Following a one-point loss to the Boston Celtics on Monday night, the Denver Nuggets traveled to San Antonio for a matchup with the Spurs on Tuesday evening for the second game of a back to back. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 30 points and the Nuggets lost the game on the final possession for the second consecutive night. The Spurs were able to hang on in a thriller for a 106-104 victory.

Nuggets starting center Mason Plumlee wasn’t available for the game due to a calf strain he picked up on Monday. Michael Malone, who is known to experiment with his rotations, surprised most everyone by starting veteran Darrell Arthur alongside Nikola Jokic.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich stuck to his usual starting frontcourt of Pau Gasol and Aldridge. Aldridge has won 14 consecutive games against the Nuggets going back to his days in Portland, and he did his best to keep the streak going on Tuesday. He feasted on Arthur and Jokic, connecting on his first five field goal attempts for 10 points in the quarter. They were vintage Aldridge shots as well; difficult mid-range jumpers — the type of offense that he has made a living on.

Jokic was in fine form, as well. The Serbian played for almost the entire quarter and scored five points on three shots while picking up four rebounds and six assists — including one absolute dime behind his back to Trey Lyles along the baseline.

The defense was absent for the most part as both teams shot well over 50 percent from beyond the arc and the field overall. The game was knotted at 30 after 12 exciting minutes of basketball.

The first quarter was played with pace and Malone doubled down in the second. He threw out a particularly small lineup of Emmanuel Mudiay, Malik Beasley, Will Barton, Torrey Craig, and Lyles. They pushed the pace and played tenacious defense to help push the Nuggets lead to five.

Denver connected on their first six attempts of the quarter, but San Antonio responded with a small run of their own to flip the lead on its head and grab a 51-46 lead. They’d carry a lead of that same size into the half as the Nuggets trailed 60-55.

The high scorers in the first half were Gasol and Aldridge, who scored 14 and 20 points respectively — the latter doing so on just 13 shots. While Darrell Arthur did struggle to contain Aldridge, he finished the half with 10 points in 11 minutes and sunk four of his five field goal attempts.

It should be noted that Wilson Chandler — who has missed the last two games with a vague illness — was made available to play, but didn’t touch the court at all in this game.

The big men of San Antonio picked up right where they left off in the third. Aldridge scored four points in the first three and half minutes — both buckets coming off an assist from Gasol. The lead hovered around five points for a few minutes before Spurs pushed it to as high as eight.

Murray scored to stop the bleeding, and then he and Harris sparked a 7-0 run with some aggressive drives to the hole. The Nuggets got themselves into the paint and to the free throw line. They’d take the lead, push to as high as seven and hold off a charge from the Spurs to carry an 81-80 lead into the final quarter.

Twenty seconds into the fourth, Torrey Craig left the game with an apparent injury. Richard Jefferson stepped in on his behalf but Craig would return later. The quarter belonged to one Emmanuel Mudiay, who dropped eight points in the first four minutes of the quarter. The Nuggets held the lead until around the six-minute mark until the Spurs took control. They pushed their lead to five which they carried until the game’s final minute. With 31 seconds left, Murray connected on a huge three to cut it to a one-possession game.

The Nuggets got the stop they needed, and Jokic pushed the ball up the court to Murray. Murray had one defender to beat but decided not to force it and dribbled the ball back out. The Nuggets moved the ball frantically before it found Trey Lyles.

Lyles offered a pump fake which his defender bit on, and he drove to the rim before passing it back out to an open Barton behind the three-point line. Barton’s shot went in-and-out and Denver fell 106-104 to the Spurs in San Antonio.

Following the loss, the Nuggets fall to 26-25 on the year and 7-18 on the road. Denver will have Wednesday off before hosting Carmelo Anthony and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night. That game tips off at 8:30 pm MT.