The Spurs blew a 23 point third quarter lead in the first game of a back-to-back Monday night in Denver against the Nuggets. It was definitely a tale of two halves.
The Spurs scored 40 points in the first quarter and led 67-53 at halftime. The lead quickly ballooned to 22 early in the second half and with 6:49 left in the third quarter the Spurs held a solid 86-63 lead. Things went downhill from there as if someone hit a switch. Led by Jamal Murray’s 26 points; 14 in the fourth quarter, the Nuggets outscored the Spurs 64-34 in the final 19 minutes of the game. Nikola Jokic added 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 13 assists; while veteran Paul Milsap added 22 points in only 19 minutes.
LaMarcus Aldridge led all scorers with 33 points (17 in the first 10:31 of the game), and was 4-8 from behind the three point line. Lonnie Walker IV got his first start of his career in place of DeMar DeRozan who sat out due to back spasms. Walker finished the game with only 4 points in 27 minutes.
The Spurs have now lost the first five games of this year’s rodeo road trip and are 2-8 in their last ten games. The last leg of the trip doesn’t get any easier for the Spurs either with two games in Oklahoma and a game in Utah. Tuesday’s game in Oklahoma City is the final game before the All-Star break.
Monday’s loss put the Spurs a full five games behind Memphis for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western conference. Considering the team didn’t make any moves by the trade deadline, the prospects of making the playoffs for a league record 23 seasons with this roster are bleak. Barring some sort of miracle the streak ends this year.