The Nuggets ended the series in a nice fashion last night, when they finally got past the First Round of the playoffs after quite a few years. It was a very intense game, a lot of heart and passion put into it, but that wasn’t enough for the almighty Spurs to get it done in the end. After being down by almost 20 in the first half, San Antonio made a bit of a comeback, erasing the point deficit to just 2 late in the 4th quarter. Jamal Murray came with a very clutch shot which proved to be a dagger, as he ran the pick-and-roll with the Joker and sank a running rainbow floater to burry the opponent.
We couldn’t quite understand why the Spurs didn’t foul on the last possession, as it was a big mistake, even though chances were slim to none, you need to fight until the final buzzer. Nonetheless, the less experienced Nikola Jokic just outpowered the veteran LaMarcus Aldridge, who only had 16 PTS, 11 REB and 4 AST on 37,5 FG%. Jokic was once again the decisive factor for his team, proving to the world that he is, indeed, a true leader of that team. He had a triple-double with 21 PTS, 15 REB and 10 AST, as well as 3 blocks. Jamal Murray also had a very good game, in which he scored 23 PTS, while grabbing 5 boards and dishing 4 AST. He also came big in the clutch, as mentioned above, and ran the pick-and-roll effectively throughout the whole game, with his partner in crime.
The Nuggets will face Portland Trail Blazers, the opponent which Mike Malone wanted to face instead of Houston in the next round, and that will be a very interesting match-up. Jokic can prove to be the key once again, as Portland don’t have a big man that can defend.
As for the Spurs point-of-view, DeRozan had an awful night, shooting 7-21 from the field and scoring only 19 points in a decisive game. This is definitely a night to forget for both him and Aldridge, but before that, Popovich will need to think of a game plan without LaMarcus, because there are huge chances for him not to be there anymore coming into the next season. In spite of all that, Derrick White is a reason for the Spurs organization to be happy, as we could see that he has the potential to replace the legend Tony Parker on the point guard position. It is just a matter of time.