MANILA, Philippines –The NBA playoffs kicked off with a pair of upsets and the San Antonio Spurs closed the day with another one.
DeMar DeRozan posted a double-double while Derrick White and LaMarcus Aldridge also came through the clutch as the Spurs shocked the No. 2 Denver Nuggets, 101-96, in their Western Conference matchup on Saturday, April 13 (Sunday, April 14, Manila time).
DeRozan powered the Spurs with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists.
White similarly starred with a crucial steal on Jamal Muray mid-court with 1.3 seconds left before icing the game for the Spurs with two free throws. He finished with 16 points and 5 assists.
Aldridge also nailed two crucial free throws after a key defensive rebound on Murray’s missed shot that would have given the Nuggets a 98-97 lead in the last 7 seconds.
Only the Golden State Warriors lived up to their top billing with a dominant win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Nuggets All-Star Nikola Jokic tallied a triple-double of 10 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists, but was virtually a non-factor on offense as he nailed only 4 shots out of 9 attempts.
“We didn’t let Jokic play as he wanted and they didn’t let LaMarcus play as much as he wanted,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
Gary Harris led the Nuggets with 20 points and Murray scored 17.
Bryn Forbes chipped in 15 points for the Spurs, who are on their 22nd straight playoff appearance.
Aldridge also finished with 15 points but shot only 6-of-19 before coming through the endgame where he grabbed a crucial rebound and sank the foul shots that gave the Spurs a 99-96 advantage with 6.9 seconds left. – Rappler.com