Posted on April 21, 2019, by Travis Pulver
Heading into Saturday night’s game against the Spurs in San Antonio, the Nuggets knew they had their work cut out for them—and not just because they were down, 2-1, in the series. Of their last 14 games in San Antonio the had gone a whopping 14-0. They hadn’t won in San Antonio since 2012.
So— yeah, winning in San Antonio would not be easy. As it turns out, it wasn’t.
San Antonio got the game off to the right start and led by 12 points after the first, 34-22. But Denver slowly began to take over the game in the second and took the lead in the final minutes of the quarter following a 16-5 run.
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However, San Antonio was able to battle back and tie the game before the end of the half, 54-54.
The third quarter got off to a competitive start before the Nuggets started to pull away. When the quarter came to an end, the Nuggets had pulled ahead by 12, 91-79. San Antonio went on to trail by as much as 19 points in the fourth.
The Spurs never really threatened to get back in the game and went on to lose by 14 points, 117-103.
San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich didn’t hold back when assessing his team after the game:
“The Nuggets competed, and we did not. Their physicality was obvious from the get-go. You knew that was going to happen and we did not respond. So, it was a very disappointing loss.”
LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 24 points and nine rebounds followed by DeMar DeRozan with 19. DeRozan was ejected with about five minutes to go after getting frustrated and tossing the ball past the ref and into the stands.
Derrick White followed up his 36-point performance in Game Three with just eight points in Game Four.
“They executed their game plan better,” White said after the game, via ESPN . “We kind of helped them out by playing awful.”
The Spurs still had an excellent game in the paint scoring 60 points. But they struggled from three-point range hitting just five of 17 attempts. Denver, on the other hand, hit 15 of 31 three-pointers.
Nicola Jokic led the way for the Nuggets with 29 points and 12 rebounds followed by Jamal Murray with 24 points. Torrey Craig chipped in 18. But after the game, Murray credited the team’s defensive effort for winning the day, via ESPN:
“We did a really good job defensively, that’s what won us the game. In quarters two, three and four, we got our run because of our defense because we all collectively rebounded. It was just a collective effort that led to our offense.”
The series will not shift back to Denver for Game Five on Tuesday. The Nuggets are favored to win by 5.5 points. Denver was one of the best home teams in the league this year (34-7) while San Antonio struggled on the road (16-25). San Antonio did win Game One in Denver, 101-96.