Houston Rockets vs. Utah Jazz - 4/17/19 NBA - Playoffs Pick, Odds, and Prediction

The Nuggets were limping into the playoffs … until they weren’t

The Rockets, particularly in the fourth quarter, shut down the Jazz offense and finished off Game One 122-90, the second largest margin of victory in the playoffs for the franchise.

The Nuggets are the Western Conference's second-seed, a placement they secured on the last day of the season with a comeback win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Spurs play a slow game and if Denver wants to expose San Antonio they'll utilize their youth and run them out the building. In the regular season, Denver won the majority of the match ups, but with Gregg Popovich as a legendary "chess master" when it comes to coaching, the Spurs had been favored by many. "I don't care what you do".

Of course, even though Jokic didn't shoot much, the Nuggets had chances to win Game 1 but couldn't make enough shots. But the Rockets have been the best team in the second half for good reason.

White also provided the play of the game with his posterization of Nuggets big man Paul Millsap. He scored 10 points, collecting 14 rebounds and had 14 assists.

Two other bright spots was the play of Gary Harris and Will Barton. But head coach Mike Malone's team won an additional eight games to capture the second seed in the West, as Jamal Murray made additional strides in his third season while Nikola Jokic continued to perform at an MVP level.

Utah finished just 7-for-27 on 3-pointers and committed 19 turnovers.

Overall, the Nuggets have won nine playoff series since joining the National Basketball Association, compiling an overall playoff record of 61-101.

The Spurs did a good job of giving Denver different looks as they sent double teams Jokic's way and forced the ball out of his hands.

Nuggets: A return to the playoffs after a six-year absence, facing the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. The Spurs did not allow a single fast-break point, but ultimately it came down to shots not falling.

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The Jazz got within five with a shot from Mitchell later in the third, before the Rockets scored next 10 points, with a 3 from Gordon and a three-point play from Harden, to make it 76-61 with about four minutes left in the quarter.

White's Flight: Spurs point guard Derrick White took flight in the Mile-High City over power forward Paul Millsap!

Wiggins' 3-pointer to tie it hit the front of the rim and the Nuggets got the ball back.

Sputtering into the postseason was no way for the Denver Nuggets to end their six-year playoff drought.

Just as homecourt advantage can easily be taken away, Denver will eventually have the opportunity to earn it right back with a win in San Antonio.

The Jazz did slow down the Beard slightly, limiting him to only three free-throw attempts (11.0 season average), but couldn't stop his overall impact.

They would not make another shot. They contested shots, limited Aldridge and DeRozan's production, and made the extra pass for open shots.

The Jazz are 6-1 against the spread in their last seven road games against a team with a winning home record and 20-5-1 ATS in their last 26 games following a loss.

Denver typically responds well in these types of situations.

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