Spurs’ Wild Comeback Leads to 3-Way Tie For First In Western Conference Standings

After trailing by 23 points, the Spurs came back to defeat the Nuggets 121-120 — and for the first time in NBA history, there is now a three-way tie for first place in the West between the Nuggets, Timberwolves, and Thunder (who hold the tie-breaker).

Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs, NBA

Against the defending NBA champs, Victor Wembanyama led the Spurs (21-60) to victory, contributing 34 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two blocks, and one steal to help avoid San Antonio from finishing the season with the worst record in franchise history (20-62; 1996-97 season).

In the loss, Nikola Jokic scored 22 points, dished out 12 assists, and grabbed seven rebounds, while Jamal Murray put up a game-high 35 points. After coming up short in his previous matchup with Jokic, Wembanyama mentioned that this might be “the biggest win of the season.” The rookie stated, “As a growing team, a young team, it’s big for us. We are going to need these kinds of wins in the future.”

To note, the Spurs were missing five of their top eight scorers tonight, which allowed an opportunity for fourth-year forward Sandro Mamukelashvili to score a season-high 21 points and grab 12 rebounds.

”We were down 23 and we came back, and I feel like at that point you don’t want to let it up and you go full steam,” Mamukelashvili said. “So happy we got the win.” 

To point out, the Nuggets-Spurs were entering blowout territory, as Denver led 76-53 soon after halftime, nevertheless San Antonio went on a 18-4 run in the middle of the third to keep the game within striking distance.

Then trailing by 17 points two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Spurs soon went on a 12-0 run to bring the deficit within single digits.

Spurs guard Devonte’ Graham made a layup with 30 seconds left to make it a one-point game, then with 0.2 seconds left Graham made a game-winning floater, which ultimately lifted the Spurs past the Nuggets. 

After losing vs. the worst-record team in the West, the Nuggets now share their first place position and risk falling to the third seed spot heading into the playoffs.

“Yeah, it’s disappointing. I mean, really disappointing,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone stated following the game. “We controlled our own destiny, and what we accomplished on Wednesday night, we just gave it right back. You know what I mean? So, it’s easy to get up for Minnesota. I mean, our guys were locked in, they were focused, they were serious.

“And I don’t think we had the same approach for tonight’s game, but you had a chance to get to the one seed and now, obviously, we’ll likely be the three seed at the end of the day.” 

There is one game left on the schedule for each of the first-place teams with a 56-25 record, as the Nuggets will play vs. the Grizzlies (27-54), the Timberwolves will play vs. the Suns (47-33), and the Thunder will vs. the Mavericks (50-31) all on Sunday, April 14 at 3:30pm ET.

Ultimately, the Western Conference standings, is a much closer race than the Eastern Conference, as the 10th-seeded Warriors are 11 games out of first place, while the second-seeded Bucks are 14 games behind the first-seeded Celtics.

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