SAN ANTONIO — Nikola Jokic had 29 points and 12 rebounds, Jamal Murray added 24 points, and the Denver Nuggets beat the San Antonio Spurs, 117-103, on Saturday night, rebounding from a flat performance to tie the Western Conference first-round series at two games each.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 9 rebounds for San Antonio. DeMar DeRozan added 19 points before he was ejected with five minutes remaining after arguing with an official over an offensive foul.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Denver.
The second-seeded Nuggets were more aggressive and physical after a deflating Game 3 loss, just as Denver Coach Michael Malone had hoped.
“I want to see some emotion. I want to see some fire. I want to see some passion,” Malone said before the game.
Malone was able to stir that fire with a couple of changes after Derrick White scored 36 to fuel San Antonio’s Game 3 victory.
Torrey Craig started over a struggling Will Barton and was charged with defending White to open the game, with Murray switching to Bryn Forbes. The moves proved beneficial, if not at first.
White was limited to 8 points, shooting 3 of 8 from the field after going 15 for 21 on Thursday. Craig finished with 18 points, going 5 for 7 on 3-point attempts. Barton finished with 12 points and made all three of his 3-point attempts.
Behind by 12 points in the first quarter, Denver outscored San Antonio, 69-45, in the second and third.
Aldridge had 13 points in the opening quarter, shooting 5 for 9. His final points of the quarter came when he grabbed a miss by Marco Belineli and slammed it back in. Denver rallied in the second, with Jokic and Murray combining for 15 points as the Nuggets outscored the Spurs, 34-22.
The Spurs stopped driving to the basket, and the Nuggets began making their 3-point shots. They sank 15 of 31 over all.
Denver’s last playoff victory in San Antonio was April 22, 2007. The Nuggets have lost 13 in a row in San Antonio during the regular season.