San Antonio began this game as cold as it probably was outside in Denver tonight, and made only two of their first nine shots. With Tim Duncan out, 7'3" Boban Marjanovic was able to notch his first NBA start of his career. To some surprise, he racked up three rebounds (two offensive), two points and an assist in the first three minutes of the game.
The Spurs seemed just half a step slow in the first quarter. Pop decided to talk things over with a time out once the Spurs found themselves down 11-6 halfway through the first, and brought in the second unit a bit earlier than usual. After an agonizingly slow quarter from both squads, it was tied going into the second. Both teams shot 31.6% from the field in the first, if that gives any indication of how fun it was to watch.
Things got worse to start the second quarter. After six turnovers leading to 11 points for the Nuggets, the Spurs were down 29-20. Defensively, if SA wasn't allowing a lay-up or a dunk, it was an open jumper. On offense, Kawhi Leonard was able to get himself going late in the second quarter once SA began to fall back on his scoring ability. Thanks to Kawhi and Tony Parker, who had a combined 21 in the second, the Spurs went into halftime with a 46-42 lead.
Kawhi and Tony continued right where they left off to start the third, giving the Spurs an eight point lead that led to Denver time-out. Beginning in the second quarter, those two scored 23 straight for SA. Kawhi was absolutely brilliant and doing everything on both sides of the floor. Leonard filled up the stats-sheet in the first three quarters with 25 points, seven rebounds, five assists, five blocks and four steals. The Spurs went into the fourth with an 11 point advantage.
Three straight threes to open up the final quarter put the Spurs up 20 only a minute and a half into the fourth, and the Nuggets just couldn't catch up after that. The best defensive team in the league held the Nuggets to only 80 points. The Spurs notch their fourth straight win and improve to 13-3 overall.