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Spurs Shock Nuggets, Create West’s Wild 3-Way Tie

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Devonte' Graham stuns Nuggets, who fall into historic tie in the West

The Denver Nuggets lost to the San Antonio Spurs by one point, with a score of 121-120. This puts them in a tie with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Minnesota Timberwolves for the top spot in the Western Conference. The San Antonio Spurs made a big comeback from being behind by 23 points. They won the game when Devonte’ Graham scored with less than a second left on the clock. This loss could hurt the Nuggets’ chances in the playoffs.

But then something big happened. Devonte’ Graham, a player for the Spurs, made a short shot while he was near the basket. This happened with less than a second left in the game. The Spurs also stopped the Nuggets from making an inbound pass within five seconds, which helped them win the game.

Before this game, the Denver team had won three games in a row. Their last win was at home against Minnesota.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone expressed his disappointment, saying, “We’re really disappointed. We had the chance to control our own fate. We did well on Wednesday against Minnesota, but tonight we didn’t bring the same energy. And we missed the opportunity to secure the top seed. Now, it looks like we’ll probably end up as the third seed.”

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Victor Wembanyama was the star of the short-handed Spurs, scoring 34 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Despite their position in the West, Wembanyama hailed it as their biggest win and celebrated enthusiastically. He emphasized the importance of such victories for their young and growing team.

Jamal Murray led the Nuggets with 35 points, while Nikola Jokic added 22 points and 12 rebounds. Denver led early, but the Spurs rallied in the later quarters.

Sandro Mamukelashvili also made a significant contribution for the Spurs with a season-high 21 points and 12 rebounds. Despite missing several key players due to injuries, the Spurs managed to outscore the defending champions in the final quarter.

Graham scored the last four points of the game, with his winning bucket happening with less than a second to go.
Graham scored the last four points of the game, with his winning bucket happening with less than a second to go.

Malone expressed disappointment in the team’s performance, noting the difference in their approach compared to the previous game against Minnesota. Despite the setback, he’s confident in their abilities. He stresses finishing strong in the upcoming game against Memphis.

This season marks a historic moment in NBA history, with three teams vying for the No. 1 seed in their conference with identical records going into the final game.

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Denver held a big lead, but the Spurs made a stunning comeback. It marked the Spurs’ biggest comeback win and the Nuggets’ largest collapse this season. This loss also ranks among the largest blown leads for Denver in the past 25 seasons.

Meanwhile, in Oklahoma City, Thunder coach Mark Daigneault was informed of the Nuggets’ loss after his team’s victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Despite media focus on the top seed race, Daigneault stays focused on finishing strong. He’s determined to reach the season’s end on a high note.

Chet Holmgren, a rookie center for the Thunder, stayed focused on Saturday’s practice without getting caught up in thoughts about playoff seeding. He emphasized concentrating on what they can control, rather than worrying about external factors.

In the Western Conference, Friday’s games left much undecided. The only confirmed matchup is between the LA Clippers and the Mavericks in the 4-5 seed matchup. This series gains significance as the winner might avoid facing the defending champions in the second round.

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The New Orleans Pelicans’ win over the Golden State Warriors put them in a strong position to clinch the No. 6 seed and skip the play-in tournament. Zion Williamson’s stellar performance, with 26 points and six steals, contributed to their fourth consecutive victory, drawing praise from coach Willie Green.

CJ McCollum’s impressive form continued with 28 points, including eight 3-pointers. His recent sharpshooting has made him one of just five players in NBA history to achieve such a feat over four games.

Spurs' win has Thunder, Wolves, Nuggets in 3-way tie atop West.
Spurs’ win has Thunder, Wolves, Nuggets in 3-way tie atop West.

The Pelicans aim to secure their 50th win against the Los Angeles Lakers, which would be only the second time in franchise history. A victory would solidify their position as the 6-seed.

Although New Orleans had a chance to secure the 6-seed on Friday, the Suns’ comeback win against the Sacramento Kings kept their hopes of avoiding the play-in tournament alive. Phoenix, one game behind the Pelicans, holds the tiebreaker and could finish either 6th or 7th depending on the results of their final game.

The Lakers faced a tough challenge against the Grizzlies, needing a late push to secure a narrow 123-120 victory. LeBron James and Anthony Davis both logged over 40 minutes of play in the hard-fought win.

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The Kings’ loss on Friday means the Warriors still have a slim chance of reaching the 8th spot, but they’ll have to go through the play-in tournament no matter what.

Stephen Curry, commenting after the loss to the Pelicans, said he’s not too concerned about the playoff seeding. He’s more focused on their own performance and was disappointed to let a game like that slip away. While it would’ve been nice to have a shot at the 8th spot for two chances, the main goal now is to regroup and head into the playoffs or play-in with positive momentum.

Every game in the Western Conference on Sunday will begin at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

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