Nikola Jokic scores 25 points, the Nuggets beat the Spurs 106-96

DENVER (AP) – Nikola Jokic had 25 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds to help the hard-working Denver Nuggets beat the San Antonio Spurs 106-96 on Wednesday night.

Jokic just missed the 13th triple-double season. Michael Porter Jr. he added 18 points and 10 rebounds in the opening set of two games in Denver.

Denver have won seven in a row, and have yet to lose in six games since Aaron Gordon and JaVale McGee came to terms on trade deadlines. Gordon had nine points and McGee provided energy from the bench in the second half.

Derrick White and Dejounte Murray scored 18 points each for tough San Antonio. The Spurs started in five games after finishing 2-2 at home, including a 24-point loss to Cleveland on Monday night.

The teams will meet again on Friday night.

Denver coach Michael Malone received two technical balls and was knocked out with 5:32 in the first half for shouting at officials after Jokic’s change.

The Nuggets led 54-50 at halftime, but the Spurs opened third in the 18-4 series to take the lead with 10. Denver scored the next 11 points and finished the third quarter in the 23-6 series to lead with seven goals in the fourth.

Denver quickly created a double-digit lead and continued for 20 on Porter’s triple.

TIPS

Spurs: Lonnie Walker IV (right wrist inflammation), Trey Lyles (right wrist sprain) and Keita Bates-Diop (right knee sprain) continued to be on the sidelines. “As you can imagine with the kind of injuries they have, it’s just a process,” coach Gregg Popovich said of Bates-Diop and Lyles. “They’re getting closer and closer.”

Naggets: F Paul Millsap was not active for the holidays. … Malone said that G Monte Morris will not record difficult minutes for now. He played in his second game after missing 11 with a right quadruple effort. He finished with seven points in 19 minutes.

MURRAY SITS AGAIN

Naggets keeper Jamal Murray was out of the squad for the second consecutive game with his right knee inflamed. With a compact schedule, Malone said he has to manage Murray’s workload.

“We’re in the middle of six games in nine nights, three games in four nights, so the schedule was obviously very demanding,” Malone said. “We asked a lot of Nikola, Jamal, all our guys, and he’s crazy, so he needs this break to try to get back as healthy as possible this season.”

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