Jokic just missed 13th triple-double of the season. Michael Porter Jr. added 18 points and 10 rebounds in the opener of the two-game set in Denver.
Denver has won seven in a row and has yet to lose in six games since Aaron Gordon and JaVale McGee came over in trade-deadline deals. Gordon had nine points, and McGee provided energy off the bench in the second half.
Derrick White and Dejounte Murray scored 18 points each for struggling San Antonio. The Spurs hit the road for five games after going 2-7 at home, including a 24-point loss to Cleveland on Monday night.
The teams will meet again Friday night.
Denver coach Michael Malone got two technicals and was ejected with 5:32 left in the first half for yelling at the officials following a Jokic turnover.
The Nuggets led 54-50 at halftime but the Spurs opened the third on an 18-4 run to lead by 10. Denver scored the next 11 points and finished the third quarter on a 23-6 run to lead by seven heading into the fourth.
Denver quickly built a double-digit lead and went ahead by 20 on Porter’s 3-pointer.
Spurs: Lonnie Walker IV (right wrist soreness), Trey Lyles (right ankle sprain) and Keita Bates-Diop (right hamstring strain) continued to be sidelined. »As you might imagine with the type of injuries they have, it’s just a process,» coach Gregg Popovich said about Bates-Diop and Lyles. »They’re getting closer and closer.»
Nuggets: F Paul Millsap was inactive for rest. … Malone said G Monte Morris won’t log heavy minutes for now. He played in his second game after missing 11 with a right quad strain. He finished with seven points in 19 minutes.
MURRAY SITS AGAIN
Nuggets guard Jamal Murray was out of the lineup for the second straight game with right knee soreness. With the compact schedule Malone said he needs to manage Murray’s workload.
»We’re in the middle of six games in nine nights, three games in four nights, so the schedule has obviously been very demanding,» Malone said. »We’ve asked a lot of Nikola, Jamal, all of our guys, and he’s banged up, so he needs this rest to try and get back as healthy as possible this season.»