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Nikola Jokic does it all as Nuggets swamp Spurs

Sportsnaut
Dec 11, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) looks to pass the ball while defended by San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (25) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 11, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) looks to pass the ball while defended by San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (25) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic scored 35 points and took 17 rebounds as the Denver Nuggets built a huge lead right after halftime and cruised to a 127-112 win over the host San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.

It was the second of two games in three nights between the teams in the Alamo City.

The Nuggets scored the final nine points of the second quarter and then 15 of the first 16 in the third period to build a 30-point lead and waltzed to the finish line. San Antonio’s reserves made a run midway through the fourth quarter but never got closer than 14 points.

Markus Howard added 21 points for Denver while Monte Morris scored 19. Aaron Gordon and Bones Hyland hit for 16 each. The contest was the final of a seven-game road trip for the Nuggets, who went 4-3 on the 14-day sojourn.

Lonnie Walker IV led the Spurs with 16 points, with Devin Vassell scoring 15, Bryn Forbes and Keldon Johnson hitting for 14 apiece, Tre Jones adding 12 points, and Derrick White and Keita Bates-Diop tallying 10 each.

The Nuggets led for most of the first quarter and by as many as eight points before San Antonio used a pair of free throws by Walker to go up 29-28 at the end of the period.

Denver retook the lead 90 seconds into the second period and ran its advantage to as many as 13 points after a tip-in by Gordon with 6:09 to play until halftime.

The Spurs got the deficit back to as few as seven points on three occasions before Denver scored the final nine points of the period, including a 30-foot, 3-pointer by Morris at the buzzer to make the score 72-56 at the break.

Jokic had 17 points in the half, with 13 of those points and 6 rebounds coming in the first quarter. Hyland added 11 in the half for the Nuggets.

Johnson returned from missing Thursday’s game with a sprained right ankle to score 14 points for the Spurs in the first half. He was 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc.

–Field Level Media