The San Antonio Spurs resumed their Rodeo Road Trip with a 122-119 loss to the Denver Nuggets (33-26) at the Pepsi Center on Friday night, despite a big night from LaMarcus Aldridge.
After a solid 24 minutes of play in the first half, the third quarter saw the home squad come out strong. The Nuggets outscored the Spurs 33-28 in the period and took a 96-89 lead into the fourth quarter.
Here is what went good and bad for the Spurs, as well as three standout players: LaMarcus Aldridge, Patty Mills, and Tony Parker.
- LaMarcus Aldridge looked fresh after two extra days off and playing just four total minutes in the NBA All-Star Game last weekend.
- With the news Kawhi Leonard is unlikely to return this season, Patty Mills stepped up for the Silver and Black.
- Tony Parker was called upon late in the fourth quarter to use his veteran experience over point guard Dejounte Murray.
- Rudy Gay returned to the lineup for the first time in seven weeks. He finished with five points in 19 minutes.
- San Antonio went through offensive struggles late in the game, going from a two-point edge to down 10. The Nuggets went on a 12-0 run the third quarter to go up seven points.
- Manu Ginobili and Davis Bertans combined for three points on 1-of-8 shooting.
- Per Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News, Ginobili complained of difficulty breathing after the loss and underwent X-rays. His status for Sunday’s game in Cleveland is up in the air.
- San Antonio was outrebounded 52-38 for the game.
Three Standout Players:
LaMarcus Aldridge: The two extra days off and playing four minutes in the NBA All-Star Game definitely paid off. He finished with 36 points on 13-of-23 shooting, including a jumper late to cut San Antonio’s deficit to three.
Aldridge continued his huge breakout season since joining the Spurs, which should give San Antonio fans some hope going into next season with a fully healthy Kawhi Leonard back in the mix.
Patty Mills: With Kawhi Leonard out, San Antonio looked elsewhere for a scorer to help out LaMarcus Aldridge. Mills stepped up to the challenge as he finished the game with 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting.
Mills got the nod to start in place of an ill Danny Green, who missed the game with a stomach bug. The Spurs saw Mills as the perfect fit to fill Green’s role on the offensive end of the court and their move paid off on Friday.
Tony Parker: The Spurs relied on their veteran point guard Tony Parker to come up in clutch moments for the Silver and Black on Friday. He did just that as he used his experience in ways Murray could not.
After Murray committed two straight turnovers, Parker was inserted. He quickly slowed the San Antonio offense down and got guys in their spots. On the night, he finished with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting to go along with five assists.
The Spurs are now 35-25 on the season and will return to the court on Sunday afternoon when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers (35-23) at 2:30 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena.