The Denver Nuggets are looking to conclude their series with the San Antonio Spurs in the Texas heat on Thursday night.
Since the Denver Nuggets made the switch from Will Barton to Torrey Craig in the starting lineup, they’ve won two straight with San Antonio. Game three hero Derrick White has been bottled-up with Gary Harris switching focus to the Colorado kid making good in San Antonio.
Barton has said he doesn’t like the move but he’s recaptured some of his mojo coming off the bench for the Nuggets. Things certainly couldn’t have gotten worse for the streaky Thrill before the move, one we believe will rejuvenate Barton.
Jamal Murray, the fourth-quarter wizard of game two has settled down and settled into his traditional groove with center Nikola Jokic, putting up fantastic numbers in games four and five after being mostly silent in game three.
Steady play from Paul Millsap, Jokic and some breakout offensive performance from the likes of Craig have kept Denver fresh and competitive. Shaking the monkey that had seen Denver fail to win in San Antonio for seven years, the Nuggets parlayed the confidence boost of the road win into a home blowout and series lead.
Occupying territory the Nuggets haven’t sniffed since the 2009 season, the prospect of advancing to the second-round looms large. Though these Nuggets were expected to make the playoffs, their second seed and possible/probable series win have them ahead of schedule and in foreign territory.
They know it, too, the team spoke on Thursday of treating game six like a game seven. Get this over with, put it away, buckle down. Whatever it takes, whatever combination of motivational words convey the gravity. The Nuggets are on the precipice of legitimacy. Win and they are a big deal, one of the next big things, lose and they were a sham, never truly worthy of their lofty seeding or the praise laid on their stars.
As the broadcast begins, commentator Chris Marlowe noted that Nuggets guard Malik Beasley leaned in and declared that the Nuggets were closing it out tonight.
That’s the way it needs to be.