The first-round of the NBA playoffs will have at least one Game 7 in its future. The San Antonio Spurs avoided a three-game losing streak and elimination on Thursday night with a 120-103 home win. Now, they will head to the Denver Nuggets for a decisive Game 7 on Saturday night.
Despite the long series, the last four games have been decided by double digits. The Spurs won Game 3, 118-108. Meanwhile, the Nuggets won Game 4, 117-103 and Game 5, 108-90. The first two games were decided by a total of 14 points. However, no game has come closer than the Spurs’ five point victory in Game 1.
The veterans led the way for the Spurs in their most important game. LaMarcus Aldridge produced 26 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in the victory. He shot 10 of 18 from the field, including making 1 of 3 from 3-point range. DeMar DeRozan didn’t connect on any threes, but he produced 25 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists in a stellar performance. DeRozan made 12 of 16 shots in Game 6. They’ll need a duplicate performance if they are to pull off the road upset. Rudy Gay came off the bench to score 19 points.
With Derrick White struggling early, the Spurs needed a third scorer to help maintain their early lead. Well, Gay came through with clutch plays. White still finished with 13 points, while Bryn Forbes added 12 points in the starting backcourt.
The narrative on how to win a game is always a funny one. However, it’s safe to say the Nuggets wasted a brilliant performance by all-star center Nikola Jokic on Thursday. Jokic dazzled the defense with 43 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists. He was 19 of 30 from the field, however, the one-man show was not enough to get the Nuggets over the hump. Therefore, saying Jokic needs a big game to win is not entirely true.
Although Jamal Murray scored 16 points, he was only 7 of 18 from the field. More importantly, Murray struggled physically after getting hit in the face a couple of times. He was also limping on the court.
Yet, it was the bench that really didn’t perform well in Game 6. The Nuggets produced 13 total bench points. The game was still within reach heading into the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, the Spurs outscored them 30-18 in the final period.
Will the defense tighten up in Game 7? The Nuggets better hope so. The Spurs scored at least 30 points in 3 of the 4 quarters. It wasn’t like they had one explosive quarter during the game. They played great offense throughout the contest. That’s why the Spurs shot 57 percent from the field. If those shooting numbers repeat itself on Saturday, the No. 7 seed will be advancing to the second round to face the Portland Trailblazers.
Are we on pace for an epic Game 7? In all, the Nuggets lead the series 646 to 637. The Nuggets are averaging 107.6 points per game, while the Spurs are averaging 106.1 points per game. As a result, the series seems like it’s close. In reality, the games have been a bunch of blowouts with not much drama during late game situations. That may all change in Game 7. Tip-off is set for Saturday, April 27 at 10 p.m.