Thursday night is an elimination game for the series between the Nuggets and Spurs! It is the only matchup that’s really been competitive based off the number of games played, but a closer look will tell you that Denver is the superior team when they play their style of basketball. Even though San Antonio won Game 1 on the road, the Nuggets have outclassed them nearly every step of the way, save for a heroic game from Derrick White. Leading 3-2 and playing on the road, we’ll see what Denver is really made of here tonight!

[2] Denver Nuggets (3-2) @ [7] San Antonio Spurs (2-3)

Game 5 in Denver was only close when neither team had scored yet in the game. After that, the Nuggets controlled the pace every step of the way en route to a 118-90 victory. The Nuggets shot the ball very well as a team, while the Spurs failed to find any real consistent offense until the final quarter. San Antonio didn’t really play terribly, but Denver hit too many shots for the game to stay competitive. Now the Spurs are back against a wall with Game 6 played in San Antonio.

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Denver

The Nuggets put their foot on the gas pedal in Game 5 and never looked back. A lot of that came from the production of Jamal Murray, who had another fantastic game with 23 points, 7 assists, and 2 steals on 9-16 shooting. Jokic was up to his usual tricks and Millsap was also impactful, pushing the Nuggets to an easy win. Game 6 is a different story on the road though!

 

  • Fantastic shooting numbers as a team. They went 39-78 (50%) from the field and 14-33 (42.4%) from deep, which was good for a +21 advantage from that area. 25 of those baskets were scored off an assist.
  • The Nuggets bench made great contributions in Game 5. Monte Morris, Malik Beasley, and Will Barton combined to score 38 points on 16-27 shooting. The Spurs bench scored just 28 as a whole.
  • After losing Game 1, the Nuggets have gone 3-1 in the last four games of the series, with their only loss coming at the hands of an explosive performance from Derrick White.

San Antonio

The performance the Spurs gave in Game 5 was a lot like a lukewarm bath. Not the worst thing in the world, but it just doesn’t cut it when you want a nice warm bath. 90 points on just 41% shooting won’t win you a playoff game in 2019, not when the offensive pace of the league is higher than it ever has been before. Unfortunately for the Spurs, they have to play great just to beat this talented Denver squad. Will they do that tonight to force the first Game 7 of the playoffs?

 

  • Even though the Spurs did a great job of holding onto the ball, finishing with just 7 turnovers, they shot just 37-90 (41.1%) from the field and 7-24 (29.2%) from 3-point range. Making matters worse, only 17 of those baskets were assisted.
  • Neither LaMarcus Aldridge nor DeMar DeRozan scored enough in Game 4. They both finished with 17 points a piece, nowhere near good enough for a pair that averaged more than 43 points throughout the regular season.
  • The Spurs haven’t won since Game 3, but even then Denver played well despite losing. Aldridge and DeRozan must both play well, but another role player like Derrick White or Rudy Gay must score at least 15 for San Antonio to have any chance.

Pick: Denver Nuggets +3.0

The Nuggets are indeed playing on the road in a high-pressure Game 6. They are also a very young team, but they play some fantastic basketball and are undoubtedly the better team in the series. Aside from an outlier Game 3, the Nuggets have throttled San Antonio. They come into tonight with a ton of momentum and confidence, which will push them into the second round to face Damian Lillard and the Blazers. Expect Denver to win!