DENVER – The Denver Nuggets, the second seed in the Western Conference, were down by 16 points to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night and about 18 minutes away from falling into a disastrous 0-2 hole in the series.  Denver coach Mike Malone called for timeout with 5:45 remaining in the third quarter with his team trailing 73-57 and the LA Clippers pulling their big comeback win against the Golden State Warriors to motivate his team.
Which way is this game going to go? " Malone said. "… I reminded them what the clippers did [Monday] it's only going to happen
The Nuggets would trail as much as 19 in the third, but with Jamal Murray erupting for 21
Though the Nuggets did not overcome a 31-point deficit like the Clippers victory in shock the defending champs, their 19-point rally starting at the 4:28 mark in the third quarter Gregg Popovich in the playoffs.
"We gave up  points in the fourth quarter, end of story," Popovich said after the loss. "… Paul [Millsap] and Jamal had a lot to do with that, obviously they both hurt us badly, and we did not have any answers for either one of them."
With much of the Nuggets team experiencing the postseason for the first time, Denver came out and fell behind 19 in the second quarter. Millsap, one of the few Nuggets with playoff experience, scored 15 points in the first half and stayed.
Murray and Will Barton could not get a shot to fall in the first three quarters, combining to go 1-for-18 during that span.
After shooting 8-for-23 and missing all six of his 3-point attempts in Game 1, Murray survived an hour after that to get shots up on the team's practice court late into night on Saturday following Denver's 101-96 loss. In the final 57.7 seconds of Game 1, Murray missed a 3-pointer, 18-footer misfired that would have put the Nuggets ahead and turned the ball over.
"Just mentally bounce back," Murray said of what the two days between games were like him emotionally. I was excited … I was excited … I let the crowd, the amazing energy, get to me
"I wanted to go into Game 2 relaxed. "
Murray tried to set off the Pepsi Center at the start of Game 2 [Halftime] At halftime, Malone told Murray to calm down and to just breathe.
" Hey what's frustrated at halftime, not making shots, shots that he's made his whole career, "Malone said." I just grabbed him and told him to take a deep breath.
Meanwhile, Murray's point guard counterpart, Derrick White, following his breakout Game 1 performance by making 7 of 10 shots on Tuesday and scoring all 17 of
Gary Harris scored 14 of his 23 points in the third to keep the Nuggets within striking distance entering the fourth. Murray, who had missed all eight of his shots and had only three
Murray said seeing all the fans waving their playoff cloths in a dream come true a sold-out playoff crowd.
Then Murray caught fire. "He hit eight straight shots coming in all sorts of variety – pullups, fadeaways, 3-pointers." Then in a 19-second span, Murray delivered a one-two He punched a fadeaway 3-point r. Rudy Gay lost the ball, Murray came down and drilled a pull-up 3 in front of Popovich and the Spurs bench to give the Nuggets a 110-101 lead with 2:12 remaining as the Pepsi Center erupted. [19659002Murraypumpedhisfistandpulledouthistrademark"BlueArrow"
"Pretty perfect," Murray said about that moment. I just got into the zone, everybody knows I'm in a zone … I go crazy I have a lot of fun I was hot, and I decided to pull up. "
The series is tied 1-1, and now the young Nuggets go to San Antonio looking to steal home-court advantage back.
" He needs this, "Malone said when asked if there was no consideration for benching. "… I did not 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 there, I needed to show him that I believed in him."
"First of many for Jamal Murray," Malone added to the point guard's playoff performance. "I have no doubt."