Gregg Popovich will lead the Spurs into the NBA Playoffs for the 22nd consecutive year on Saturday, April 13th when San Antonio travels to Denver to take on the Nuggets at Pepsi Center. Game time for this eagerly anticipated Western Conference showdown is 10:30 p.m. EST.
Spurs Have a Long Playoff History
Although Popovich and the playoffs have been synonymous over the past two decades, San Antonio barely qualified for the postseason in 2019. The Spurs finished with just the seventh best record in the West and nearly fell out of contention in early February when they uncharacteristically lost seven of eight.
Gregg Popovich has led the Spurs to 22 straight Playoff Appearances – more postseason trips than 11 franchises have in their history.
His 167 Playoff games coached are more than 19 franchises.
— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) March 31, 2019
San Antonio comes into this series having won three games in a row. They’ll be hopeful that momentum will carry over into Game 1.
Nuggets Have Been on a Mile High All Season
The playoffs were never in doubt for the Nuggets, who won 54 games in 2018-19 and were in first place in the Western Conference until the final week of the season.
— Sky Sports NBA (@SkySportsNBA) April 11, 2019
Denver was particularly dominant at home, where they took full advantage of the city’s mile high altitude to win an NBA-best 34 games.
Spurs and Nuggets Have Top 10 Offenses
The Spurs and Nuggets generated plenty of excitement – and plenty of points – during the regular season with their high octane offenses. Denver generated 110.7 points on 46.6% shooting from the floor and 35.1% from deep. They ranked eighth in rebounds and second in assists.
The Nuggets were paced this season by first-time All-Star Nikola Jokic, who is averaged 20.1 points per game on 47.0% shooting.
The Nuggets prepared for the Playoffs with a win over the Timberwolves last night, led by Nikola Jokic (29 PTS, 14 REB) 🃏
— NBA UK (@NBAUK) April 11, 2019
The Spurs filled up the score sheet as well in 2018-19. San Antonio averaged 111.7 points on 47.8% shooting from the floor and 39.2% from deep. They ranked 21st in rebounds and 16th in assists.
The Spurs owe many of their wins this season to seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, who is scoring 21.3 points per contest. His midrange game may be a throwback in today’s pace and space NBA, but it continues to wear down opposing defenses on a nightly basis.
San Antonio Spurs vs Denver Nuggets Statistical Comparison
|112.2 (6th)||Offensive Rating||112.1 (7th)|
|111.7 (18th)||Points||110.7 (20th)|
|24.5 (16th)||Assists||27.4 (2nd)|
|47.8 (2nd)||Field-Goal Percentage||46.6 (13th)|
|39.2 (2nd)||Three-Point Percentage||35.1 (17th)|
|+1.7 (12th)||Plus/Minus||+4.0 (8th)|
|110.5 (20th)||Defensive Rating||108.0 (10th)|
|110.0 (12th)||Points||106.7 (6th)|
|46.3 (18th)||Field-Goal Percentage||45.8 (15th)|
|35.9 (18th)||Three-Point Percentage||33.9 (1st)|
|46.6 (6th)||Points In The Paint||48.9 (15th)|
Defense has traditionally been the hallmark of Popovich’s Spurs squads, but not this season as San Antonio finished 20th in defensive efficiency. The Spurs allowed opponents to shoot 46.3% from the floor and 35.9% from beyond the arc. Those numbers will have to improve for them to have any chance of advancing to the second round.
Defense has traditionally been the hallmark of Popovich’s Spurs squads, but not this season as San Antonio finished 20th in defensive efficiency
The Nuggets, on the other hand, finished 10th in defensive efficiency and held opponents to just 33.9% shooting from deep. They’re young, athletic, and capable of coming at you in waves.
Spurs and Nuggets Have Split Season Series
The Spurs and Nuggets have tangled four times this season, with each team winning twice. The last time they clashed on Wednesday, April 3rd, Denver crushed the Spurs 113-85 behind a breezy 20 points from Jokic.
Bookmakers are anticipating a lot of offense, as they’ve set the game total at a healthy 212, with the Nuggets opening as 5.5-point favorites. San Antonio was 43-37-2 against the spread this year and 44-38-0 over/under, compared to 42-40-0 ATS and 35-47-0 over/under for Denver.