NBA Starting Lineups and Match Prediction: Denver Nuggets vs San Antonio Spurs, Game 3
The Nuggets are the second seed in the Western Conference, while the San Antonio Spurs are the seventh seed. The Nuggets had the early home court advantage due to being the better seed, but the Spurs surprised them in Game 1, pulling off a 101-96 upset win.
The Spurs achieved a positive result despite a triple-double from Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. Jokic had 10 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists, becoming the first player since LeBron James (in 2006) to record a triple-double in his playoff debut.
However, Jokic's triple-double did not come easy, having to fight off good performances from Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge and a couple of other players too. The Spurs also played well on the offensive end with balanced scoring.
DeMar DeRozan had 18 points, Derrick White had 16 points, Bryn Forbes and LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points each, and Rudy Gay had 14.
The Nuggets lost Game 1 but tied the series in Game 2, winning 114-105. Jamal Murray led the Nuggets with 24 points, scoring 21 of those in the fourth quarter. Murray took over for the Nuggets when they needed him most.
Murray was just one of five Nuggets players to score in double figures though. Gary Harris had 23 points, Nikola Jokic had 21, Paul Milsap had 20 and Monte Morris had 11. The Nuggets played well as a team and this game showed what they are capable of.
For the Spurs, DeRozan had 31 points. He was one of three players to score in double figures; Aldridge had 24 and White had 17.
The series continues in San Antonio. The Spurs have a chance to win the next two games on their home court, while the Nuggets would look to win one (if not two) games on the road. This series is becoming fiercely competitive, and both teams will be desperate for a win; it all comes down to which team wants it more.
Predicted starting line-ups
Nuggets: Jamal Murray (PG), Gary Harris (SG), Will Barton (SF), Paul Milsap (PF), and Nikola Jokic (C)
Spurs: Derrick White (PG), Bryn Forbes (SG), DeMar DeRozan (SF), LaMarcus Aldridge (PF), and Jakob Poetl (C)
Both teams are evenly balanced, and it is hard to predict a winner. If I had to choose though, I'd give a slight edge to the Spurs.