Denver Nuggets: Inexperience, lack of Nikola Jokic prove costly in Game 1

Analyzing Nuggets’ Potential Playoff Seeding on The Final Night of The Regular Season

Analyzing Nuggets’ Potential Playoff Seeding on The Final Night of The Regular Season

The Spurs made 15 of 20 shots in the second quarter to build a 59-51 halftime lead. The exclamation point to that stretch came with White's thunderous dunk over Paul Millsap - a play that stopped a 5-0 Nuggets run and swung momentum in the Spurs' favor.

It looked like the Timberwolves would pull it out after finishing the third quarter on a 21-8 run to take a 79-73 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The shot he missed with nine seconds left, a pull-up, 17-foot jumper in open space after a well-executed pick-and-roll, was the kind of bucket he long imagined himself draining in a moment such as this. But they never got the chance to tie it because White, a second-year pro who moved into a bigger role when Dejounte Murray got hurt in the preseason, stripped Murray and drew the foul, then sank both shots.

"He's spectacular for somebody who got put into that position", Popovich said. "But what is said is understood.You can't go wrong with Pop".

LaMarcus Aldridge and the Spurs prove their playoff mettle.

The double team was only effective because the Nuggets kept missing wide open shots which only encouraged the Spurs to keep doubling Jokic.

The biggest reason for the Spurs' defensive success: limiting MVP-candidate Nikola Jokic's impact.

"To be honest, nothing", Jokic said. "They stayed with it because we couldn't make a shot". He still managed to get a triple-double, but it's tough to slow a big guy like that down. I'm good with that. "We're going to live with that", said Jokic. "They're both great players, and they're going to continue to get a lot of attention throughout the series, I'm sure".

Jamal Murray hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 31.5 seconds left, and the host Denver Nuggets scored the final 15 points of the game to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 99-95 on Wednesday night to earn the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

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