The Denver Nuggets look to follow up a strong performance when they host the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of the Western Conference first-round series on Tuesday. The second-seeded Nuggets forged a 2-2 tie in the matchup when they made 15 3-pointers in Saturday's 117-103 road win over the Spurs.
All-Star center Nikola Jokic had 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in Game 4 and point guard Jamal Murray was in solid form with 24 points and six assists. "This was a collective effort," Murray told reporters after the victory. "We all believed in each other and know what we're capable of doing." The seventh-seeded Spurs led by 12 points after the opening stanza before being outscored 95-69 the rest of the way in a highly disappointing showing. "Overall, the Nuggets competed, and we did not," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters. "Their physicality was obvious from the get-go. We knew that was gonna happen, and we did not respond."
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, NBATV, FS Southwest (San Antonio), Altitude (Denver) LINE: Nuggets -5.5
ABOUT THE SPURS: Point guard Derrick White had his first subpar outing of the series in Game 4 as he scored just eight points on 3-of-8 shooting after averaging 23 points on 29-of-42 over the first three contests. White had a career-best outing in Game 3 when he scored 36 points on 15-of-21 shooting but he was outplayed by Murray in Game 4 while key bench performers Rudy Gay (two points on 0-of-7 shooting) and Marco Belinelli (three points, 1-of-5) also contributed little. Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and nine rebounds while shooting guard DeMar DeRozan scored 19 points before being ejected with 5:01 remaining in the contest.
ABOUT THE NUGGETS: Coach Michael Malone inserted forward Torrey Craig into the lineup in place of struggling Will Barton and the move paid dividends as Craig knocked down five 3-pointers while recording 18 points and eight rebounds. "Now, he's not just a one-trick pony," Malone said of Craig after Game 4. "He finishes, he rebounds, he defends and obviously, he can make the 3-point shot. His confidence in shooting that ball is very high and obviously allowing him to shoot it." Barton scored 12 points off the bench and hit all three of his 3-point attempts after going 1-of-13 over the first three games.
1. DeRozan was fined $25,000 for "recklessly throwing the basketball" in the direction of official Scott Foster in the fourth quarter of Game 4 -- the act that got him ejected.
2. Murray is averaging 24 points on 16-of-31 shooting in Denver's two victories, and averaging 11.5 on 10-of-29 shooting in its two setbacks.
3. Gay is just 4-of-24 from the floor over the past three contests after being 6-of-9 in Game 1.