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Playoffs 2019

NBA Playoffs 2019: Three takeaways from Nuggets dominant performance in pivotal Game 5 win over Spurs

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Jokic and Murray led Denver to a crucial Game 5 win (NBA Getty Images)

In a pivotal Game 5, the Denver Nuggets made use of their home court advantage to earn a 108-90 win over the San Antonio Spurs to take a 3-2 series lead in the first round.

With the win, Denver is now one win away from earning its first postseason series win since 2009, when the team advanced to the Western Conference Finals.

The Nuggets were led by Jamal Murray's 23 points (on 9-for-16 shooting) while All-Star Nikola Jokic finished the night with 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Defensively, Denver held San Antonio to 41.1% shooting from the field and 29.2% shooting from beyond the arc.

For more on how Game 5 unfolded, here are some takeaways from the game…

Nuggets' early third-quarter run

The hosts led by 11 at halftime but by the end of the third quarter, they had doubled their advantage.

While Denver outscored the Spurs 32-21 over the course of the third frame, they did most of their damage early in the quarter. Through the first eight minutes of the third quarter, the Spurs only managed to score seven points but allowed the Nuggets to score 24.

During this run, Jamal Murray scored 10 points and dished out a number of assists, just part of a big Game 5 performance when…

Jokic and Murray shine

Nikola Jokic is 24-years-old and Jamal Murray is only 22; Game 5 was just the fifth postseason game of their young careers.

Still, the Nuggets young duo managed to perform well beyond their years in a crucial game.

Jokic, who is already in conversations for being one of the best passing big men in league history, made a number of things happen with his unique ability to facilitate. The 7-footer once again flirted with a triple-double as he finished the game with 16 points (on 5-for-11 shooting), 11 rebounds and eight assists in under 33 minutes of play.

Had the game been any closer, "The Joker" could very well have recorded the second triple-double of his playoff career.

Like Jokic, Murray did his part as a scorer and a facilitator within the Nuggets offence. Denver's third-year guard finished with a game-high 23 points (on 9-for-16 shooting) to go along with seven assists and just two turnovers. Perhaps the most encouraging stat is that the Nuggets outscored the Spurs by 33 points while Murray was on the floor.

In order to close San Antonio out in a tough road environment, Denver's two young stars again must put forth big performances in Game 6.

3-point shooting (dis)advantage

The Spurs' final margin of defeat at the Pepsi Center was 18 points, and they were outscored from the 3-point line by 21.

The visitors shot 7-for-24 from beyond the arc (29.2%) whereas the young guns of the Nuggets knocked down 14 on 33 attempts (42.4%).

3-point shooting has been a difference throughout the entire series.

Through the first five games, the Nuggets average 12.0 made three-pointers on 29.0 attempts for an efficiency of 41.4%. On the other hand, the Spurs only average 6.2 makes on 18.4 attempts for a shooting percentage of 33.7%.

It's not just the efficiency as Denver is beating them handily on long-range makes as well. If the young Nuggets can carry this shooting efficiency to San Antonio for Game 6, they should be able to wrap things up there.

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