Jamal Murray saved the Denver Nuggets' season with a ridiculous fourth quarter

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After putting together a dominant season with a 34-7 record at the Pepsi Center, Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets struggled mightily in Game 1 against the San Antonio Spurs, failing to score consistently on their way to a disappointing loss.

Get tickets to the National Basketball Association playoff games via StubHub, PrimeSport and SeatGeek. The San Antonio Spurs are averaging 101 points on 48.2 percent shooting and allowing 96 points on 42 percent shooting.

Aldridge said this is what everyone can expect this whole series, too. "You've got to be locked in all times and know that Bertans is a high 3-point shooter, so we have to locate him at all times". "We did a good job of just trying to mix it up on him".

Denver coach Mike Malone called for timeout with 5:45 remaining in the third quarter with his team trailing 73-57 and conjured up the LA Clippers pulling off their big comeback win against the Golden State Warriors to motivate his team. The difference here is playoff experience, as the Spurs are battle tested and are here every year, while the Nuggets are wet behind the ears and don't have many guys who have been through these wars.

Much as it was in Game 1, the early going was a struggle for Denver's offense, with the notable exception of Paul Millsap. "I don't think I scored a field goal until the fourth. Unfortunately, we didn't make them pay for double-teaming enough".

The Spurs continued to shoot well from the arc in Game 1, going 7 of 15 from 3 as a team while shooting 40 of 83 from the field and committing just 11 turnovers.

"It was great to see him make shots", Millsap said. ".I didn't foresee the fourth quarter he was going to have but I knew in my heart he needed to get these minutes, he needed to be out there, I needed to show him that I believed in him". So, that was the tough thing about it. The way I played. But I love Nikola's approach. Finally, he found his touch, scoring 21 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. "We did that a couple of times in the first game but have to work on our technique a little bit and be a little better for it tonight".

Jamal Murray just couldn't get the bad taste out of his mouth, and even a bite of pretzel he poached from a kid after tumbling into the stands in the third quarter wasn't exactly satisfying.

Credit Denver's scouting and game-planning to prevent DeRozan from getting into an offensive rhythm and forcing him to be more of a distributor than a scorer.

The Nuggets trailed as much as 78-59 late in the third quarter, but closed the quarter on a 16-4 run in front of a raucous home crowd. After a team connects on only 6 of 28 3-point attempts, it's easy to focus in on shooting being the key to turning the series around.

"He was spectacular", Popovich said. "Hopefully, he'll continue to play that way because it's going to be a long series".

"First of many for Jamal Murray", Malone added of the point guard's playoff performance.