The Nuggets had been at risk of shedding a second straight recreation on the Pepsi Middle after posting the NBA’s greatest house file (34-7) in the course of the common season. They trailed 78-59 late within the third quarter earlier than closing the sport on a 55-27 run.
“We gave up 38 factors (truly, 39) within the fourth quarter. Finish of story,” fumed Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who drew a technical foul in the course of the Nuggets’ comeback.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone mentioned he by no means thought of benching Murray as a result of he didn’t need to crush his confidence. He mentioned he took him apart at halftime and instructed him to take a deep breath and belief his photographs would begin falling.
“By no means as soon as did I take into consideration pulling him from the lineup,” Malone mentioned.
Good factor, too, as a result of Murray, the goat in Recreation 1 after lacking an open jumper and turning the ball over within the closing seconds, may need salvaged the Nuggets’ season whereas going eight for 9 within the fourth quarter.
The collection shifts to San Antonio, the place the Nuggets haven’t gained since 2012, for Recreation three on Thursday night time.
Paul Millsap added 20 factors for Denver and Nikola Jokic simply missed his second triple-double of the collection, scoring 21 factors, flattening 13 rebounds and meting out eight assists.
The Spurs obtained 31 factors from DeMar DeRozan, 24 from LaMarcus Aldridge and 17 from Derrick White.
San Antonio led 78-59 with 4½ minutes left within the third quarter earlier than the Nuggets began their comeback, reducing it to seven factors coming into the fourth quarter.
They tied it at 95 on Murray’s jumper halfway by the interval, then took their first lead for the reason that first quarter when Murray sank two free throws with 4:50 remaining for a 99-97 lead.