The San Antonio Spurs have stolen homecourt advantage from the Denver Nuggets and will look to take a 2-1 series lead in their first-round playoff series Thursday night. The Spurs controlled Game 1 of the series and came away with a 101-96 victory. It looked like the Spurs were going to win both games on the road, but the Nuggets came back from 19 points down to win Game 2.
Denver had one of the best regular seasons in franchise history and came into the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. The Nuggets finished the year with a 54-28 record to win the Northwest Division. San Antonio got off to a brutal start to the season but responded to end up with a record of 48-34. The San Antonio Spurs are a -3.5 point favorite in Game 3 of the series.
DeRozan Doing it All For Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs made a terrific move in trading Kawhi Leonard for DeMar DeRozan last summer, even though they lost their best player. DeRozan has always been a very good player, but he has really taken over in this series. The former Raptors star is leading the team with 24.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game. Expect another big game from DeRozan in Game 3 of the series.
Center LaMarcus Aldridge has chipped in with 19.5 points per game, but it has been Bryn Forbes and Derrick White who have really stepped up their games. This duo has combined for 26.5 points per game, and they can really shoot it. San Antonio allowed just 110 points per game during the regular season, but their defense has been even better through the first two games.
Nuggets Struggling To Shoot It
The Spurs are daring the Denver Nuggets to take and make three-point shots to beat them, and that hasn’t gone well for Denver. The Nuggets are shooting just 30 percent from deep, and they are going to have to find a way to get more clean looks from deep. Shooting guard Will Barton has gone just 1-11 from the three-point line in this series and might see a reduction in playing time.
All-Star center Nikola Jokic is the catalyst for the Nuggets offense, but the Spurs are not going to let the big man do a ton of scoring. Jokic is averaging just 15.5 points per game but has dished out 11 assists per night. If the Nuggets are going to win Game 3, they are going to have to continue to get scoring from Gary Harris and Jamal Murray.
Spurs Take 2-1 Series Lead
The Spurs really should be up 2-0 in this series, but they fell apart down the stretch in Game 2. Don’t expect that to happen for a second straight game by a Gregg Popovich-coached team. The Spurs have a ton of playoff experience, and they know how to bounce back in a series. Look for San Antonio to come away with a double-digit victory in this game. Bet the San Antonio Spurs -3.5 over the Denver Nuggets.