SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs were on their way to another dominating home performance until the Denver Nuggets went panning for threes and nearly came up with gold.
The Spurs pulled it out, 104-103, but it was nerve wracking at the end. The Nuggets hit five-three's in the last 4:27.
When the barrage started the Spurs were up 11 points. When it ended, their lead was down to one with a half minute left in the game.
"These guys and the barrage they put on at the end with the 3's was really impressive. I thought our defense was great," said head coach Gregg Popovich. "80 percent of those were contested and they knocked them down so I was thrilled with the defense."
Quick Popovich reaction after Spurs hold on/survive to beat Nuggets tonight...said team defended well despite late game barrage...also asked at end if he noticed Sarah Palin behind the bench...’no, I usually don’t pan the crowd when I’m coaching’ #KSATsports #NBA #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/Mc12rmdx1I— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) March 5, 2019
Part of the defensive stand was turning the Nuggets away four times in the last 29 seconds with that one point lead.
The Spurs couldn't corral the ball and Rudy Gay missed a couple of free throws.
"It's finally over, two rebounds tipped off my hands, missed two foul shots. I felt like, 'Man if we lose this game, I am going to be on suicide watch,'" said Gay, who had 14 points and nine rebounds.
Gay joked that the extra opportunities the Nuggets had were solid practice.
"We have had some let downs defensively, just feels good. That's why I missed those rebounds, give us some more practice," Gay said.
Rudy Gay postgame...basically said he would’ve had a tough time sleeping tonight if Spurs lost this one to Nuggets. Joked he missed last two rebounds and free throws so team could work on playing defense. #ksatsports #ksatnews #nba #gospurs pic.twitter.com/ezrdRxyEKT— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) March 5, 2019
With former vice presidential candidate and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin sitting right behind the Spurs bench, the Spurs started the game on fire, running out to a a 21-point first half lead thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge's 11 points in the first quarter. He finished with 22.
Early in the fourth, the Spurs had an 18-point lead, but once again, the Nuggets took care of that.
Denver started the game three of nine from three point range and finished 17 of 40.
"Got to give them their respect, they hit some tough shots," Gay said.
"Now it is all about being close to consistent for 48 minutes as possible," said DeMar DaRozan, who scored a team-high 24 points.
During this three-game winning streak, the Spurs have beaten the No. 2 and 3 teams in the conference. DeRozan was asked what that says about the Spurs.
Derrick White postgame Spurs Nuggets...talked about getting ‘stops on demand’ late in win. SA got multiple stops in final seconds to come out with win..White also had career-high 9 assists. #KSATsports #NBA #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/9LCSGWNCFG— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) March 5, 2019
"That we can beat anybody in our league. We have to have this same intensity, the way we play defense, talk, how we play offensively on the road, that has kind of been our biggest struggle," DeRozan said.
The Spurs will get an opportunity Wednesday in Atlanta to see if their home success can translate to road wins.