San Antonio

Jokic posts 32 factors, 16 boards; Nuggets top Spurs 102-96

DENVER – Not everybody thought Nikola Jokic ought to have received the MVP award final season. His Denver teammates did, and one, in actual fact, predicted he would repeat.

“I’ve never seen nobody play his pace. The slow Euro-step is unstoppable,” JaMychal Green mentioned. “A lot of stuff he does is unstoppable. He’s going to be the MVP again.”

Jokic added extra fodder for debate Friday night time. He had 32 factors, 16 rebounds and overcame six turnovers to steer the Nuggets previous the San Antonio Spurs 102-96.

Jokic adopted up his 27-point, 13-rebound effort in Phoenix on Wednesday with one other robust sport. He added seven assists and three steals for Denver. He was serenaded with cheers of “MVP! MVP!” when he hit a fadeaway jumper from 13 toes that gave the Nuggets a 100-93 lead.

“He’s a really spectacular, interesting, different player,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich mentioned. “He’s like a 7-foot Larry Bird type of guy. He can pass, the way he reads things — he’s incredible.”

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Keldon Johnson led the Spurs with 27 factors, two shy of his career excessive, and Derrick White had 16 factors.

San Antonio has developed into an ensemble crew with no standout offensive star. On Wednesday night time, Devin Vassell was the main scorer with 19 factors. On Friday, he scored simply six on seven shot makes an attempt. Against Denver, it was Johnson’s flip to steer the offense.

The Nuggets do have a standout star in Jokic , whose success is a results of craftiness, not pace. It’s a trait that he says makes him higher.

“I really think because I’m slow. That’s the pace that fits me and I’m comfortable in that pace,” he mentioned. “You can see how the league is going, everybody is so athletic, so fast, they can jump, they can go by a guy.”

The Nuggets led by three at halftime and 83-72 early within the fourth when San Antonio reeled off 10 straight factors to make it 83-82. Facu Campazzo hit a layup, Jeff Green dunked and Jokic scored 4 factors throughout an 8-2 Denver run.

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White gave the Spurs one final likelihood with a 3-pointer with 1:06 left, however Monte Morris made a jumper that sealed the win for the Nuggets.

“I’m thrilled. We had 20 turnovers and shot 25% from 3 and we still continued to compete,” Popovich mentioned. “We’ve got to take care of the ball better and make better decisions.”

The Spurs trailed 55-50 earlier than scoring 9 straight to take a lead. But Jokic led a Denver rally. Over the following eight minutes, he had seven factors and 7 rebounds, drove full court docket for a layup and located Campazzo for a driving layup that put the Nuggets up by 10.

The Nuggets didn’t path once more.

TIP-INS

Spurs: Have lost eight straight regular-season video games in Denver, courting to the 2017-18 season. San Antonio’s final win general in Denver got here in Game 1 of the 2019 first-round playoff sequence. … Derrick White grew up in Parker, Colorado, and performed one season on the University of Colorado.

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Nuggets: G Jamal Murray acquired a loud ovation when your entire crew was launched earlier than the tip. Murray, who had surgical procedure on his left ACL in April, was capturing with the crew earlier than the sport. … Michael Porter Jr. scored simply seven factors and missed his first 4 3-point makes an attempt earlier than draining one in transition.

HELLO MY NAME IS…

Denver rookie guard Bones Hyland was given the job of revving up the house crowd earlier than the beginning of the sport and made probably the most of it. Hyland, the twenty sixth decide within the 2021 draft, obtained the followers going with a fast, enthusiastic speech and earned cheers with out ever logging a minute within the sport.

UP NEXT

Spurs: Host the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night time.

Nuggets: Host the Cleveland (*32*) on Monday night time.

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