Keldon Johnson hit for 23 points and recently acquired Sandro Mamukelashvili scored all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter as the host San Antonio Spurs waylaid the Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets 128-120 on Friday to snap a two-game losing streak.
The Spurs were up by five heading into the final period and by 123-116 after a ringing 3-pointer by Mamukelashvili with 2:33 to play. That seemed to put the Nuggets to sleep as San Antonio stretched its advantage to a game-high 12 points on Devin Vassell's layup a minute later and easily held on.
Friday's game was the opener of a six-game homestand for the Spurs, their longest of the season.
Doug McDermott added 20 points, with Jeremy Sochan scoring 19, Vassell and Tre Jones hitting for 14 and Zach Collins tallying 10.
Nikola Jokic led all scorers with 37 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, recording his NBA-leading 26th triple-double of the season. It was the first time the Nuggets have lost this year when Jokic had a triple-double.
Jamal Murray added 24 points for Denver while Aaron Gordon had 14 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope tallied 13. The Nuggets dropped their second straight game.
The Nuggets forged a 24-10 lead after a Jokic 3-pointer at the 5:04 mark of the first quarter before San Antonio fought back to within six points when Johnson produced a three-point play with 2:51 left. Denver reasserted itself and led 38-26 after one period.
Denver stretched its lead to 15 early in the second period but the Spurs rallied to tie it at 63-63 on McDermott's 3-pointer with 1:02 to play. After a Murray layup, Johnson poured in a shot from beyond the arc to give San Antonio its first lead. The Spurs took a 68-67 advantage into the break.
Jokic led all scorers with 21 points before halftime with Murray adding 17 for the Nuggets. McDermott paced the Spurs with 17 as Johnson hit for 16 and Sochan had 10 in the half.
The Spurs built an 85-77 lead after Sochan's tip-in with 7:14 to play in the third and weathered a Denver run to carry a 98-93 advantage into the final quarter.
--Field Level Media