just 28 percent for the night. However, he dished out four assists – finding Belinelli for a big three-ball to put the Spurs up 14 points.
“I’m just trying to go out there and help the team defensively,” White said. “Then do the things to help the team win. It might not show up in the box score but it can be done.”
The Spurs are now 19-16 on the season and will return to the court on Friday when they travel to face the Nuggets at 8 pm Central Time from the Pepsi Center.