NBA: Nuggets snap 14-game skid in San Antonio, even series

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Apr 21 2019 09:13 AM

Denver Nuggets shooting guard Will Barton (5) shoots the ball as San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (25) defends in game four of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Soobum Im, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Nikola Jokic racked up 29 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and added eight assists as the visiting Denver Nuggets rolled to a 117-103 win over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 on Saturday to even the Western Conference first-round playoff series at two games apiece.

Game 5 in the best-of-seven set will be Tuesday in Denver, with the second-seeded Nuggets' win Saturday allowing them to reclaim the home-court advantage. The victory snapped a 14-game losing streak for the Nuggets in the Alamo City, dating back to March of 2012.

With Jokic and Jamal Murray working the pick-and-roll to perfection, Denver outscored the Spurs 69-45 in the second and third quarters, in the process tuning a 12-point deficit into a 12-point lead. Denver was up by as many as 19 points in the fourth quarter and cruised to the finish line.

Murray added 24 points for Denver. Small forward Torrey Craig, inserted into the starting lineup for the first time since Jan. 28, hit for 18 points, and Will Barton scored 12 points off the bench for the Nuggets.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 24 points and nine rebounds, with DeMar DeRozan adding 19 points before being ejected late in the game. Patty Mills tallied 12 points off the bench for San Antonio, and Bryn Forbes scored 10.

DeRozan was given two quick technicals with 5:01 remaining after objecting to an offensive foul called against him by firing the ball in the direction of official Scott Foster.

San Antonio owned a 34-22 advantage after 12 minutes of play. The Nuggets roared back in the second, using an 8-0 run late in the period to move ahead 54-52 on a floating jumper by Murray with 1:22 to play. Aldridge's put-back hook shot with 12.2 seconds remaining sent the game to halftime tied at 54.

Jokic, in hyper-aggressive mode throughout the half, led Denver with 16 points and 10 rebounds at the break, with Murray adding 10 points. Aldridge paced all scorers over the first two quarters with 17 points, while DeRozan had 13 points.

The Nuggets led 71-69 with 6:24 to play in the third quarter before scoring 20 of the period's final 30 points to assume a 91-79 advantage heading into the final frame.

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