With the Spurs' 101-96 victory over the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, Popovich became the all-time winningest coach in National Basketball Association history, regular and postseason combined.
What did it mean to him?
"Jokic is the head of the snake", DeRozan said.
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Denver, where the second-seeded Nuggets failed to parlay the NBA's best home-court record (34-7) into a win against the seventh-seeded but much more seasoned Spurs.
DeRozan powered the Spurs with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists. Jokic did finish with a triple-double, tallying 14 rebounds and 14 assists, but only notched 10 points on 4 of 9 shooting.
The Nuggets can not afford to lose game 2 and go down 2-0 to a Gregg Popovich team before heading to San Antonio. "We didn't let Jokic play as much as he wanted and they didn't let LaMarcus play as much as he wanted". "It is important because they are both great players and they are going to continue to get a lot of attention throughout the series". It was uncontested. We're good. "They did the same thing on me". So, coach Michael Malone said before tip-off he expected his team to come out a bundle of nerves. "Then I expect we'll be fine after that". We've got to understand that's still an excellent team over there. "They stayed with it because we couldn't make a shot. I love his passing". But even those calls quieted after Jokic shot an airball on a 3 at a crucial point in the fourth quarter.
"I took some shots on every shot I missed, especially that one I missed, the open one at the end of the game", said Murray after the Nuggets fell 101-96.
Asked what adjustments he had in mind for Game 2, Malone said simply, "Make shots".
The Nuggets (54-28) will play the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs.
"He and LaMarcus (15 points, 8 rebounds) canceled each other out so to speak", Popovich said. "For somebody who got put in that position and to learn that position with a bunch of new players, it's really remarkable what he's done. Hopefully he'll continue to play that way because it's going to be a long series".
The Nuggets will surely come out guns blazing as they won't want to drop both home games to start the series, but the Spurs' experience came to the forefront in Game 1 and I wouldn't be shocked if they pulled off the upset again. They joined the Nets, who won at Philadelphia, and Magic, who won at Toronto.
Denver: The Nuggets are 6-21 against the Spurs in the playoffs.