NBA Starting Lineups and Match Prediction - San Antonio Spurs vs Denver Nuggets - Game 1
The Denver Nuggets last season suffered a crushing final day defeat to miss out on the playoffs. However, just a year on - Denver enters the postseason as the second seeds. A series of huge performances from Nikola Jokic has fuelled a terrific season, while Jamal Murray and Gary Harris have also made huge contributions.
Meanwhile, the Spurs were widely expected to miss out on the playoffs for the first time for two decades, although Gregg Popovich has once again managed to steer his side to an unlikely 7th place finish. While San Antonio lost Kawhi Leonard last summer, DeMar DeRozan has stepped up to become a much more rounded player under Popovich, and despite his advancing years, LaMarcus Aldridge continues to perform at an All-Star level.
After missing the Spurs' final regular season game through illness, Dante Cunningham has been removed from the injury report ahead of Saturday's game against Denver. However, while Dejounte Murray has stepped up his recovery from a torn ACL, the young point guard is still expected to miss the entirety of the postseason.
Aside from the long term absence of rookie Micheal Porter Jr, the Nuggets have a fully fit roster to select from.
Predicted San Antonio Spurs starting lineup
DeMar DeRozan (F), LaMarcus Aldridge (F), Jakob Poeltl (C), Bryn Forbes (G), Derrick White (G)
Predicted Denver Nuggets starting lineup
Paul Millsap (F), Will Barton (F), Nikola Jokic (C), Jamal Murray (G), Gary Harris (G)
Thanks to their superior record, the Nuggets will have home-court advantage over the course of the series -- and it is likely to play a major factor tonight. Denver have lost just seven games at home all season long, while the Spurs have struggled on the road -- recording a 16-25 record. This points towards a comfortable Game 1 win for the Nuggets.