SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Hoping to find a spark to start Game 4, Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone decided to change the grid and added Torrey Craig as striker for Will Barton.
And the train paid off when Craig exploded 18 points in 37 minutes to help the Nuggets win their NBA Playoff series in the first round with the San Antonio Spurs after a 117: 103 win on Saturday with 2: 2 bind.
Malone had refused to make any changes to the line-up in the first three games, battling Barton. In the first three games of the series Barton missed 12 of 13 3-pointers and scored in the 3:10 shooting in Game 4 in just 15 minutes only 12 points.
Malone said before Saturday's game that Spurs keeper Derrick White's priority was to stop. White entered Game 4 with an average of 23 points, scoring 69 percent after posting a career high of 36 points on Thursday's Spurs & # 3; Game 3 victory.
Denver held the 24-year-old 8-point in Game 4 in eight strikes when Craig's Saturday night extended the minutes and shut down Gary Harris DeMar DeRozan and White.
Craig spiked the Nuggets from the bench in Game 3, scoring 12 points, earning six rebounds and playing strong defense. He was rewarded in Game 4 with the second most minute in the team behind Star Center Nikola Jokic, adding 8 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block to his 18 points.
"Our guys answered," Malone said after the game. "It was not just veterinarians, it was a lot of young people, Torrey Craig got his first playoff start, he was in the G-League last year and he has a game like that."
Malone said before the game that he wanted to challenge Jamal Murray, who scored 21 points outside of the fourth quarter of the Nuggets # 2 game to improve his game in Game 4.
Murray responded, scoring 24 points in 8 of 14 shots in 33 minutes.
"I always come back," Murray said after the game.