Popovich 'surprised people stayed' for 'odd' Game 7

Oleh Peter Thompson 28 April 2019 3
Popovich 'surprised people stayed' for 'odd' Game 7

Gregg Popovich was "surprised people stayed" to watch the Denver Nuggets end his San Antonio Spurs side's season with victory in an "odd" Game 7 on Saturday.

Nikola Jokic led the way with a triple-double of 21 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in a 90-86 win for the Nuggets in the Western Conference first-round play-off decider.

Spurs head coach Popovich thought a lack of entertainment in the first half might have led to a mass exodus at Pepsi Center.

"Tonight was an odd game," said Popovich. "I thought both teams set basketball back in the first half. I'm surprised people stayed."

Popovich is in the final year of his contract and refused to be drawn on whether he will stay on.

"I'm a head coach in the NBA," Popovich said. "I don't think about what that means in the future."

The Nuggets' series triumph was their first in the post-season in a decade and coach Michael Malone reflected on how far they have come ahead of a semi-final battle with the Portland Trail Blazers.

"You looked in the stands, it was witness protection night," Malone said of years gone by. "There was nobody here.

"Really, to see where we've come in four years, to be a team that won a Game 7 at home and advancing to the second round for the first time in a while, is incredible. It's almost surreal at times."

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Peter Thompson