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Derrick White says Nuggets ‘were the hungrier team’ in Game 4, praises their defense

Gary Harris, Nikola Jokic, Derrick White

Coming into Game 4, the Denver Nuggets had lost 13 straight road games to the San Antonio Spurs. In fact, only two players on Denver’s roster, Paul Millsap and Will Barton, had ever won a game played at AT&T Center. You wouldn’t have known it on Saturday, though, when the Nuggets overcame a dreadful first quarter to beat the Spurs 117-103, evening the teams’ first-round series at two games apiece as it shifts back to Denver.

After the game, San Antonio guard Derrick White, enjoying a coming out party of sorts during the first three games of the playoffs, explained why his team was unable to continue its streak of home victories against the Nuggets. It wasn’t just that Denver dialed in on the Spurs’ three-point shooters; White believes the Nuggets simply wanted Game 4 more than San Antonio, too.

The sophomore guard wasn’t the only one on his team to feel that way, either. Gregg Popovich was even more direct with his criticism, flatly calling out what he perceived as San Antonio’s lack of will to win.

“The Nuggets competed and we did not,” he said, per the Associated Press. “Their physicality was obvious from the get-go. You knew that was going to happen and we did not respond. So, it was a very disappointing loss.”

Effort wasn’t the only factor that played a major factor in Denver’s victory. Malone, as he hinted after Game 3, replaced the struggling Will Barton at small forward with Torrey Craig, who responded by scoring 18 points, hitting five three-pointers, and setting a tone for the Nuggets defensively.

Game 5 is on Tuesday at Pepsi Center.