After a trio of solid outings against the Warriors and Lakers, who Denver defeated twice last week, the Nuggets’ defense had shown signs of improvement and promise, but Sunday against the Spurs was a throwback to last year’s league-worst unit on that end of the floor.
San Antonio shot 62 percent from the field in the first half, hit 11-15 threes and followed that up with a fourth quarter where they outscored the Nuggets 39-18 as they handed Denver their first loss of the preseason. Denver tied things up in the middle of a third when they outscored San Antonio 28-17 but the Spurs, behind LaMarcus Aldridge who finished with 21 points, got hot again in the fourth, pulled away from Denver and coasted to a 122-100 win.
For the game, the Spurs shot 16-28 (57 percent) from distance.
For the Nuggets, Nikola Jokic led the way with 19 points on 7-13 shooting to go with seven rebounds and four assists. Gary Harris, who agreed to a four-year contract extension with the Nuggets Saturday night, poured in 15 points on an efficient 7-12 shooting. Paul Millsap scored 13 points, nine of which came from the free-throw line while Will Barton played well off the bench chipping in 16 points on 6-11 shooting in 26 minutes.