Fighting for their Play-In lives, the San Antonio Spurs came up big, winning 116-97 over the Nuggets in Denver and securing the tenth and final seed.
Devin Vassell and Kevin Johnson scored 20 points apiece for the Spurs to offset a monstrous 41-point, 17-rebound performance from MVP candidate Nikola Jokic.
“I was really happy with our aggressiveness the whole game. All in all, we played a pretty good game, “coach Gregg Popovich said after the game.”A lot of guys participated and played well, and on the road that feels pretty good, especially against a team like Denver.”
San Antonio had six players in double figures and 31 total assists.
“I’m always looking to put it up,” said Spur Josh Richardson, who shot 4-5 from behind the arc and had 18 points for the game.
The Spurs were content to let Jokic get to the basket and try to shut down the rest of the Nuggets.
“Jokic shooting 35 times kind of played into our game plan,” said Richardson. “They did a pretty good job of keeping everybody else out of it and just staying with our matchups.”
Aaron Gordon was the only other Denver player to score in double figures with 18 points.
With the win, the Spurs knocked the Los Angeles Lakers out of Play-In contention after the team was picked by many in the preseason to win it all this year.
But the Cinderella Spurs weren’t talking about the Lakers or even the chances in the playoffs with just three more regular-season games to go.
“We’re gonna compete the rest of these games,” said Richardson as San Antonio heads to Minnesota next before taking on the Golden State Warriors at home and finishing the season in Dallas against the Mavericks.
The 34-35 Spurs will take on New Orleans in the Play-In, with the winner taking on Minnesota or the LA Clippers.