Aldridge scores 30 as Spurs escape Nuggets
SAN ANTONIO — LaMarcus Aldridge scored 30 points and the San Antonio Spurs escaped with a 106-104 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night.
The Spurs had four players in double figures, including 18 points each from Kyle Anderson and Pau Gasol.
Every Denver starter scored in double figures with Jamal Murray leading the way with 18 points and Gary Harris adding 17.
San Antonio had to battle to win its 11th straight at home over Denver. There were 18 lead changes and the Nuggets came within inches of a game-winning 19th.
Jamal Murray’s 3-pointer with 31.6 seconds remaining pulled Denver within 106-104. After Danny Green missed a 3-pointer, the Nuggets raced down the floor and furiously passed the ball three times to set up Will Barton for a 25-foot 3-pointer that rattled in and out of the rim.
Denver finished 10 for 23 on 3-pointers while shooting 47 percent from the field while San Antonio shot 50 percent.
The Nuggets made their first five three-pointers in taking a 17-12 lead, but the Spurs responded by making their first three 3s. It set the tone for a back-and-forth, high-scoring duel.
It was a welcome change for San Antonio, which struggled offensively in its two previous games of a five-game homestand.
The Spurs scored 60 points in the first half against the Nuggets after averaging just 40 against Philadelphia and Sacramento, including a season-low 31 against the 76ers on Friday.
Manu Ginobili finished with 14 points, including six in 31 seconds in the first quarter. After sinking a free throw after being fouled on a reverse layup, he drained the first of his three 3-pointers. Ginobili would later stretch for a low pass and then throw it behind his back to Davis Bertans, who would score on a runner.
Nuggets: Mason Plumlee did not play after straining his right calf against Boston on Monday night. Plumlee remained in Denver for an MRI while the team flew to San Antonio. Nuggets coach Mike Malone said Plumlee is “going to be out for a little while.” . Wilson Chandler was available to play but did not enter the game after being listed as probable with an illness. . Darrell Arthur established a season high with seven points in the first half and finished with 10 points. Arthur’s previous high was five points against Detroit on Dec. 12.
Spurs: Aldridge has scored 20-plus points in 33 of 50 games this season. His previous best for 20-point games was 31 in 74 games during his inaugural season with the Spurs in 2016. . Aldridge was assessed his third technical foul this season with 4:30 remaining in the third quarter after arguing about a non-call against Denver’s defense. Aldridge has 18 career technical fouls but only one ejection. . Anderson established a career high with 363 points. His previous season’s best was 350 points in 2016. . Ginobili joined Sacramento’s Vince Carter as the only 40-and-older players with 40 3-pointers in a season.
Nuggets: Host Oklahoma City on Thursday night.
Spurs: Host Houston on Thursday night.
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