Nuggets advance after surviving Spurs in dramatic Game 7
MANILA, Philippines – What difference a year makes.
From missing the playoffs last season, the Denver Nuggets are through to the Western Conference semifinals after edging the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the first round on Saturday, April 27 (Sunday, April 28, Philippine time).
Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray delivered outstanding performances as the Nuggets pulled off a 90-86 win despite San Antonio erasing a double-digit deficit with a furious fourth-quarter run.
Jokic submitted a triple-double of 21 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists, and 3 blocks, while Murray scored a game-high 23 points, including the floater that made it a 4-point lead for the Nuggets with 36 seconds left.
Nikola Jokic (21 PTS, 15 REB, 10 AST) notches the GAME 7 triple-double and joins LeBron James and Magic Johnson as the only players in @NBAHistory to record multiple triple-doubles in their first career #NBAPlayoffs! #MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/NveMFzGs3S— NBA (@NBA) April 28, 2019
The Spurs had plenty of time to make it a one-possession game but DeMar DeRozan's had his two-pointer blocked by Torrey Craig.
Denver then cruised to their first playoff series win since 2009 and sealed its playoff date in the second round against the Portland Trail Blazers as San Antonio dumbfoundingly failed to foul in the final 25 seconds.
Gary Harris added 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks, while Paul Millsap chipped in 9 points and 7 rebounds.
The Nuggets held a 74-61 lead early in the final frame before the Spurs slowly chiseled away at their deficit, narrowing the gap to just 2 points off a Bryn Forbes dunk with 52 seconds remaining, 86-88.
But it was just not meant to be for San Antonio as Murray and Jokic rose to the occasion for Denver when it mattered most.
Rudy Gay paced the Spurs with 21 points and 8 rebounds, DeRozan had 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists, while Forbes added 19 points and 6 rebounds.
LaMarcus Aldridge put up 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks in the loss. – Rappler.com