The San Antonio Spurs Fall to 2-4 at Home with 115-109 Loss Against Denver

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Keldon Johnson led the San Antonio Spurs in Scoring vs Denver Nuggets
November 7, 2022, San Antonio, TX: during the first quarter against the Denver Nuggets at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas Monday, November 7, 2022. (Photo by Reginald Thomas II/San Antonio Spurs - https://www.nba.com/spurs/photos/photos-spurs-vs-nuggets-11-7?slide=12)

The San Antonio Spurs used a key 11-3 run midway through the second half to close the distance with the Denver Nuggets Monday night in San Antonio, but little mistakes hurt them in the end. Coming off of a 25-point loss to the Nuggets (7-3) in Denver, the Spurs (5-6) hung well with the championship-hopeful visitors. Despite trailing by as many as 11 late in the third quarter, the silver and black had the lead at moments in the final frame and trailed by just two points with 1:36 left in the game. Denver took the contest 115-109, however, winning the back-to-back home-and-home series.

San Antonio’s Keldon Johnson led all scorers with 30 points, topping Denver’s Nikola Jokic who paced his squad with 26 points. The reigning back-to-back MVP led all players with 10 assists and tied with the Spurs’ Charles Bassey with eight rebounds. It was the sixth consecutive game with at least a double-double for “The Joker” who already has eight such lines on the season, three of which have been triple-doubles. With the box scores so similar, the three late turnovers from Josh Richardson spelled San Antonio’s demise, turning into four consecutive points that stretched Denver’s two-point lead to six for the final score.

A Better Showing in Game 2 for the San Antonio Spurs

The primary issue for the Spurs’ loss on Saturday to the Nuggets was that they allowed Denver to rattle off an early run and couldn’t quite close the gap. Playing at home on Monday, San Antonio shut down scoring sequences earlier and chipped away at Denver’s leads much more effectively. A key area of the game that really aided in this effort was a better showing from the bench.

For Richardson’s errors in the final two minutes, he was one of the main reasons San Antonio remained in the game when the starters rotated out. He was electric on the offensive end, generating 22 points, and connecting on 72 percent of his shots from the floor including 40 percent from the perimeter. Richardson also made four of his five free-throw attempts. From the second unit, Doug McDermott had a bit of a bounceback game as well, totaling nine points, though he had another poor shooting night from deep.

Experience Won Over for the Denver Nuggets

Denver has an intriguing mix of veteran talent around Jokic as they look to capitalize on his prime. With Jamal Murray back on the floor, their starting lineup with Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is formidable. KCP was responsible for turning over Richardson on two of the three late steals, being the defender Denver needs him to be. As San Antonio shot much better from the perimeter on Monday than on Saturday, Porter and Bones Hyland kept pace for the Nuggets, connecting on seven of 13 attempts from deep, accounting for all but one of Denver’s three-point buckets. Porter finished behind Jokic with 24 points.

Up Next for the San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs have two more games left in their homestand this week, hosting the Memphis Grizzlies (7-3) on Wednesday and the Milwaukee Bucks (9-1) on Friday. With a 2-4 record in the AT&T Center so far, they’ll hope to use the consistency to perform better for the home crowd. It will be a tough task, as two of the NBA’s biggest stars can be expected to play. In Wednesday’s game against the Grizzlies, Ja Morant is eighth in the league in scoring, averaging 31.8 points per night. He is shooting incredibly well from the floor (48.5 percent, 47.1 percent 3PT). Flanked by Brandon Clarke and Desmond Bane, Memphis will be a tough task for San Antonio.

All stats used are from NBA.com and the box score.

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