Nuggets struggle on defense again, losing 127-99 to the Spurs at Pepsi Center Thursday night

Posted at 10:49 PM, Jan 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-06 00:49:02-05

DENVER -- LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 points, including 11 while sparking a third-quarter spurt, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Denver Nuggets 127-99 on Thursday night.

Kawhi Leonard added 24 points, while Tony Parker had 21 and a season-high nine assists for the Spurs, who improved to 17-3 on the road this season. Parker shot 10 of 11 from the field.

Aldridge helped San Antonio pull away in the third quarter by knocking down a flurry of mid-range jumpers and hook shots. He has reached double figures in 30 of 33 games this season.

Nikola Jokic had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Denver, which dropped its fourth straight.

San Antonio entered fresh off a 110-82 win over Toronto on Tuesday. It was a game in which the Spurs made the Raptors look "like a JV team," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "They have that kind of talent. They have that chemistry. ... I just hope we rise to the challenge."

But the Nuggets couldn't match San Antonio's intensity and had no answer for all of its scoring options.

Aldridge hit a 19-footer with 4:55 remaining in the first half, giving the Spurs a lead they didn't relinquish.


Spurs: Pau Gasol had 17 points and a team-high nine rebounds. ... San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich was succinct in his pregame chat. What scares him about the Nuggets? "They're the opponent tonight," he responded. That makes them good? "Absolutely. Respect every team you play," he said.

Nuggets: F Kenneth Faried missed the game with a sore lower back. ... F Danilo Gallinari drew a technical for arguing a call in the third quarter. ... Jokic dished out five assists. No surprise, since he's one of the top passers among centers this season. ... Denver was outrebounded by a 41-38 margin.


Malone apologized to his veteran players for calling them out for a lack of leadership following a loss to Sacramento on Tuesday.

"I let my frustrations after that loss get the best of me," he explained. "If I have issues with our veterans, I'll address it with our veterans 1-on-1, to try and resolve whatever issues there may be."

He doesn't believe there's any lingering animosity.

"Our locker room is tied together," Malone said.


Spurs: Host the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.

Nuggets: At the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.