SAN ANTONIO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan had 24 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 22 as the San Antonio Spurs withstood Denver’s closing rally to hold on for a 104-103 win over the Nuggets on Monday night.
Denver rallied from 21 points down and held San Antonio scoreless over the final 2 1/2 minutes, getting the final nine points to pull within one, but missed three shots in the final 16.2 seconds.
Jamal Murray missed a 3-pointer with 16.2 seconds and a runner 5 seconds later but the Nuggets maintained possession both times as the Spurs tipped the ball out of bounds. Aldridge then slapped Jokic’s pass down and Rudy Gay was fouled after capturing the loose ball.
Gay missed the ensuing free throws with 4 seconds remaining. After the Spurs committed a foul on the initial inbounds, Nuggets guard Gary Harris missed a 3-pointer over Patty Mills in the left corner as time expired to give the Spurs their third straight win.
The Nuggets have lost 13 straight in San Antonio.
Murray finished with 25 points and Jokic had with 22 points and 10 rebounds for Denver in its third straight loss. Harris had eight points on 3-for-9 shooting.
Denver fell two games behind Golden State for the best record in the Western Conference.
San Antonio began the night in eighth place in the West — one-half game behind the Los Angeles Clippers, who were playing the Lakers.
The Spurs have beaten two of the top three teams in the West in consecutive games after beating Oklahoma City on Saturday.
Denver trailed by double digits throughout the second quarter but cut the advantage to three points midway through the third. The Nuggets limited the Spurs to 4-for-10 shooting in the opening 6 minutes of the second half to start rallying.
The Spurs scored the game’s first seven points in racing to a 36-17 lead to match their largest advantage after the opening quarter.
Nuggets: Denver’s last win in San Antonio was March 4, 2012. The Nuggets are 19-75 on the road against the Spurs. ... Denver scored 17 points in the first quarter, which is 12.5 points below their season average for the opening period. ... Trey Lyles missed his sixth straight game with a strained left hamstring.
Spurs: Aldridge has 117 career 3-pointers, hitting his sixth of the season in this game. He averaged 25 3s the past two seasons. ... DeRozan picked up his eighth technical foul, matching last season’s total, after arguing and flailing his hands at official Scott Wall over a non-call in the first half. ... The Spurs’ 19-point lead after the first quarter matched their largest lead after the opening period this season, which they set against Toronto on Jan. 3.
Nuggets: At Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.