Gameday at a glance
Denver Nuggets (22-20) vs. Spurs (28-15)
When, where: Saturday, 7:30 p.m., AT&T Center
Season series: First meeting
Nuggets’ last game: Beat Grizzlies 87-78, Friday, Denver
Spurs’ last game: Lost to Lakers 93-81, Thursday, Los Angeles
Nuggets last 10 games, streak: 5-5, won one
Spurs’ last 10 games, streak: 6-4, lost one
Notable: Spurs Danny Green (tightness, left groin), Kawhi Leonard (left shoulder strain) and Tony Parker are questionable for Saturday night’s game. Backup Rudy Gay (right heel bursitis) is out . . . The Spurs have lost four of their last seven games, but their 18-2 record at home is the best in the NBA this season.
Good teams sometimes win even when they play poorly.
Such was not the case for the Spurs on Thursday night, when they ended a three-game West Coast trip with a 93-81 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Playing without injured starters Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Danny Green, finished with 21 turnovers, including eight in the fourth quarter, that the Lakers converted into 32 points. The Spurs' loss was their first to the Lakers (14-27) in Los Angeles since 2013.
"That was a pathetic performance by our team, and a lot of the reason for it was the way the Lakers played," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They were very physical, much more physical than we were. Their desire was at a totally different level than ours was. Just effort and will. I thought in that sense, we were pathetic."
LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs' scoring with 20 points, but he had only five in the second half. Bryn Forbes, who started in Green's guard slot, finished with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 4 of 7 from the three-point line.
Dejounte Murray had a solid game subbing for Parker at point guard, finishing with 14 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three steals. Murray rounded out the double-digit scoring for San Antonio.
The Spurs fought back from a 19-point deficit to go up 53-52 on a three-pointer by Forbes with 6:42 left in the third quarter. Undaunted, the Lakers responded with a 16-4 run that put them up 68-57 with 1:13 remaining in the period.
Trailing 68-62 heading into the fourth quarter, the Spurs cut the deficit to two twice (75-73 and 77-75) before L.A. pulled away in the final six minutes.
With their offensive execution sputtering, the Spurs shot only 40.8 percent (31/75) from the field. They were 40 percent (8/20) from the three-point line.
San Antonio has lost four of its last seven games and almost went 0-3 in its three-game West Coast trip. The Spurs rode a 28-point game by backup forward Davis Bertans in a 107-100 win over Sacramento on Monday night in the second half of a back-to-back. They opened the trip with a 111-110 loss to Portland.
The Spurs listed Green, Leonard, and Parker as questionable for Saturday night's game. Backup forward Rudy Gay (right heel bursitis) has been ruled out. Leonard has played in only eight games since missing the first 27 of the season with a quad injury. He has been sidelined for the last three games with a shoulder strain.
The Silver and Black will play a Denver team that broke out of a three-game skid with an 87-78 victory against the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night in Denver. The Nuggets (22-20) are sixth in the Western Conference standings.
Denver beat Memphis without leading scorer Gary Harris, who was back home in Indiana tending to a personal matter.
The Spurs went 3-0 against the Nuggets last season and haven't lost to Denver in San Antonio since March 2012.
Up next for the Spurs after Saturday's game: at Atlanta, Monday, 2 p.m.