GAMEDAY AT A GLANCE
Denver Nuggets (26-24) vs. Spurs (33-19)
When, where: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., AT&T Center
Season series: Spurs lead 1-0
Last meeting: Spurs 112, Nuggets 80, Jan. 13, AT&T Center
Nuggets’ last game: Lost to Celtics 111-110, Monday, Denver
Spurs’ last game: Beat Kings 113-98, Sunday, AT&T Center
Nuggets’ last 10 games, streak: 5-5, won three
Spurs’ last 10 games, streak: 5-5, won one
Notable: Spurs Rudy Gay (right heel bursitis) and Kawhi Leonard (rehabbing quad injury) are out for Tuesday’s game . . . Bryn Forbes tied his career high with five three-pointers in the Spurs’ 113-98 victory against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.
When the story of the 2017-18 Spurs is written, the inspired play of 40-year-old Manu Ginobili and the steady development of young guards Dejounte Murray and Bryn Forbes will be major parts of the narrative.
Ginobili, Murray and Forbes all played prominent roles in a 113-98 victory against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, helping the Silver and Black break out of a rare two-game home skid.
All three will be on the floor again Tuesday night when the Spurs (33-19) host the Denver Nuggets (26-24) in the third of a five-game homestand. The Nuggets will be playing the second half of a back-to-back after losing a 111-110 thriller to Boston in Denver on Monday.
Ginobili, a guard who is the second-oldest active player in the NBA, showed no rust in his return from a thigh contusion that sidelined him for six games. Playing 25 minutes, Ginobili finished with 15 points, four rebounds and three assists off the bench.
Forbes, 24, and Murray, 21, are both second-year pros.
Forbes, who has become one of the Spurs' most reliable reserves, led the team's scoring against the Kings with 23 points and tied his career high with five three-pointers.
Murray had another strong performance with a double-double in his fifth consecutive start at point guard, finishing with 14 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Playing with a maturity beyond his years, Murray went 6 of 6 from the field and had no turnovers.
"After the game, I said, 'Dejounte and Bryn, you guys were great tonight' because they were good on the offensive end and on the defensive end," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They guarded really well. Bryn was chasing guys around all night, guys that are bigger than he is. He was really something else. I'm really proud of him."
Forbes and Murray also received props from Ginobili after Sunday's game.
"Besides the effort, the way they played," Ginobili said, when asked what he thought of the effort Forbes and Murray demonstrated. "Bryn was amazing scoring. DJ, with his usual activity, creating for others, rebounding. They both did excellent today."
Reserve guard Patty Mills had plenty to say after he was asked what it was like to have Ginobili and his "Grandpa Juice" back on the court.
"Huge. Huge," Mills said. "Whenever he's not on vacation, he's great for us. But him being on the floor, just his impact on just being there. But then he makes plays, too, which no 40-year-old should be making, and I think it inspires everyone. Because if he can do those hustle plays or those effort plays, then there's no excuse on why everyone else shouldn't be able to do that. So, it's definitely inspiring."
Popovich also talked about what Ginobili's mere presence on the court means to his teammates.
"There's no doubt that their confidence level goes up and they feel a bit more organized with guys like Manu in the lineup," Popovich said. "It's kind of like they go into battle with guys like that. It makes you feel better, so it was wonderful to have him back."
Ginobili and Kings guard/forward Vince Carter made history Sunday when they became the first NBA players in their 40s to score at least 15 points in the same game.
Carter, who turned 41 on Friday and is the oldest player in the league, finished with 21 points and nailed 5 of 7 three-pointers. Ginobili turns 41 on July 28.
Ginobili chuckled when he was asked if he compared aches and pains with Carter.
"Yes, we talked briefly about how we are feeling," he said. "We both agreed that we still enjoy the game. It's not that we wake up and everything hurts and it's a nightmare to go the gym to work out or play. There are days when you are more energetic than others. But we still enjoy doing what we do. It was great to see him play like that today. I felt good, too,"
Popovich marveled at how Ginobili and Carter have continued to play at such a high level at their age.
"They're such high-class acts and it's good to see Vince play," Popovich said. "He plays hard and he does it with class. He's been doing this for so long, just like Manu. They're the kind of guys you hope never retire."
Always one to keep an even keel, Ginobili took his return in stride.
"I'm just very happy to be back," he said. "It took me a couple more games than I thought it was going to take, but we made sure it was fully recovered and the muscle was firing. I felt really well. I played more than I expected. We'll see tomorrow how I feel, but on the court during the game it felt very good. I'm happy to have contributed."
Up next for the Spurs after Tuesday's game: vs. Houston, Thursday, 7 p.m., AT&T Center