EditorsNote: Fixes Rudy Gay’s rebound total in 6th graph; other minor fixes
Derrick White poured in a career-high 36 points on 15-of-21 shooting to lift the San Antonio Spurs to a 118-108 win over the visiting Denver Nuggets on Thursday in Game 3 of a Western Conference first-round playoff series.
San Antonio, the seventh seed in the West, grabbed a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, with Game 4 set for Saturday afternoon in the Alamo City.
The Spurs led just 89-87 in the first minute of the fourth quarter before they started to pull away, forging a 19-4 run that was capped by a White 3-pointer with 5:57 left that gave San Antonio a 108-91 advantage.
White’s jumper with 4:14 remaining pushed the cushion to a game-high 20 points at 114-94, and the teams went to their reserves to finish out the game.
The second-seeded Nuggets have now lost 14 straight games in San Antonio, a streak dating to March 2012.
Spurs forward DeMar DeRozan added 25 points, 21 of those in the second half, while LaMarcus Aldridge contributed 18 points and 11 rebounds. Rudy Gay scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds off the bench, and Jakob Poeltl and Bryn Forbes added 10 points each for San Antonio.
Nikola Jokic paced Denver with 22 points. Malik Beasley added 20, Paul Millsap scored 14 points, Gary Harris and Torrey Craig contributed 12 points apiece and Monte Morris tallied 10 for the Nuggets.
Denver’s Jamal Murray, who had 24 points in the Nuggets’ Game 2 win, scored just six points (on 2-of-6 shooting) while being defended by White.
White matched his career high for an entire game by racking up 26 points in the first half to lead San Antonio to a 61-58 advantage at the break.
The Spurs were up 31-22 at the end of the first quarter but gave it all back and a lot more as Denver reeled off a 16-0 run to start the second period.
The Nuggets built their advantage to 50-40 on a 3-pointer by Harris with 5:41 to play in the half, but San Antonio roared back behind White (who was 11 of 15 from the floor over the first two quarters) and Aldridge, who scored 10 points by intermission.
Denver was led by Jokic and Millsap with 11 points each in the first half.
San Antonio rebuilt its lead to as many as nine points in the third quarter and was up 88-84 heading into the final period.
—Field Level Media