With a lot on the line, Kevin McHale misses the point about Nikola Jokic
By Henry Abbott
By the fourth quarter of Saturday’s Game 7 in Denver, the Nuggets hadn’t won a playoff series in a decade. They might have had home-court advantage, an 11-point lead, and more talent. But the Spurs had an infinite advantage in mystique borne of past playoff success. Of course they were going to come back, everybody thought when, with 52.2 seconds left, guard Bryn Forbes dunked hard, bringing San Antonio within two, 88-86.
As it happens, the only bucket either team scored after that was by Jamal Murray for the Nuggets, who won the series and will host the Blazers in Game 1 of the second-round tonight (10:30 ET, TNT). Ding dong, the witchcraft is dead.
But there is still something for the Nuggets, a second-seeded team that hovered near the top of the West standings all season, to answer: Why was the first round so hard? The best player in the series, Nikola Jokic, is a Nugget. Paul Millsap and Jamal Murray, also Nuggets, were rivals for second-best. Underdogs who overach…