The NBA is set up with a Game 7 in the first round between the San Antonio Spurs and the Denver Nuggets. Both teams have fought fiercely against each other and it will be winner takes all on Saturday night. Both teams will look to come out strong to try and earn themselves the necessary edge to move onto the second round. This game is set to start at 10:00 PM Eastern time on TNT.
San Antonio finished the regular season in seventh place of the Western Conference. The Spurs had a pretty streaky season that led to them finishing with a record of 48-34 in the regular season. San Antonio finished the regular season winning fifteen of their last twenty games. The Spurs have carried that momentum into this series and made it tough on the Nuggets. San Antonio will look to complete the upset with a road win on Saturday night.
The Nuggets ended the regular season in second place of the Western Conference with a record of 54-28. Denver held the top spot in the Western Conference for a large chunk of the regular season, but they lost four of their last seven games to drop into the second spot. The Nuggets have still looked strong and will look to move onto the second round with a home victory in Game 7.
The Spurs and the Nuggets have both had their bright spots throughout this playoff series. In the regular season series between these two teams, each team was able to win two games. This has helped lead to a back and fourth playoff series as well. I expect Game 7 to be an exciting finish to a great series.
Games 1 and 2 were hosted by the Nuggets. Nikola Jokic had a strong performance in Game 1 as he dropped 10 points, 14 rebounds, and 14 assists. The Spurs put up a great team performance though, led by DeMar DeRozan, who had 18 points. San Antonio pulled off a 101-96 upset in Game 1. DeMar DeRozan dropped 31 points in Game 2, but this time it was not enough. Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap all dropped over 20 points to lead the Nuggets to a 114-105 win.
The third and fourth matchup of this playoff series shifted to San Antonio. Nikola Jokic had another strong performance dropping 22 points in Game 3. Derrick White went off for 36 points, while DeMar DeRozan added 25 points to give the Spurs a 118-108 win. In Game 4 it was LaMarcus Aldridge who led San Antonio, dropping 24 points. Nikola Jokic had 29 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists to lead the Nuggets to a 117-103 win to tie the series 2-2.
Game 5 shifted back to Denver on April 23. LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan each had a solid night, dropping 17 points each. Jakob Poeltl and Derrick White each had 12 points, but it was not enough. Jamal Murray had 23 points, while Will Barton added 17 points. Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris, Paul Millsap, Malik Beasley, and Monte Morris all also had double-digit points to lead the Nuggets to a 108-90 win at home.
San Antonio hosted Game 6 of this playoff series on April 25. Nikola Jokic had a monster night, dropping 43 points, 12 rebounds, and 9 assists. The depth of the Nuggets did not have a great night though. LaMarcus Aldridge dropped 26 points and 10 rebounds, while DeMar DeRozan had 25 points. Rudy Gay added another 19 points off the bench to help give the Spurs a 120-103 win in their elimination game.
These two teams have been back and forth all series with neither team having more than a one-game advantage at any point. Now it all comes down to Game 7. Both teams will look to find what worked and what didn’t to earn that advantage to send their team on to the second round. This should lead to a really strong Game 7.
DeMar DeRozan has been doing well in his first playoff run with the Spurs. DeRozan had averaged around 22.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game throughout the first round. LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging around 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Derrick White has averaged 17 points per game for the Spurs. Rudy Gay is next in points per game and he drops off a big, averaging 9.5 points per game off the bench. San Antonio will need a little more from some players in Game 7.
Nikola Jokic has been having himself a great first round for the Nuggets. Jokic has averaged 23.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 9 assists per game throughout this first round. Jamal Murray has been playing well from the Point Guard spot, averaging around 18.5 points per game. Gary Harris is averaging 15.5 points per game, while Paul Millsap has averaged around 12.5 points per game in this first-round series for Denver.
San Antonio has seen quite a few random couple players pop up and step up in some games throughout this series, but overall, they have relied heavily on their top three scorers. The Nuggets have a nice depth system that sees a nice rounded out scoring, where if one player is having an off night, a couple of players could step up in their place. This has been effective all season long, but now they will look for it to close out the Spurs.
These two teams have matched up really well throughout the season and in this playoff series. San Antonio finished out the regular season as the best three-point shooting team percentage wise, while the Nuggets had the best three-point defense. In this series, the Spurs have made 47.9 percent of their three-point shots, while Denver has made 47 percent.
BetOnline has this game listed as -5 ½ against the spread in favor of the Nuggets. Denver is at home in Game 7, which is likely why they are favored by a decent amount. The Nuggets have a well rounded out system, which I believe will play a big role in Game 7. I believe that the Nuggets will use their fans to carry them to victory. I believe that there is a lot of value in taking Denver against the spread.