Denver Nuggets at San Antonio Spurs
Thursday 8:00 P.M. ET
Free NBA Pick: Spurs ATS
Best Line Offered: Bovada
But the Nuggets don’t expect the seventh-seeded Spurs to go quietly when they meet Thursday night in the Alamo City in Game 6 of the first-round series.
The second-seeded Nuggets, who lost the series opener at home and nearly lost the second, head back to Texas after Tuesday’s dominating 108-90 win in Denver. They are on the cusp of their first postseason series victory since 2009, when they reached the Western Conference finals.
Denver snapped a 14-game, seven-year losing streak in San Antonio with a 117-103 victory in Game 4 on Saturday.
The Nuggets carried that momentum into Tuesday and dominated Game 5, leading by 11 at the half and by as many as 30 points in the final quarter to seize their first lead of the series. Jamal Murray paced Denver with 23 points, one of seven Nuggets in double figures.
Nikola Jokic added 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, and remained the hub of Denver’s offense. Denver’s defense had a lot to say about the Game 5 win. In a 5:21 span of the first quarter, the Spurs managed only one field goal and missed seven consecutive shots. In the second quarter, San Antonio was held to another stretch of more than five minutes with just one made basket. After Denver began the third quarter on a 17-4 run, the Spurs were all but forced to concede.
It seems like a lifetime ago when San Antonio held a 2-1 lead and owned the home-court edge against the Nuggets. Now the Spurs have to fight for their playoff lives to force a deciding seventh game in Denver on Saturday. The biggest adjustment that the Spurs can make is to play Davis Bertans more minutes, especially over Rudy Gay, who has not played well at all this series.
The Spurs‘ three best players DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Derek White have only played six minutes with Bertans this series, who has a team high +4.1 Net Rating on the series when he’s on the court and a -12.3 Net Rating when he doesn’t play. If Gregg Popovich finally decides to play Bertans over Gay, it will certainly increase the likelihood of the Spurs winning.