Nikola Jokic finished with 25 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds to help the surging Denver Nuggets to a 106-96 victory over the visiting San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday in the first of a two-games-in-three-days mini-series between the teams.
The game was the second of a home back-to-back for the Nuggets, who rolled past Detroit on Tuesday, and they looked the worse for the wear early on. Denver trailed late in the second quarter before finding its stride, opening up a huge lead midway through the final period and winning its seventh straight contest.
Michael Porter Jr. added 18 points and 10 rebounds and Will Barton hit for 14 points for Denver.
Dejounte Murray and Derrick White led the Spurs with 18 points each, with DeMar DeRozan scoring 14 and Patty Mills adding 12 off the bench. San Antonio has lost four consecutive games and nine of its past 11.
The Spurs were up 48-44 with 2:37 to play in the half before Denver forged a 10-2 run to take a 54-50 lead into the break.
Porter and Jokic hit 15 points apiece to pace Denver at halftime as the Nuggets outshot San Antonio 50 percent to 42.6 percent. Thirty-six of Denver's points in the half came in the paint.
DeRozan, Murray and White each scored 10 points to lead the Spurs in the first half.
The Spurs opened the third quarter with a 12-0 run to jump back on top at 62-54. Denver eventually responded with an 11-0 surge of its own to take the lead at 69-68 and led 81-74 lead heading into the final period.
San Antonio got a bucket from Mills to open the fourth quarter, but the Nuggets scored the next nine points and assumed a 90-76 lead that was never challenged.
Denver coach Michael Malone was ejected from the game for arguing a non-foul call at the 5:32 mark of the second quarter with the Nuggets ahead 42-41.