The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Denver Nuggets 101-96 in Saturday’s first round matchup. The win gave the Spurs an immediate advantage in the series, as the pressure is now of the Nuggets to even it with a win.
Here are three takeaways from Saturday’s win.
Derrick White is more than capable of leading this team to a first round upset.
White has been one of the strongest performers this season, and this trend will likely continue in the playoffs. He finished with 16 points, five assists and three rebounds. His monster dunk over Paul Millsap served as an introduction to other NBA fans that are not as familiar with his game. For the Spurs to be successful, it will be important for him to be a factor on both ends of the floor.
The bench is able to step up when needed.
DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge didn’t have the most spectacular games by their standards, but the bench was able to provide a nice boost with those two not performing as well as they are capable of. Rudy Gay came off the bench and added 14 points, which led all bench scorers. In total, the Spurs’ bench accounted for 31 points. Going forward, it will be important for the bench to provide scoring and energy.
The Spurs can win on the road.
One of the biggest questions heading into this series was if the Spurs would be able to compete and win on the road. Although the Spurs finished the season impressively, its record on the road was a reasonable cause of concern. However, the Spurs essentially controlled Game 1 from beginning to end. Taking this game is was a massive step in potentially completing an upset.