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Those Denver Upstarts Save Their Season Thanks to Jamal Murray

Category: Basketball,Sports

Fortunately for Barton and the rest of the Nuggets, it was all love in the fourth quarter, thanks largely to Murray, who shot 8-for-24 in Game 1 — including a wide-open elbow jumper he clanked in crunchtime that clearly haunted the Canadian guard well into Game 2.

During one key timeout, Malone reminded his players “what the Clippers did” Monday night, when they rallied out of a 31-point deficit in the second half at Golden State to register the largest playoff comeback in N.B.A. history. The inspiration finally hit Murray in the fourth when, without warning, he drained his first eight shots.

In support of Murray, Jokic rung up 21 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists in a bid for a second consecutive triple-double, which would suggest that the Serbian big man is coping quite well with his first turn under a playoff microscope. Gary Harris and Millsap added 23 and 20 points, to give Denver four starters in the 20s.

“We gave up 38 points in the fourth quarter,” said a seething Popovich. “End of story.”

The collapse was even worse than Popovich realized. The Spurs actually allowed 39 points in the quarter — and San Antonio’s All-Star forward, LaMarcus Aldridge, could be subjected to some league discipline that affects his status for Thursday night’s Game 3 judging by video footage in circulation that appears to show Aldridge landing a below-the-belt shot on Harris.

Not that the Nuggets, after days of hearing incessantly about how inexperienced they are, can feel any sort of comfort yet. They’ve lost 13 consecutive games in San Antonio dating to 2012. Denver is also 0-11, as a franchise, in best-of-seven series after losing Game 1.

“I think the cynicism is fair,” Nuggets General Manager Tim Connelly said after the victory, acknowledging that he’s well aware of the noise about his team.

Yet Connelly pointed out that as fluke-ish as skeptics might find the Nuggets’ No. 2 seed, team officials set three fairly lofty goals before the season started and then watched this group reach them all.

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