DENVER – The Denver Nuggets will host the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 Saturday night. The winner will advance to play Portland in the second-round of the NBA Playoffs, while the loser will call it a season.
The Spurs held shootaround at the Pepsi Center Saturday morning and they looked relaxed and ready to play.
"Everybody is excited to get out here, Game 7," Spurs DeMar DeRozan said. "We fought here to get here for a reason. We're looking forward to tonight."
DeRozan has played in three career Game 7s. He has a 2-1 record in those games and is averaging 25.3 points in Game 7s. What advice does he have to offer to the younger Spurs who've never been in this situation?
"Go out there and play. Don't think too much like it's a Game 7. Play like we played the last game. Play like you want to continue to keep this thing going," DeRozan said.
Facing elimination in their last game, the Spurs responded with an excellent effort, playing like a desperate team trying to stay alive.
Rudy Gay had his best game of the series in Game 6 scoring 19 points. He provided a huge spark off the bench, something the Spurs were lacking the first six games. Now Rudy and the Spurs hope to carry that momentum over to the series finale.
"You either carry it over or you go home," Gay said after the shootaround. "That's the way it is. We have to have that mentality and we have to kind of force ourselves into the game. Figure out how to be successful. Learn from the last game. Just try to win man, that's it."
The close out game of any series is the toughest one to win. And for the Spurs, that task is even more difficult because they must win on the road. Perhaps this is when the Spurs playoff experience will help them the most.
"We've seen each other six times before and four times before that," Gay said. "I think we know each other and I think we're pretty much prepared. It comes down to who wants it more and we have to be that team."
Unlike the Spurs, the Nuggets did not hold a morning shootaround. We were not given a reason why.
Game 7 is Saturday in Denver at 9 p.m. Central Time.