The Spurs went into Denver and not only covered the spread in Game 1, but also came out with the big upset victory against the Nuggets.
"I could see on some guys' faces which way is this game going to go?"
"Everybody told me to stick with it", Murray said.
"He's not a strong 3-point shooter, so you want to go under screens that take place around there because he's likely not going to shoot it". Coming into the 2019 playoffs, a lot of Western Conference teams were excited to play the Nuggets because of their lack of playoff experience on their roster and the Spurs are certainly taking advantage of that. All eyes will be on DeRozan in his first playoff appearance as a member of the Spurs as he aims to distance himself from a disappointing track record of falling short when the lights are brightest.
"We gave up  points in the fourth quarter, end of story", Popovich said after the loss.
"We had to have this one", Denver's Paul Millsap said.
It was looking very much like an easy win for San Antonio, which frittered away two 19-point leads. Or is their playoff inexperience showing?
San Antonio is expecting Denver to get creative to counter the double-teams for Jokic, who averaged 20.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 15.1 shots per game this season.
Craig spoke to Nuggets.com following shootaround on Tuesday about the keys to continuing to have defensive success against the All-Star duo in game 2.
"Just mental bounce back", Murray said of what the two days between games were like for him emotionally. "Obviously wasn't happy with myself, frustrated". The way I played. I rushed everything. I was excited. "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".
Murray tried to set off the Pepsi Center at the start of Game 2 but missed what would have been a thunderous dunk early. "He's big, strong and skilled, so doubling him definitely affected his shot attempts (in game 1)". And believe me, there will be a moment when the Spurs need him to. "Every shot right now is like the end of the world". The veteran forward scored 11 of the first 17 points for the Nuggets and, without his contributions, the home team would have been in significant trouble.
Denver ended the third quarter on a 16-4 run and outscored San Antonio 39-23 in the fourth. Finally, he found his touch, scoring 21 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter.
Murray said seeing all the fans waving their playoff towels reminded him of his childhood dream of playing in front of a sold-out playoff crowd. Rudy Gay added 14 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Murray pumped his fist and then pulled out his trademark "Blue Arrow" celebration at half court by the scorer's table as the playoff towels were waving everywhere. "Just the way I imagined it". I go insane. I have a lot of fun. I love the game with a passion. "I just grabbed him".
"He needs this", Malone said when asked if there was any consideration to benching Murray in the fourth because he was cold. I think that will allow them to keep most of the games in this series pretty competitive.
However, Malone makes a valid point: players are human too.