Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#501 San Antonio Spurs 212 vs.
#502 Denver Nuggets -220
Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at 9:30pm EDT
Pepsi Center, Denver
Written by Chris Kubala

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#501 San Antonio
#502 Denver
50-36
56-30
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46-40
38-48
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The lone first-round playoff series to be tied at 2-2 after four games comes to you from the Western Conference and continues in the Rocky Mountains. The seventh-seeded San Antonio Spurs are on the road as they face the second-seeded Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of their best of seven set Tuesday night. The teams have traded wins in the series so far: San Antonio took Game 1 101-96 on the road before Denver answered with a 114-105 home win in Game 2. In Game 3, San Antonio took a 118-108 home win to maintain home court advantage before Denver took it back with a 117-103 road win in Game 4 Saturday night. San Antonio owns a 118-69 lead in the all-time regular season series but the teams split four meetings this season. The Spurs have won five of the six previous playoff series between the teams and own a 22-8 edge in head to head playoff wins.

San Antonio Spurs Try to Steal Home Court Again

San Antonio stole home court in the series by taking Game 1 on the road but ended up giving it back with their home loss in Game 4. As a result, what was a best of seven has been reduced to a best of three. All things considered the Spurs may be happy with that as they are the lower-seeded team. San Antonio suffered their first home loss to the Nuggets in more than seven years in Game 4. The Spurs started hot with a 12-point edge after the first quarter but found themselves tied at the half. The third quarter told the tale, leaving San Antonio down 12, and they didn’t get closer than 10 the rest of the way. The Spurs shot 46.8 percent from the field, including five of 17 from beyond the arc, but forced just seven turnovers in the game. LaMarcus Aldridge led San Antonio with 24 points and nine rebounds in the loss.

The Spurs are average offensively in the postseason, ranking 9th in scoring offense with 106.8 points per game. San Antonio is 5th in rebounding with 47 boards a contest while the team is 9th in assists with 21.8 dimes per game. San Antonio is 9th   in the league in scoring defense as they allow 108.8 points a game. The Spurs are 5th in the league by shooting 47.5 percent from the field. San Antonio is 16th in three-point field goals per game with six per contest. The Spurs are 9th in the league by knocking down 35.3 percent of their long-range attempts. DeMar DeRozan leads the team with 23.2 points, seven rebounds plus 4.5 assists per game this season. Derrick White contributes 19.3 points a game in the postseason while LaMarcus Aldridge chips in 20.3 points and nine rebounds per contest. The Spurs have to get contributions from Bryn Forbes and Rudy Gay, among others, in order to have success.

Denver Nuggets Seek to Seize Control of Series

Denver managed to regain home court advantage and exorcise the demon of playing in San Antonio by taking Game 4. The win by the Nuggets was their first over the Spurs on the road since a 99-94 triumph on March 4, 2012, a span of 13 regular season contests: there are no players on either team that were on the clubs in that contest. Denver rallied from 12 down after the opening quarter to tie the game at the half, then rode a 17-7 third-quarter run to take charge of the contest. The Nuggets didn’t allow San Antonio closer than 10 in the fourth to square the set. Denver shot 44.9 percent from the field, including 15 of 31 from three-point range, and canned 22 of their 24 free throw attempts. Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in the win.

The Nuggets are 8th in the league in postseason scoring offense with an average of 108.8 points per game. Denver is currently tied for 12th in the league in rebounding with 42.3 rebounds per contest. The Nuggets are 3rd in the league by dishing out 27.5 assists per game. Denver is 8th in scoring defense as they allow 106.8 points per contest. The Nuggets are 6th in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 46.7 percent from the field. Denver is tied for 6th in the league by sinking 11.5 threes per game and is 3rd in the league in three-point shooting by sinking 41.1 percent from beyond the arc. Gary Harris is third on the team in the playoffs with 15.8 points per game in the postseason. Nikola Jokic contributes a team-leading 20.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 9.3 assists per contest while Jamal Murray is contributing 17.8 points per game. The Nuggets are going to have to get better contributions from their bench group in order to have success in the series.

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Coach Mike Malone challenged the Nuggets before Game 4 to be tougher and the team responded, enabling them to tie the series. Denver clamped down on Derrick White, rendering him ineffective offensively: after he went off for a career-high 36 points in Game 3, he was limited to three of eight shooting for eight points in 28 minutes of action. Returning home, having exorcised the demon of winning in San Antonio, the Nuggets have momentum. The Spurs don’t have an effective matchup to contain Jokic and that proves to be the difference in this one. Denver gets the nod at home to take a 3-2 series lead.

Prediction: Denver Nuggets -5.5

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Game 1 was the defensive oriented contest in this series as the total was 197 points with the Spurs prevailing despite scoring just 101 points. Since then, both teams have put up triple digits in each of the last three games. We’ve seen 219 points, 226 points and then 220 points scored in the last three contests, each of which has exceeded the total by at least nine points. San Antonio prevailed in Game 1 of the series here: can they find a way to steal another one here?

The over is 9-3-1 in the Spurs’ last 13 Conference Quarterfinals games, 9-3 in their last 12 games following a straight up loss of more than 10 points and 7-3 in their last 10 games following a double-digit loss at home. Denver has seen the over go 4-0 in their last 4 games following an ATS win, 5-1 in their last 6 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game and 5-1 in their last 6 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game. We’ve seen the over hit in the last three contests: look for that to be the case again in this one.

Prediction: Over 211.5

Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.