The Spurs and Nuggets have traded wins throughout each the first four games of their Western Conference Quarterfinals series. Denver is going to hope they can buck that trend on their home floor in Game 5.
Denver will have home-court advantage when it hosts the Spurs in the first of what has become a best-of-three first round series on Tuesday night. The Nuggets have trailed twice in the series already only to go on to win the following games. Can Denver finally get in front?
NBA Point Spread and Betting Analysis
The Spurs have posted a 17-26 on the road this season including playoffs. San Antonio did win Game 1 of this series and nearly won the second game before a late collapse ultimately cost them a 2-0 series lead on the road. The Spurs are 4-0 against the spread in their last four games following a double-digit loss on their home floor. San Antonio is also 16-7-1 against the spread in its last 24 games versus teams with a winning percentage above .600.
Denver registered an outstanding 35-8 record on its home floor this season. The Nuggets are just 2-9 against the spread in their last 11 Western Conference Quarterfinals matchups. Denver is also just 1-5 against the spread in its last six home games versus teams with a road winning percentage of less than .400.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs will need to play with a sense of desperation if they are going to win this game and head back home with a chance to clinch their series and advance to the second round. San Antonio did a really good job of controlling the pace and knocking down its shots in its first two wins of the series. That will need to happen again in order to win Game 5.
There are a couple of key players in particular that will need to be better for the Spurs. Derrick White has a game-high 36 points in a Game 3 win but scored just eight points on 3-of-8 shooting in Game 4. Rudy Gay was an awful 0-for-7 from the field and finished with just two points in Game 4. It didn’t help that DeMar DeRozan was ejected from the game, albeit it happened once the contest was out of hand. If San Antonio is going to win on the road, it will need better performance from White, Gay and DeRozan to match the Nuggets back court.
Defensively, Jamal Murray is the key. He scored exactly 24.0 points per game in each of the wins while going 16-of-31 from the field. He has a total of 23 points in the two losses while shooting 10-of-29. He’s the key the Nuggets offence.
Denver did a much better job defending San Antonio in Game 4 but it was mostly their offence that was the difference. The Spurs are averaging just 106.8 points per game on the series but it’s the Nuggets that have huge swings. In the two wins, Denver has scored 115.5 points per game. In the two losses, they have averaged 102.
The Nuggets are back at home where they were the best home team in the NBA throughout the regular season. They have to be careful, though, because lost Game 1 at home and nearly lost Game 2.
They need more from Paul Millsap and Gary Harris, who both struggled from the field in Game 4. Denver still won the game thanks to 29 points from Nikola Jokic and 24 points from Jamal Murray but Denver has had a tough time getting everyone going in the same game. We had mentioned in our Game 4 preview that they might look at a different rotation and that’s what happened as Torrey Craig saw 37 minutes of action. He was very effective with 18 points, eight rebounds and five threes. He’s a guy who only scored 5.7 points per game in the regular season, though, so can the Nuggets really count on him again?
This unit has been inconsistent but they played their best game in Game 4. They should be able to carry that momentum over into Game 5.