San Antonio in Denver, final score: the nuggets pulverize the Spurs, 101-126

The San Antonio Spurs fell to the Denver Nuggets in an absolute blowout, 101-126, losing a third straight game while slipping to a 5-5 record. Although the youngsters made several valiant attempts to reduce the deficit, Mike Malone and his revamped roster overwhelmed them with smooth ball movement and white-hot shooting.

Keldon Johnson paced the Silver and Black with 25 points and four three-pointers, as Devin Vassell added 20 points and four assists off the bench. Nikola Jokic led Denver with 21 points and ten assists, followed closely by 24 points and seven assists in an outstanding performance from second-year combo guard Bones Hyland.

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  • Gorgui Dieng was the first big off the bench for head coach Gregg Popovich as Zach Collins attended that game with a bruised left leg. The veteran center immediately made his presence felt with a three-pointer over the break as Spurs found a hole in the zone defense. He also fired off a steal and an assist before three turnovers sent him to the sidelines for the rest of the first half. Without alternative options like Dominick Barlow or Charles Bassey, San Antonio had to rely on Dieng to give Jakob Poeltl the occasional break.
  • No matter how far behind Spurs are, they still fight and make things competitive. Despite trailing 23 points halfway through the second quarter, San Antonio went on a 10-0 run that helped them stay within striking distance heading into halftime. Young teams are notorious for hanging their heads and waving the white flag on slow nights. However, these whippersnappers showed resilience regardless of the score. You’d expect nothing less from a team coached by Gregg Popovich, and their admirable efforts made their losses worth watching.
  • The Nuggets entered the night as the NBA’s most accurate team from beyond the arc (41.6%), and they immediately showed their long-range acumen with five threes en route to 40 dots in the opening frame. Denver also ranked third in assists per game (315.5), which wasn’t all that surprising considering how smoothly they swung the ball around the hardwood in search of the best shot. possible. Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. caught the attention of the San Antonio defense, but they used their gravity to create open looks. Although this trio hasn’t adapted for many minutes together over the past two seasons due to a host of injuries, they seem capable of making a serious playoff push.
  • Devin Vassell notched a career-high 29 points in a near-perfect shooting performance in his return from a four-game absence less than 24 hours ago, and he probably would have scored more if not for a restriction minutes. The 22-year-old swingman continued his hot streak in Denver, picking up where he left off against the Clips. He nailed catch-and-shoot threes, slid into midrange jumpers after dribble transfers and attacked the rim in transition. Tonight marks the fifth contest in a row with at least 20 points, so maybe it’s time to put his name in the Most Improved Player of the Year discussion.
  • Nikola Jokic is a basketball magician. The two-time reigning MVP manipulates defenses with his eyes, delivers passes from all sorts of impossible angles and dominates the interior with a methodical post-game based on immaculate footwork. While most of his superstar peers can hover over the rim, let him fly off the logo, or manipulate the ball like a puppet, Jokic creates a unique highlight reel inches off the ground. The Silver and Black were his latest casualties as he let their heads spin en route to 21 points, six rebounds and ten assists in 27 minutes.
  • Jakob Poeltl managed just four points in 26 minutes in what was arguably his worst outing of the young season against the Clippers on Friday, but rebounded with eight points in the first quarter as Denver failed to contain it in the pick-and-roll. . He snuck in a handful of returns when the Nuggets forgot to box him, but he seemed to turn around at times when their perimeter players forced him on the perimeter. The seasoned rim protector finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, and while that’s fine by his standards, he’s capable of better nights.
  • Tre Jones hasn’t been able to take a break from the pitch lately. After averaging 16.3 points on 53.1 percent shooting in his first three games, the third-year point guard has seen those numbers drop to 11.2 and 31.8 percent in his last six appearances. A meeting with Jamal Murray and a porous Denver defense seemed like the perfect opportunity for Tre to get back on track. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Jones had a season-low 4 points and shot 2 of 7. He also had seven assists in 27 minutes, but the Silver and Black will need more than a steady point guard hand from their starting general if they want to break their losing streak very soon.
  • Keldon Johnson was a flamethrower from beyond the arc to start the season. After tonight, the fourth-year forward is an impressive 33 of 78 (42.3 percent) on three-pointers. Leave it open, and it will knock down a triple. Put a hand to his face, and there’s still a good chance he’ll add three points to the scoreboard. Want a fun stat to track? Danny Green holds the San Antonio franchise record for most threes in a single season (191). This much slimmer version of the Big Body is poised to break that record heading into the All-Star Break, specifically at the AT&T Center against the Houston Rockets on Feb. 4. If he stayed on that trajectory and didn’t miss any more games, he would. make 293 threes, which would be the most by anyone outside of Steph Curry and James Harden.

For the Nuggets fan perspective, please visit Denver Stiffs.

The San Antonio Spurs have the rest of the weekend before returning to the AT&T Center for a rematch with the Denver Nuggets on Monday.

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