DENVER -- San Antonio and Denver couldn't stop each other for the first 10 minutes. The Spurs eventually fixed their defensive problem while the Nuggets continued to let them score. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 points, Tony Parker had 21 points and nine assists and San Antonio beat Denver 127-99 on Thursday night. Kawhi Leonard scored 24 poinits for the Spurs, who led by as many as 31 points in the win. San Antonio (29-7) is a month from its longest road trip of the season when the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo takes over the AT&T Center. The annual rodeo road trip should be grueling, but this year it could be better than playing at home. The Spurs improved to 17-3 on the road, which is better than their home record (12-4). They got it done defensively against the Nuggets after Denver hit its first 10 shots and was a sizzling 72.2 percent from the field in the first quarter. Denver went 26 of 68 the rest of the game and saw a six-point lead turn into a blowout for San Antonio. "First quarter, they were hot," Parker said. "That can't happen. Second quarter we hold them to 20 points. Second half, we played a lot better defense and obviously on offense our ball movement was great." The Nuggets continued their struggles at Pepsi Center, where they are now 7-11 this season. They had won four of five at home before losing three straight and four in a row overall. They had no answer for San Antonio's big three, which dominated Denver's lineup. Nikola Jokic had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Danilo Gallinari scored 15 for the Nuggets. "We can't be a team that just relies on our offense to pick up our defense," Denver coach Michael Malone said. "We have to bring our defense every night regardless if you're making shots." Denver (14-22) has allowed an average of 124.5 points during its losing streak and has given up at least 120 in all four games. The Nuggets are last in the NBA in defensive efficiency. "It's definitely getting frustrating," Wilson Chandler said. "We've got to figure out some way to get out of it and it's going to be on the defensive end." The Spurs attempted their first free throw with 5:57 left in second quarter, their only one in the first half. They didn't need to get to the line after shooting 56.8 percent in the first 24 minutes. Aldridge had 15 points as San Antonio took a 58-53 lead at the break. San Antonio expanded its lead to 12 midway through the third quarter and went on a run to put Denver in a hole it couldn't recover from. Parker hit two shots to start the push before Aldridge took over. He scored all 11 of his points in the quarter during the last 5:18 to help the Spurs stretch the advantage to 90-72. "He's in a great rhythm right now and needs to stay like that," Parker said of Aldridge. "He's a great shooter, a great scorer. When he plays like that. he forces double team and makes everybody's job easier." Denver pulled within 13 at the start of the fourth quarter, but San Antonio scored the first six points, the last on a 3-pointer by Manu Ginobili, to make it 96-77. Leonard's baseline drive and dunk made it 110-90. The Spurs outscored Denver 69-46 in the second half. "The way we started that third quarter was disappointing," Malone said. "We missed two layups and had two turnovers, and against that team any mistake you make they're going to make you pay. They don't need any help. "They're a great offensive team, they execute well, they shoot it well and we give up 23 points off bad possessions." NOTES: Nuggets F Kenneth Faried missed his third straight game with lower back pain. He is still considered day to day. ... Spurs coach Gregg Popovich praised the addition of Pau Gasol, who entered Thursday first on the team in rebounding and third in scoring. "He's a smart player," Popovich said. "Every coach likes to add smart players to the mix." ... Nuggets coach Michael Malone said he apologized to his team for his postgame comments Tuesday in which he questioned the leadership of the veterans. "I apologized to our veterans," he said. "Anything that's going on within our locker room should be left in the locker room. I failed in that regard the other night." ... The Spurs had everyone healthy for Thursday's game.
Aldridge, Parker pace Spurs in rout of Nuggets
The Sports Xchange | Jan 6