Friday, 19 April, 2019

Nuggets No. 2 in West after tight win over Wolves

Analyzing Nuggets’ Potential Playoff Seeding on The Final Night of The Regular Season Analyzing Nuggets’ Potential Playoff Seeding on The Final Night of The Regular Season
Cary Erickson | 16 April, 2019, 12:45

The Nuggets (54-28) will play the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. "It is important because they are both great players and they are going to continue to get a lot of attention throughout the series".

"I was just pushing it and nobody stopped ball so [I was] attacking and try to make a play at the rim", said White, who wanted to focus on the playoff game and thus limited his friends and family members to a total of 10 tickets for his homecoming. So our work is not done with him. More importantly, he didn't really seem part of the action to his normal degree until later in the game when things were already out of hand.

Houston's entire starting lineup had at least 10 points. That and the blowout lead allowed the Rockets to limit minutes for their starters, but it also helped the team look fresh throughout game one. Jokic became only the fourth player to record a triple-double in his first playoff game and the first since LeBron James did so in 2006, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

The constant in San Antonio's playoff streak is head coach Gregg Popovich.

Asked what adjustments he had in mind for Game 2, Malone said simply, "Make shots". "So, I think Nikola has a high IQ". The biggest factor, the biggest concern will be the initial couple of minutes and trying to get those nerves out. Give them credit: They did a helluva job.

"To be honest, nothing", Jokic told reporters after putting up 10 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists.

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Timberwolves: Minnesota played without starters Karl Anthony-Towns (right knee), Jeff Teague (left foot) and Robert Covington (right knee) and key reserves Taj Gibson (left calf) and Derrick Rose (right elbow). So, coach Michael Malone said before tip-off he expected his team to come out a bundle of nerves. Nikola Jokic had led the Nuggets in most statistical categories in the regular season, so the Spurs made a point to take him away as much as they could.

"We've still got a young group, so some of it is normal", forward Thabo Sefolosha said at Monday's media session at the Post Oak Hotel. "I don't know. Maybe we thought we were going to lose". So the Nuggets getting Jokic more involved in the offense starts by making open shots. Defensively, Houston is giving up 109.1 points per game while opponents shoot 46.6 percent against them and they hold foes to only 34 percent shooting from 3-point land.

Overall, the Nuggets have won nine playoff series since joining the National Basketball Association, compiling an overall playoff record of 61-101. The Nuggets have lost seven of their last 12 home games against San Antonio.

While Malone is looking to get Jokic more shots, he wants Jamal Murray to follow in Jokic's footsteps and be more of a playmaker.

The Nuggets will host the Spurs in Game 2 at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday.

White turned the ball over with 1:09 left and the Nuggets down by one, but Murray missed a 3-pointer and then an open 18-footer and the Nuggets turned the ball over twice, the last coming on White's steal against Murray in the backcourt as the Nuggets' guard was bringing the ball up the court with a chance to tie the score with a 3-pointer.