04/20 21:26 CDT Nuggets beat Spurs 117-103 to tie series at 2-2
Nuggets beat Spurs 117-103 to tie series at 2-2
SAN ANTONIO (AP) --- Denver coach Mike Malone wanted more passion, fire and
emotion. The young Nuggets responded.
Nikola Jokic had 29 points and 12 rebounds, Jamal Murray added 24 points and
Denver beat the San Antonio Spurs 117-103 on Saturday night, rebounding from a
flat performance tie the first-round series at two games apiece.
"We can talk to we're blue in the face about, 'Hey, we're going to hit them
first,' and all that," Malone said. "Go out there and do it."
The Nuggets did so, winning in San Antonio for the first time since 2012.
Denver had lost three straight postseason games in San Antonio dating to their
last playoff matchup in 2007 and had also lost 13 straight regular-season games
on the road to the Spurs.
"It's an unbelievable win," said Paul Millsap, one of the few Nuggets with
previous postseason experience. "I can't put into words the magnitude of this
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Denver.
The Nuggets were more aggressive and physical after a deflating Game 3 loss,
which was expected. What wasn't expected was the flat response by the veteran
"The Nuggets competed and we did not," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.
"Their physicality was obvious from the get-go. You knew that was going to
happen and we did not respond. So, it was a very disappointing loss."
LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and nine rebounds for the Spurs. DeMar DeRozan
added 19 points before he was ejected with five minutes remaining after
throwing a ball past an official and into the stands.
"Frustration," DeRozan said. "I mean, I thought it was a bad call."
Malone fanned San Antonio's frustrations with a couple of changes after Derrick
White's 36-point outing in San Antonio's Game 3 victory.
Torrey Craig started over a struggling Will Barton and was charged with
defending White to open the game along with Gary Harris, with Murray switching
to Bryn Forbes. The moves proved beneficial, if not at first.
"He's a really good defender," Jokic said about Craig. "He's helping us on
defensive rebounds. So, he helps in that part of the game, and his defense is
really phenomenal. And when he's making shots like tonight, it's a great job by
White was limited to eight points on 3-for-8 shooting after going 15 for 21 on
Thursday. Craig finished with 18 points, going 5 for 7 on 3-pointers. Barton
finished with 12 points and made all three of his 3-point attempts.
"They executed their game plan better," White said. "We kind of helped them out
by playing awful."
Down by 12 points in the first quarter, Denver outscored San Antonio 69-45 in
the second and third.
"We did a really good job defensively, that's what won us the game," Murray
said. "In quarters two, three and four, we got our run because of our defense
because we all collectively rebounded. It was just a collective effort that led
to our offense."
San Antonio had 60 points in the pain, only two off its Game 3 total, but they
had 11 fewer second-chance points and nine less Fastbreak points.
Nuggets: Denver's last playoff victory in San Antonio was April 22, 2007. The
Nuggets have lost 13 straight in San Antonio during the regular season. ...
Barton started 38 of 43 games during the regular season and the first three
games of the series.
Spurs: San Antonio hosted its 200th playoff game and competed in its 400th
overall, joining Boston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles (Lakers) as the only
franchises with that postseason experience. ... The Spurs have led after the
first quarter in every game this series. ... Aldridge made his 35th postseason
appearance with the Spurs, one more than he did in nine seasons with Portland.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Denver.