Published: Tue, April 16, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Keys to Rockets-Jazz Game 1 at Toyota Center

Keys to Rockets-Jazz Game 1 at Toyota Center

At 70 years old, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich continues to make history.

Denver dropped game one to the Spurs 101-96 and now they have to steal a win in a hostile San Antonio environment if they want to get out of the first round of the playoffs. "I don't care what you do".

With his team facing the possibility of falling down 0-2 to start this best-of-seven series, Jokic's encore to his triple-double playoff debut might have to include more points as the Nuggets look to free up their All-Star big man for more baskets in Game 2 on Tuesday.

Denver could not knock down any shots and, for as rough of a start that the Nuggets had in the first half, it was still encouraging to see that the Nuggets still in the game until the final shot.

The model knows the Rockets will be determined to make fast work of this series in order to prepare for a likely second-round meeting with the top-seeded Golden State Warriors. The Nuggets have lost seven of their last 12 home games against San Antonio.

Denver has made the Western Conference Finals on three occasions, most recently during the 2008-09 playoffs (the first two extended playoff runs occurred during the 1977-78 and 1984-85 seasons).

"To be honest, nothing", Jokic told reporters after putting up 10 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists.

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Two other bright spots was the play of Gary Harris and Will Barton. And Murray must play better down the stretch. That plays into the hands of the strong Jazz defense. Nikola Jokic had led the Nuggets in most statistical categories in the regular season, so the Spurs made a point to take him away as much as they could.

The funk that the Nuggets were in offensively to end the regular season carried on into the playoffs. 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.

San Antonio is making its 22nd straight playoff appearance, this one with a new cast that includes DeRozan, who came over from Toronto in the Kawhi Leonard trade. The Spurs did not allow a single fast-break point, but ultimately it came down to shots not falling. Again, this is the playoffs and not much from the regular season carries over, but one thing the Rockets rarely do is let the first 12 minutes go by without getting a good offensive effort from Harden, who led the National Basketball Association in first quarter scoring at 9.6 points per first quarter - a full point better than any other player. Denver had cut a 10-point third quarter deficit down to 3 points, and White's jam put the Spurs up 5 points and shifted the momentum back to their side.

White's Flight: Spurs point guard Derrick White took flight in the Mile-High City over power forward Paul Millsap! Denver went into halftime down 59-51 after shooting 2-13 from the 3-point line.

This team is young, hungry, and the deepest roster in this years playoffs.

LaMarcus Aldridge and the Spurs prove their playoff mettle.

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