NBA Game Preview - Nuggets v Spurs

 
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117
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Denver 22 32 37 26 117
San Antonio 34 20 25 24 103
103
2:30 PM PT3:30 PM MT4:30 PM CT5:30 PM ET21:30 GMT5:30 2:30 PM MST4:30 PM EST1:30 UAE (+1)23:3017:30 ET4:30 PM CT20:30 , April 20, 2019
AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas  Attendance: 18,354

Guard play likely to decide Game 4 between Spurs, Nuggets

According to STATS
According to STATS

Denver Nuggets at San Antonio Spurs

  1. The Spurs overcame a 10-point second-quarter deficit to win Game 3 on Thursday, 118-108. They have won their last 14 home games versus the Nuggets going back to the start of the 2012-13 season.
  2. San Antonio won Game 3 despite getting outshot from the field (.494 to Denver's .519) and from three-point range (.389 to .517). It was the Spurs' second playoff win all-time in which their opponent made at least 50 percent both overall and from three-point range (also 2005 WC Finals Game 2 at Phoenix).
  3. The Nuggets have an 0-12 series record all-time when facing a 2-1 deficit in a best-of-7 series. They are the only NBA franchise to be in that situation 10 or more times without winning at least one series.
  4. Denver's bench combined for 50 points on 60.0 percent shooting in Game 3, including 77.8 percent from beyond the arc. The starters scored 58 points while shooting 45.7 percent overall and 40.0 percent on three-pointers.
  5. Malik Beasley had 20 points off the bench on Thursday and is averaging 16.4 points in seven games versus San Antonio this season, compared to 10.9 per game against all other opponents.
  6. Derrick White had a career-high 36 points in Game 3, including 26 in the first half (which matched his previous career high for a game). It was the most points in any half by a Spurs player in the postseason since Tony Parker had 31 in 2009 against Dallas (first half of Game 4 in first round).
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The first three games of the Western Conference first-round playoff series between second-seeded Denver and seventh-seeded San Antonio have boiled down to which team received better play from its backcourt.

And with today's NBA being guard-oriented, expect that trend to continue when the Spurs host the Nuggets in Game 4 of the series on Saturday afternoon at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

The Spurs grabbed a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with a 118-108 home win on Thursday as two pieces of its three-guard attack -- second-year pro Derrick White and veteran DeMar DeRozan -- combined for 61 points.

White's 36 points in Game 3 -- 26 of them in the first half -- were a career high, while DeRozan was at his best in the second half when he racked up 21 of his 25 points.

The Nuggets now have lost 14 straight games in San Antonio, a streak that began on March 4, 2012, when White was a 17-year-old senior at Legend High School in Parker, Colo., about 25 miles southeast of Denver.

"I just had a chip on my shoulder," White said about his performance on Thursday. "This is the way I've played since I was young. Just try to go out there, compete and have fun."

White also drew the primary defensive responsibility on Nuggets' point guard Jamal Murray, the Game 2 hero, and held him to 6 points and just six shots in 31 minutes of court time.

Denver coach Mike Malone praised White for his work on both ends of the floor.

"We couldn't stop him," Malone said about White. "He was impressive. From jump street, he attacked, he got wherever he wanted, and he finished. He was into us defensively. That was a hell of a performance for a young player."

Murray was the difference-maker for the Nuggets in their 114-105 home win on Tuesday, scoring 21 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter to help Denver complete a comeback from 19 points down in the third quarter.

Malone said there was little doubt that White had been reminded, a lot, about Murray's performance in that game.

"White came out like he hadn't eaten in two days," Malone said. "He came out hungry, he came out (ticked) off and he sent a very loud and clear message. I'm anxious to see our guys, how do we respond to that."

Murray said that he took Thursday's one-sided performance against White personally. "I should," he told the Denver Post. "I'll be ready next game. Most the time when I say I'll bounce back, I do."

To capture this series, the Nuggets will have to win at least once in San Antonio - a scenario in which they've failed over the past seven years. Denver also will just have to play better, especially in the waning minutes of the game.

All three games so far have been close deep into the fourth quarter, but the Spurs have been the better closer in two of three games. That might come from San Antonio's considerable edge in recent playoff experience - the Spurs are playing in the postseason for the 22nd consecutive season, while Denver is in the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

--Field Level Media

Updated April 20, 2019

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