San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs vs. Denver Nuggets: Frozen from the Free Throw Line

By Noah Magaro-George
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 28: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Denver Nuggets on December 28, 2018 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 28: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Denver Nuggets on December 28, 2018 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The San Antonio Spurs battled from behind but fell short to the Denver Nuggets 99-102 on Friday night.

The San Antonio Spurs looked totally out of breath in the Mile High City and quickly fell behind by double digits. It felt like another blowout loss on the road was on the way, but the Spurs never caved in and never gave up.

The Silver and Black struggled to find a rhythm on either end of the floor and trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half. Despite the cold shooting and poor rebounding from his teammates, LaMarcus Aldridge was able to shoulder the load on offense and keep the game within reach.

San Antonio just can’t seem to find a rhythm on the road. The Spurs haven’t downed a Western Conference team on the road since Halloween. Even worse, they haven’t defeated a WC playoff team away from home since the second week of the season. #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/O4pcKrmgzy

— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) December 29, 2018

Aldridge bullied Denver’s defenders down in the post and ended the night with 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. While LA carried the Spurs’ sputtering offense for the better part of three quarters, it was Derrick White who rallied the troops.

Behind the suffocating defense of the former Colorado Buff, San Antonio turned several Nuggets turnovers into instant offense and found themselves right back in the thick of things. White finished with a career-high 6 steals to go along with 10 points and 6 boards but missed a key free throw when it mattered the most.

WELCOME HOME DERRICK WHITE pic.twitter.com/bIuB9NAZmy

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 29, 2018

Although White blew an opportunity to tie it up with just seconds left in the contest, he wasn’t the only one who froze up at the charity stripe. DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl each had an opportunity to help the Spurs draw even in the final frame and both came up short at the free throw line.

The refs certainly had a hand in the loss, but ultimately free throws were the killer. While San Antonio is shooting a league-high 81.8% from the charity stripe this season, the Spurs shot an unacceptable 55.0%(11/20) tonight. #GoSpursGo

— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) December 29, 2018

DeRozan couldn’t knock down his free throw and he wasn’t feeling it from the floor either. Though the four-time All-Star drained half of his field goal attempts, he never truly looked comfortable aside from a few spectacular dunks.

Come for the @DeMar_DeRozan slam, stay for the @BrynjForbes reaction pic.twitter.com/2lCzTXpN5m

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 29, 2018

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There was definitely some questionable officiating throughout the matchup, but the San Antonio Spurs have only themselves to blame for the frustrating loss. Several Nuggets were injured, Nikola Jokic fouled out of the game, and Denver did everything in their power to hand the Spurs a comeback victory.

Ultimately, the final result came down to execution, and San Antonio just couldn’t close it out. The Spurs had a couple of shots to send the game to overtime, but they couldn’t get a shot off before the buzzer.

It was a tough loss, but the boys have no time to dwell on what could have been. The San Antonio Spurs take on the Los Angeles Clippers tonight in another game that will have a major effect on the Western Conference standings.

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