SAN ANTONIO — Nikola Jokic had 29 points and 12 rebounds, Jamal Murray added 24 points and the Denver Nuggets beat the San Antonio Spurs 117-103 on Saturday night, rebounding from a flat performance tie the first-round series at two games apiece.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and nine rebounds for San Antonio. DeMar DeRozan added 19 points before he was ejected with five minutes remaining after arguing with an official over an offensive foul.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Denver.
The Nuggets were more aggressive and physical after a deflating Game 3 loss, just as Denver coach Michael Malone had hoped.
“I want to see some emotion. I want to see some fire. I want to see some passion,” Malone said prior to the game.
Malone was able to stir that fire with a couple of changes after Derrick White’s 36-point outing in San Antonio’s Game 3 victory.
Torrey Craig started over a struggling Will Barton and was charged with defending White to open the game, with Murray switching to Forbes. The moves proved beneficial, if not at first.
White was limited to eight points on 3-for-8 shooting after going 15 for 21 on Thursday. Craig finished with 18 points, going 5 for 7 on 3-pointers. Barton finished with 12 points and made all three of his 3-point attempts.
Down by 12 points in the first quarter, Denver outscored San Antonio 69-45 in the second and third.
Aldridge had 13 points in the opening quarter, shooting 5 for 9. His final points of the quarter came when he grabbed a miss by Marco Belineli and slammed it back in. Denver rallied in the second, with Jokic and Murray combining for 15 points as the Nuggets outscored 34-22.
The Spurs stopped driving to the basket and the Nuggets began making their 3-pointers.
Denver finished 15 for 31 on 3-pointers.
Nuggets: Denver’s last playoff victory in San Antonio was April 22, 2007. The Nuggets have lost 13 straight in San Antonio during the regular season. … Barton started 38 of 43 games during the regular season and the first three games of the series.
Spurs: San Antonio hosted its 200th playoff game and competed in its 400th overall, joining Boston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles (Lakers) as the only franchises with that postseason experience. … The Spurs have led after the first quarter in every game this series. … Aldridge made his 35th postseason appearance with the Spurs, one more than he did in nine seasons with Portland. … Mills drew a foul on consecutive 3-point shots, going 5 for 6 on free throws.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Denver.AlertMe