Houston (USA) – The San Antonio Spurs regained their best version of the winning team in the playoffs and drew 3-3 in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs to the best of seven against the Nuggets. Denver, which forces a seventh and decisive game.
Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors, who traveled back to Los Angeles, hope to close theirs, which they dominate 3-2 against the Clippers, in the sixth game they will play on Friday night at the Staples Center.
Both eliminations are the only undecided of the first round after the Portland Trail Blazers won 4-1 the series against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets did the same against the Utah Jazz.
In the Eastern Conference the two semifinals are already established with the duels between the Milwaukee Bucks against the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors against the Philadelphia Sixers.
Everything remained the same between the Spurs and the Nuggets after the San Antonio team easily won, 120-103, to the Nuggets in the sixth game.
The definition of the series will be given in the seventh game that both teams play on Saturday at the Pepsi Center in Denver, and the winner will face the Trail Blazers in the semifinals.
Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge with 26 points and guard DeMar DeRozan, who also contributed 25 points, were the key to victory for the Spurs, who had to overcome the 43 points that Serbian center Nikola Jokic got with the Nuggets.
Jokick, who contributed 27 points in the second half, set the third best individual touchdown in the playoffs, second only to the 50 earned by Damian Lillard of the Trail Blazers and 45 for the forward Kevin Durant of the Warriors. of Golden State.
The Nuggets All-Star center, which established the best point-scoring record for a Denver team player in the playoffs, also ended the game with a double-double by capturing 12 rebounds and giving nine assists, which left him to one of his second triple-double series.
Aldridge also finished with a double-double by capturing 10 rebounds and spreading five assists with the Spurs, who had the support of power forward Rudy Gay as sixth player to get 19 points, captured four balls under the hoops and gave two touchdown passes. .
Base Derrick White and guard Bryn Forbes with 13 and 12 points, respectively, completed the list of the five Spurs players who had double-digit numbers.
While as a team they finished with 57 and 42 percent success in the field and triple shots, respectively, in addition to capturing 41 rebounds by 37 of the Nuggets, who lost in all facets of the game.
“The things we changed worked well for us tonight and that was the key to winning,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “When you get to the seventh game everything can happen, but the team has already shown that they fought and that’s what really counts.”
Popovivh led the 283nd playoff game and beat the legendary Pat Riley in second place on the all-time list, which Phil Jackson leads with 333 after coaching the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.
The Spurs as a team also topped the 40,000 points scored in playoff games and joined the historic Boston Celtics, Lakers and Philadelphia Sixers as the only ones who have made it in the history of the NBA.
The Spurs are now 23-9 in the playoff games played against the Nuggets, who have not won a San Antonio series since 1985.
The Warriors do not want to live the experience of a seventh game against the Clippers, and much less after the two defeats surprises that they have suffered in their field of Oracle Arena, where they would have to play.
From there, they arrive at the Staples Center to continue with the winning streak of the victories they achieved in the third and fourth, respectively.
“We know perfectly well that we did not do well at the end of the games we lost in our field and therefore that will have to change in the sixth,” said Steve Kerr, the Warriors coach. “We did not understand that the Clippers are a team that struggles from start to finish and does not give you a break, no matter what the score points.”
Kerr acknowledged that his team failed in the inside game when it comes to capturing the rebounds and hopes that it will not happen again in the sixth game.
“The base Patrick Berverley always seeks the confrontation but within the regulations and he did us a lot of damage with the theater that he puts to each action, but also with his game by capturing 14 rebounds, his best mark as a professional,” said Kerr. “We must be more focused on defense, energy and intensity and our problems will be resolved.”
For his part, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said that his team’s mentality will be the same as the whole series, going out to fight each ball and find a way to achieve victory.(EFE).