|6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)03:0021:00 ET8:00 PM CTNaN:� , December 28, 2018
Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado Attendance: 20,076
Nuggets look to end skid against Spurs
San Antonio Spurs at Denver Nuggets
- The Spurs defeated the Nuggets on Wednesday, 111-103, on the back of 29 assists. San Antonio is 13-2 (.867) this season when recording over 25 assists, and 6-14 (.300) when recording 25 or fewer assists.
- San Antonio has won eight of its last 10 games, outscoring opponents by an average margin of 17.7 points. During this 10-game span, the Spurs have shot 52.2 percent from the field while limiting opponents to 40.6 percent. That 11.6-percent difference in field-goal percentage is the largest by any team over a 10-game span this season.
- Denver dropped both games of its two-game road trip, falling to 8-8 this season away from home. The Nuggets, however, have the NBA's fourth-best home record at 13-3 (.813), and have won seven straight home games by an average margin of 19.4 points.
- LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points on 13-for-19 (68.4 percent) shooting in the win over Denver. After averaging 16.5 points on 42.7 percent shooting in the month of November, Aldridge has increased his scoring output to 20.7 points on 59.7 percent shooting in December.
- Juancho Hernangomez tied a career-high with 27 points and set a new career-high with 13 rebounds last game. Hernangomez made six of his seven three-point attempts in the game, bringing his season three-point percentage to 43.5 percent -- seventh highest among frontcourt players (min. 100 3PA).
- In 13 games in December, San Antonio's bench is shooting 51.6 percent from the field and 48.3 percent from three-point range -- both tops in the NBA over that time. Over his last nine games (all off the bench), Davis Bertans is shooting 64.1 percent (25-for-39) from beyond the arc.
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The holidays have not been kind to the Denver Nuggets this year, but they have a chance to close out the year on a strong note.
The Nuggets (21-11) are riding a two-game losing streak, but are still in first place in the Western Conference, percentage points ahead of the Golden State Warriors. Denver gets a chance to finish 2018 with a pair of wins, starting with a rematch against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night in Denver.
The two teams met in San Antonio on Wednesday, and while the game was close for three-plus quarters the Spurs used a 15-0 run to pull away for a 111-103 victory. It was San Antonio's eighth win in the last 10 games to move above the .500 mark.
The win over Denver, which was first in the Western Conference entering Wednesday, is a confidence builder for the Spurs, guard DeMar DeRozan told the San Antonio Express-News.
"It just shows you we can go out there and compete with the best and why we should look at ourselves as one of the best teams in the league as well," he said. "Because when we go up against the best, we perform and come out like we did tonight. It's definitely a confidence builder for all of us to understand that we can do this."
DeRozan has logged nearly half a season with San Antonio (19-16) since coming over from Toronto in a trade that shipped Kawhi Leonard to the Raptors. DeRozan had 30 points in the win over the Nuggets, the Spurs' 12th straight home win against Denver.
San Antonio will try to repeat its performance at Pepsi Center, where the Nuggets are 13-3 this season.
"We just got to keep improving off this game," Spurs guard Derrick White told the San Antonio Express-News. "We made a lot of little mistakes throughout. But if we keep playing like that defensively, with good activity, and move the ball offensively, we are tough."
The Nuggets have lost four straight road games, and the strain of missing three starters might be taking a toll. Guard Will Barton has missed nine weeks after core muscle surgery, guard Gary Harris has been out eight games with a hip injury and forward Paul Millsap has missed seven with a broken toe.
"We've been undermanned for a while now," Denver coach Michael Malone said after Wednesday's game. "Hopefully at some point we can get some of our bodies back to be whole, because you can hold it for a while, but at some point, you get stretched a little bit."
Harris and Millsap could return soon, but neither is going to rush it. Denver is 4-3 while both have been sidelined.
Neither will play against the Spurs, but both practiced Thursday.
"I'm looking forward to it," Harris told reporters on Thursday. "Definitely doing more now. It's good to finally start getting back out there with the guys instead of just being isolated and doing my rehab."
Center Nikola Jokic has stepped up his game with the starters out. He is averaging 22.3 points, 10.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists since Dec. 8.
"He's definitely really stepped up as more of a leader, and I've definitely seen that while being out," Harris said Thursday. "He's taken control of this team, and everybody knows it's his team."
Updated December 28, 2018