Nikola Jokic’s 42 points pace Nuggets past Spurs

Nikola Jokic put up 42 points and hauled in 16 rebounds, Aaron Gordon scored 23 points and the host Denver Nuggets beat the San Antonio Spurs 110-105 on Tuesday night.

Jokic, who had six assists, passed Carmelo Anthony for third on Denver’s all-time scoring list with 13,978 points.

Michael Porter Jr. scored 15 and had a career-high 16 rebounds. He drained a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 28 seconds left to give the Nuggets the lead for good.

Denver (53-23) moved ahead of Oklahoma City atop the Western Conference standings.

Victor Wembanyama had 23 points, 15 rebounds, nine blocked shots and eight assists and Tre Jones had 10 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his third career triple-double for San Antonio (18-58).

Malaki Branham led the Spurs with 24 points, Zach Collins scored 13, Julian Champagnie added 11 and Sandro Mamukelashvili and Cedi Osman finished with 10 each.

San Antonio played without Jeremy Sochan (left ankle impingement), Keldon Johnson (left foot sprain) and Devin Vassell (right hand injury) while the Nuggets were without guard Jamal Murray (right knee inflammation) for the sixth straight game.

Denver opened the final quarter with eight straight points and led 99-88 with 7:54 left, but the Spurs scored 12 straight points to go ahead 100-99. The lead seesawed, with Jokic and Wembanyama trading baskets to make it 105-105 with 1:02 left.

After both teams missed shots, Porter drained a 3-pointer to put the Nuggets ahead for good.

The Spurs took a seven-point lead late in the first half, but Denver rallied to go ahead 55-54 at intermission.

The Nuggets were up 63-60 early in the third, but San Antonio came storming back. Champagnie made two straight layups, Mamukelashvili sank a pair of free throws and hit one from deep and Wembanyama drained a long 3-pointer during a 14-2 run to put the Spurs in front 74-65.

Denver responded with a run of its own. Jokic hit two straight hook shots, Caldwell-Pope hit a corner 3-pointer and Gordon scored five points during a 15-3 scoring stretch to put the Nuggets ahead 83-76. Denver led 86-85 heading into the fourth.

–Field Level Media