Nuggets beat Spurs in Game 7; Leonard has 45 in Raptors win
DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic had a triple-double, Jamal Murray hit a clutch floater with 36.8 seconds remaining and the Denver Nuggets held off the San Antonio Spurs 90-86 in Game 7 on Saturday night to advance in the postseason for the first time in a decade.
In a matchup between a Denver team with the youngest playoff roster in the West and the savvy Spurs, the second-seeded Nuggets built a 17-point lead in the third quarter only to see it whittled down to two with 52 seconds remaining.
Jokic finished with 21 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists, with no pass bigger than the one to set up Murray’s floater. DeMar DeRozan had a chance to slice into the deficit but was blocked by Torrey Craig. Then, the Spurs didn’t foul and the Nuggets were able to essentially run out the clock.
Since making the Western Conference finals in 2009, the Nuggets have bowed out in the first round on four occasions. This was their first playoff appearance in six seasons.
Denver will host third-seeded Portland in a series that begins Monday.
RAPTORS 108, 76ERS 95
TORONTO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored a career playoff-high 45 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, Pascal Siakam added 29 points and Toronto beat Philadelphia in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Leonard matched his career-best scoring total for any game, set Jan. 1 against Utah. He made 16 of 22 shots, going 3 of 6 from 3-point range, and went 10 for 11 at the free throw line.
Kyle Lowry had nine points and eight assists as the Raptors led by as many as 20 en route to their fifth straight postseason victory, extending a franchise record.
Toronto won its 14th consecutive home meeting with Philadelphia and improved to 22-3 against the 76ers since the start of the 2013-14 season. No other opponent has beaten Philadelphia more often over the past five seasons.
Tobias Harris had 14 points and 15 rebounds, and JJ Redick scored 17 points for the 76ers, whose four-game playoff winning streak was snapped.