San Antonio center Pau Gasol broke a finger in warmups, Coach Gregg Popovich was ejected in the second quarter, but the Spurs still had no trouble in a 118-104 victory over the visiting Denver Nuggets on Thursday night in San Antonio.
Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points, rookie Dejounte Murray added a season-high 24 and the Spurs ended the Nuggets’ three-game winning streak despite a career-high 35 points from Nikola Jokic.
Leonard had his fifth consecutive 30-point performance, right after learning he will start for the Western Conference in the All-Star game for the second consecutive season.
The Spurs were unexpectedly without Gasol, Tony Parker (sprained foot) and Popovich, who was ejected for the first time this season.
Gasol broke the ring finger on his left (non-shooting) hand by jamming it against Kyle Anderson’s shoulder during warmups while attempting a running hook. The 16-year veteran center immediately clutched his hand and left the court.
X-rays revealed the break, and the Spurs said there is no timeline for Gasol’s return.
Washington 113, at New York 110: Carmelo Anthony set a Knicks record with 25 points in the second quarter, but he scored only nine more, and John Wall led the Wizards with 29 points and 13 assists.
at Cleveland 118, Phoenix 103: Kryie Irving scored 26 points, All-Star teammate LeBron James finished with 21 points and 15 assists, and the Cavaliers improved to 30-11 — the same record Cleveland had at the halfway point of its 2016 NBA championship season.
at Miami 99, Dallas 95: Goran Dragic led the Heat with 32 points, making all four three-point tries, and Tyler Johnson contributed 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter. Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 points for Dallas, which had its season-best three-game winning streak snapped.