San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich may’ve cooked up any variety of devious defensive schemes in opposition to Denver in Sport 1. As a substitute, in response to a number of Nuggets, the Spurs’ plan was precisely what they anticipated.

The query, following Saturday night time’s Sport 1 playoff loss, is whether or not the Nuggets could make the Spurs pay for his or her ways heading into Tuesday’s Sport 2?

All-Star Nikola Jokic stated he anticipated the thicket of double-teams the Spurs threw in his path. His triple-double, simply the fourth for any participant in NBA historical past making their playoff debut, proved he knew methods to circumvent their technique. Jokic had 10 factors to go together with 14 rebounds and 14 assists. Had his teammates not bricked an irregular variety of open appears, he would’ve had not less than a number of extra assists.

San Antonio needed the ball out of Jokic’s fingers and into the fingers of the Nuggets’ 3-point shooters, lots of whom had been making their postseason debut. Identical to everybody else, the Spurs knew Denver’s 3-point taking pictures had fallen to only 33 % during the last month. And relatively than let Jokic toy with their inside defenders and danger getting LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl into much more foul hassle, Popovich despatched the entice at Jokic.

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“Each time he put it down, there was anyone proper there,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone stated. “Sadly, we didn’t make them pay for double-teaming sufficient. I believe if we’re making photographs, it turns into loads more durable to double-team him constantly. They stayed with it as a result of we couldn’t make a shot.”

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The Nuggets’ beginning lineup shot a mixed 3-of-22 from the 3-point line. Torrey Craig (two) and Malik Beasley (1) contributed the one different triples.

However the Nuggets had an opportunity to win the sport on Jamal Murray’s clear look from the fitting elbow, however he clanked the shot with underneath 10 seconds left. The Nuggets’ protection – they held San Antonio to only 42 factors within the second half – was the rationale they practically overcame their brutal taking pictures night time.

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“We kinda knew with him being such a risk that he was going to attract a variety of consideration,” stated guard Monte Morris. “Now we all know going ahead, we simply gotta all be shot prepared and shoot it with confidence.”

Popovich dared the Nuggets shooters to beat them, and it swung homecourt benefit within the course of. Nuggets ahead Paul Millsap stated he welcomed the same ploy in Sport 2.

“If they arrive with the identical technique, we’ll make them subsequent time for certain,” Millsap stated.


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