|Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) reacts after a play against the San Antonio Spurs in the fourth quarter in game two of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at the Pepsi Center. Isaiah J. Downing/Reuters|
By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA--The Denver Nuggets evaded a potential 0-2 hole in the first round of the National Basketball Association Playoffs after a 114-105 comeback win against the San Antonio Spurs at the Pepsi Center in Denver on Wednesday (Philippine Time).
A day after the Los Angeles Clippers shocked the Golden State Warriors with the biggest comeback in playoff history, the Nuggets pulled off one of their own, climbing back from 19 points down.
Already losing homecourt edge to San Antonio after a Game 1 loss, Denver was on the brink of going 0-2 down after the former opened a 42-23 lead with 8:28 left in the first half.
But the Nuggets slowly crawled back and eventually used a 39-point fourth quarter to finally steal the home win.
Jamal Murray made 24 points, two rebounds, four assists, and one steal for Denver, which tied its series with San Antonio at 1-all entering Games 3 and 4 at the AT&T Center in Texas.
DeMar DeRozan's 31-point bomb fell into deaf ears, although he and the Spurs can build a commanding best-of-seven series lead at home.
Orlando 82 Toronto 111
At the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, the Raptors also tied their first round series against the Orlando Magic with a 111-82 rout.
Toronto simply vented its ire on Orlando after a stinging Game 1 defeat with a solid defensive effort, limiting its opponent to just 37 percent shooting all game long.
Kawhi Leonard dropped 37 points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals for the Raptors.
Kyle Lowry, who was held scoreless in Game 1, added 22 markers with four rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and one block.
Aaron Gordon fired 20 markers, five rebounds, two assists, and one block for the Magic, who will host Games 3 and 4 at the Amway Arena in Orlando.
Oklahoma City 94 Portland 114
At the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, the Trail Blazers broke loose from the Oklahoma City Thunder in the third quarter en route to a 114-94 Game 2 win.
Portland outscored OKC, 37-21, in the third period to break out of a 54-all tie at halftime and never looked back.
CJ McCollum erupted for 33 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and one steal for the Blazers, who are now up, 2-0, against the Thunder, preserving their homecourt advantage.
Dame Lillard added 29 points, four rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks.
Paul George came up with 27 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and one steal for the Thunder, who will now have their turn to host in Games 3 and 4.
Russell Westbrook came close to a triple-double with 14 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds with one steal, but he was held to 5-of-20 shooting the entire game.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno