Despite holding two separate 19 point advantages, the San Antonio Spurs would fall 114-105 to the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series.
Denver’s win would see them knot the best-of-seven series at one game apiece and saw the Spurs blow a golden chance at taking a commanding lead in the series heading back to San Antonio.
“We gave up 38 points in the fourth quarter. End of story,” a frustrated Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “It is hard to win a game in the playoffs when you give up 38 points.”
Here is what went good and bad for the Spurs, as well as three standout players: LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, and Derrick White.
- After a game where they struggled to shoot the basketball, DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge returned to form as they both had solid outings in a game the Silver and Black should have won.
- Derrick White continues to show he is made for the pressure that is the NBA Playoffs.
- San Antonio had a 19-point lead two different times in the game, proving that when they play smart basketball, they can beat this Denver team and win games on the road.
- As Pop said, the Spurs gave up 39 points in the fourth quarter. That can’t happen no matter what team you are in the playoffs.
- The Spurs bench was nonexistent on Tuesday, scoring just 23 points. The lineup of Belinelli, Mills, Bertans, Gay, and Aldridge allowed Denver to rally back from 19 points down two different times.
- Jamal Murray was a thorn in the Spurs sides in the fourth quarter. He scorched San Antonio for 24 points, with 21 coming in the fourth. Murray was 0-for-8 heading into the final 12 minutes but would come out hot and hit back-to-back three-pointers to seal the win for the Nuggets.
Three Standout Players:
The Spurs needed a big game from their star player in Game 2 and that is exactly what they got from the moment the game tipped off.
DeRozan finished with 31 points on 11-for-19 shooting from the floor to go along with seven rebounds. The guard slashed his way to the paint, remained aggressive, and made big shots when his number was called.
The Spurs big man knew he needed to be better in Game 2 and he was. Denver backed off from their double teams early and that let LMA go to work.
Aldridge finished with 24 points on 8-for-20 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and three assists. The forward was no match for Nikola Jokic or Mason Plumlee in the paint as he banged down low for buckets and drew fouls.
The former Colorado Buffalo continues to make his return home felt as he put together another solid outing in his second playoff start.
White scored 17 points and shot 63 percent from the floor as he continues to show his growth in just his second year.
San Antonio goes home knowing they took care of business and got one game. However, White takes no reassurance that just because they’re going home it’ll be a win.
“None of that matters, he said. “It’ll be a dog fight in San Antonio.”
The best-of-seven series is tied 1-1 and the Spurs will return to the court on Thursday night when they welcome the Nuggets to the AT&T Center for Game 3 at 8 pm Central Time.