Nuggets erase 19-point deficit in win over Spurs

Nuggets erase 19-point deficit in win over Spurs

Jokic's accomplishment was rendered a footnote by LaMarcus Aldridge's suffocating defense, DeMar DeRozen's 18 points, Derrick White's clinching steal in the closing seconds and all those wide-open shots that just didn't fall for Denver.

As the Nuggets look to have more success from beyond the arc on offense, it will be just as important that the team's defensive intensity and consistency carry over from game 1, especially on the Spurs' All-Stars.

The Denver Nuggets need a victory here to tie up the series at 1-1 and improve their odds of advancing.

"We didn't let Jokic play as he wanted and they didn't let LaMarcus play as much as he wanted", Popovich said. I let the crowd, the unbelievable energy, get to me. It's the reason why I had the Spurs winning this series and will continue to take them in the underdog role whenever I can get free points. "I just grabbed him and told him take a deep breath".

"I think if we're making shots, it becomes a lot harder to double-team him consistently", Malone said.

"I played awful for three quarters, [Nuggets coach Michael Malone] told me to keep shooting", Murray said in a postgame interview.

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Jamal Murray couldn't even get the in-game snack right. "He's big, strong and skilled, so doubling him definitely affected his shot attempts (in game 1)". Finally, he found his touch, scoring 21 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. He hit eight straight shots coming in all kinds of variety - pull-ups, fadeaways, 3-pointers.

Murray pumped his fist and then pulled out his trademark "Blue Arrow" celebration at half court by the scorer's table as the playoff towels were waving everywhere. "Just the way I imagined it". I trust the Spurs in the playoffs and know what to expect. But I love Nikola's approach.

Malone said he was bursting with pride over Murray's phenomenal bounce-back.

"First of many for Jamal Murray", Malone added of the point guard's playoff performance. Make no mistake, Denver was stumbling toward that fate, trailing 78-59 with 4 1/2 minutes to go in the third quarter. ".I didn't foresee the fourth quarter he was going to have but I knew in my heart he needed to get these minutes, he needed to be out there, I needed to show him that I believed in him".

While I believe the Spurs can win this series without DeRozan averaging 25-plus points per game, he needs to channel the aura of his favorite player, Kobe Bryant, and take control at those critical junctures of the game when the Spurs need him the most.

Jamal Murray was left to rue a huge missed chance in the dying seconds of the series opener, but he put those misses in the rearview mirror and erupted in the fourth.

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