San Antonio Spurs vs Denver Nuggets (Game 2): Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Pepsi Center in Denver, CO, USA.

When: Tuesday, April 16th at 9pm EST.

How (TV): NBATV

San Antonio Spurs (Away)

Head Coach: Gregg Popovich {All-Time: 1245-575 | SAS}

Season Record: 48-34

Projected Starting Five: (G) Bryn Forbes – (G) Derrick White – (G) DeMar DeRozan – (F) LaMarcus Aldridge – (C) Jakob Poeltl

Top Performers

  • F LaMarcus Aldridge – 21.3 PPG | 9.2 RPG | 1.3 BPG
  • G DeMar DeRozan – 21.2 PPG | 6.0 RPG | 6.2 APG
  • F Rudy Gay – 13.7 PPG | 6.8 RPG | .402 3P%

The San Antonio Spurs come into this game having won the opening game 101-96 on April 13th in Denver.

DeMar DeRozan stuffed the stat sheet with 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists in his first playoff game as a Spur. Point guard and Most Improved Player candidate, Derrick White added 16 points while LaMarcus Aldridge and Bryn Forbes added 15 points apiece.

The Spurs went with their typical game plan, focusing on getting quality shots instead of living and dying by the three. This should come to no surprise as they ranked dead last in three point attempts during the regular season.

Denver Nuggets (Home)

Head Coach: Mike Malone {All-Time: 212-222 | SAC, DEN}

Season Record: 54-28

Projected Starting Five: (G) Gary Harris – (G) Jamal Murray – (G) Will Barton – (F) Paul Millsap – (C) Nikola Jokic

Top Performers

  • C Nikola Jokic – 20.1 PPG | 10.8 RPG | 7.3 APG
  • G Jamal Murray – 18.2 PPG | 4.8 APG | .367 3P%
  • G Gary Harris – 12.9 PPG | .339 3P% | .799 FT%

After a five year absence, the Denver Nuggets had got their taste of postseason basketball, albeit in a losing effort. The majority of Denver’s core were making their playoff debuts, with Gary Harris scoring a game high 20 points in the loss.

Fellow guards Jamal Murray and Will Barton chipped in with 17 and 15 points respectively, while the team’s All-Star center, Nikola Jokic put together a triple double in his first playoff game. Jokic elected to be more of a distributor in this game, racking up 14 assists to go along with 14 rebounds and 10 points.

Unlike the Spurs, the Nuggets relied heavily on the three point shot and paid for it in the defeat, hitting just 6 of 28 attempts. On the bright side, Denver kept themselves in the game by taking care of the ball and committing only ten turnovers.

What’s At Stake?

The Denver Nuggets will look to tie up this series to avoid falling to 2-0. Losing the first two of a best of seven has proven to be difficult to come back from, as the feat has only been achieved 19 times since 1969. The last team to make the comeback were last year’s Cleveland Cavaliers in the East Finals against the Boston Celtics.

Will Rudy Gay Be a Force Off the Bench Again?

The 13th year veteran has become accustomed to his defined role in San Antonio, after years of being an alpha-scorer in his previous stops. His value to the Spurs was evident in Game 1, as he came off the bench to score 14 points, while leading the team in plus/minus at plus 10.

Although DeRozan and Aldridge are unlikely to repeat their sub-par shooting percentages from that game, it always helps to have a scorer and defender like Gay in your back pocket.

Will Jamal Murray Rebound From His 0-6 Showing From Three?

In order to win in today’s NBA, you have to be able to torch opponents from outside. A career 36.2% three-point shooter, Jamal Murray has actually fared well against the Spurs in his three years as a pro, shooting just over that mark at 37.5%.

During the regular season against San Antonio, the Canadian has had varying success, from a 6-10 showing on March 4th, to a 1-8 dud on December 26th. Given his history, Murray is bound to put up a better shooting effort in game 2.

San Antonio Spurs Roster Notes

G Dejounte Murray – 13 Mar 2019 – Out For Season (Knee) – Murray is making progress and is practicing on his own, but he’s not expected to play this season, according to Jeff Garcia of FOXSanAntonio.com. He had ACL surgery on his knee before the season started.

Denver Nuggets Roster Notes

F Michael Porter – 21 Mar 2019 – Out (Back) – Porter Jr. has been participating in light contact 3-on-3 drills in practice, but is still a long shot to return this year according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic.

X-Factors: LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS) vs Paul Millsap (DEN)

Two members of the 2006 NBA Draft class will be key factors for this contest. With fellow scorer DeMar DeRozan doing his part, Aldridge will look to dominate the paint while also stretching out Denver’s defense on occasion. Millsap, on the other hand will focus on complimenting Nikola Jokic’s efforts on the glass, while providing leadership for his young team.

LaMarcus Aldridge

Power Forward/Center | 6-11, 260lb (211cm, 117kg) | Texas | Exp. 12 Years

21.3 PPG | 2.4 APG | 9.2 RPG | 0.5 SPG | 1.3 BPG | 1.8 TOV | .519 FG% | .238 3P%

Aldridge, a 7-time All-Star, has asserted himself as a steady scorer for the Spurs. With just five games in the regular season where he failed to reach double-digits, it is no wonder why coach Popovich elects to run his offense through the native Texan.

The former Texas Longhorn has played well against the Nuggets this season, averaging 22.3 points per game while shooting 55.3% from the field. WIth the 6-11 big man spending much of his time in the paint, look for him to attack the rim often to put the likes of Millsap and Jokic in foul trouble.

Paul Millsap

Power Forward | 6-8, 246lb (203cm, 111kg) | Louisiana Tech | Exp. 12 Years

12.6 PPG | 2.0 APG | 7.2 RPG | 1.2 SPG | 0.8 BPG | 1.4 TOV | .484 FG% | .365 3P%

Aside from Isaiah Thomas, Paul Millsap is the only player on the Nuggets roster who was born in the 80’s. No longer the All-Star from his Atlanta days, Millsap has fully embraced the role as Denver’s wily veteran to maximize the potential of Denver’s young roster.

Although he has been quiet against the Spurs, playing in two of the games and scoring eight points total, Millsap still has the ability to go off on opposing defenses. The four time All-Star has had ten 20+ point performances, including a 33 point outburst against the Dallas Mavericks on March 14th.

San Antonio Spurs at Denver Nuggets Predictions and Odds

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