In one of the more intriguing first-round matchups, the second-seeded Denver Nuggets (54-28) take on the seventh-seeded San Antonio Spurs (48-34) in a series that many thought could easily go either way Entering Game 1 on Saturday Night.
While the idea of a No. 7 seed upsetting a No. 2 seed is quite rare, this is a different case – both of these teams split their regular-season series, while while one has a far superior overall record, the other has a clear advantage in the experience.
It remains to be The Spurs walked into the Pepsi Center and picked up a great victory to continue the trend of road team stealing Homecourt advantage on the opening day of the postseason.
Here's everything you need to know about this first-round matchup between the Spurs and the Nuggets.
No. 2 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 7 San Antonio Spurs
How to watch Game 2
- Date: Tuesday, April 1
- Time: 9 pm ET
- Location: Pepsi Center – Denver, Colorado
- TV channel: NBATV
- Live Stats: GameTracker
- Online Streaming: FuboTV
- Odds : N / A
All games will air on ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBA TV during the postseason. Games on TNT and NBA TV can be streamed via fuboTV.
Playoff series schedule
All times Eastern
- Game 1 (at DEN): San Antonio Spurs 101, Denver Nuggets 96
- Game 2 (at DEN): Tuesday, April 16, 9 pm – TV: NBA TV
- Game 3 (at SA): Thursday, April 18, 9 p.m. – TV: NBA TV
- Game 4 (at SA): Saturday, April 20, 5:30 pm – TV: TNT
- Game 5 * (at DEN): Tuesday, April 23, TBD – TV: TBD
- Game 6 * (at SA): Thursday, April 25, TBD – TV: TBD
- Game 7 * (at DEN): Saturday, April 27, TBD – TV: TBD
* If Required
Odds and Analysis
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Spurs: They may enter as the No. 7 seed, but it's not as if they're the clear-cut underdog. They won two of their four games vs. The Nuggets this season and went 32-9 at home. In addition, head coach Gregg Popovich will coach his 278th playoff game in Game 1 – Nuggets' head coach Michael Malone will be coaching in his first posteason game.
Nuggets: Denver enters as the youngest team in the NBA playoffs – heck, it's the Nuggets' first appearance in the postseason since 2013 and they'll be looking for their first playoff series victory since 2009. In other words, this No. 2 seed features a bunch of players – outside of Paul Millsap – that literally have no experience on the big stage.
Matchups to watch
1. Which star players will take over a game? There is no shortage of star power in this series with the Spurs featuring DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge while the Nuggets feature the likes of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. While De Rossan and Aldridge have led the teams to attend the finals of the past, they've taken over big games and proved their worth.
While Jokic and Murray have Of course, accomplished a lot this season, both players – especially Jokic – have disappeared in big games against big teams such as Golden State Warriors. The fact that the Nuggets lost nine of their 12 games vs. Stiff competition such as the Warriors, Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz this season provides a little doubt that their star players can take over when the team needs it most.
2. Benches: When you take a look at both teams, it's clear that the Nuggets have more depth. Monte Morris and Malik Beasley are younger, fresher and better than the Spurs' Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli. But the latter two have much more experience and a record record in the playoffs, with Mills having made 83 playoff appearances and Belinelli appearing in his 58th. Morris and Beasley have a total of zero playoff appearances.
Denver can also shift to the energetic Mason Plumlee (7.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game this season) in relief of Jokic, who could prove to be instrumental when both teams insert their second units in.
3. Popovich vs. Malone: These two may not really be taking the court, but the difference in head coaching experience between the two is as great as they get in the 2019 NBA playoffs. While Popovich has been coaching in the NBA post-season every year since 1998, Malone makes his first appearance in the playoffs as a head coach.
Considering this is a seven-game series, Popovich's past (and proven) history of adjusting on The fly may prove to be pivotal in what should be a close series.
However, Malone has fresh skins and better personnel to rely on – the only damage is his unit's lack of playoff experience.
Series prediction, pick
Nuggets in six: This is the most intriguing first-round series of the NBA playoffs. These two teams were so evenly matched during their regular-match matches with two of the four games being dictated by a total of four points. Furthermore, when you combine the Nuggets 'dominance at home (34-7) with the Spurs' own success on their home floor, this becomes a matter of who can steal the first road game in the series.
While the Nuggets enter As the most inexperienced bunch in the playoffs, the Spurs enter as a playoff-tested foe. Aldridge has been an annual NBA playoff performer for over a decade, DeRozan has led the Toronto Raptors squads into the playoffs over the years and the supporting cast featuring Mills and Belinelli have won titles with the Spurs.
With that said, I do believe talent will trump the experience in this series.