Friday night the Nuggets lost on the road in Oklahoma City, while the Spurs took care of business at home against the surprising Memphis Grizzlies. The Nuggets arrived later than expected in San Antonio due to the brutal ice/snow storms in Oklahoma and today's game is an early one ... will be interesting to see how the Nuggets handle the early tip.
The particulars ...
Denver: 31-15 (21-3 at home, 10-12 on the road)
San Antonio: 27-18 (19-9 at home, 8-9 on the road)
Denver current streak: Lost 1. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games.
San Antonio current streak: Won 2. They are 5-5 in their last 10 games.
Denver: Carmelo Anthony (sprained left ankle) is a game time decision.
San Antonio: Tony Parker (sprained left ankle) is out today.
Opposition's Take: Pounding the Rock
Just as the Nuggets were starting to get right on the road (and back close to .500) they turned in a lackadaisical performance at the Ford Center against the Thunder. The key to beating the Spurs in Texas ... effort and flawless basketball.
San Antonio is taking a hit nationally for not having the same defensive team that they were known for in years past. You also hear that Manu Ginobili isn't his reckless self anymore and with Tony Parker out today the Nuggets should be favored to win, but the Spurs are coming off two big home wins against the Atlanta Hawks and Grizzlies.
I'm going to keep this post short because it's such an early game, but here are a few things to look for today (if you are awake right now).
Keep on eye on:
Tim Duncan: the big guy is having an incredible offensive season. You hear that Timmy wears down on the defensive end because he's putting forth so much effort to score points, but look for him to have a usual Duncan day against the Nuggets.
DeJuan Blair: the "coulda been Nugget" hasn't scored in double digits for 7 games, but he has posted 4 games with double digit rebounds during that span. In his first game against Denver Blair turned in an unimpressive 4 points and 2 rebounds in just 13 minutes. Since that time (December 5th) Blair has worked his way into the starting lineup (at times) and has found a bit more of a groove in his NBA life.
- Manu Ginobili: when you watch the Spurs do you not watch or think about Manu? Will he be driving and flopping? Will his shot be falling? Manu has caused the Nuggets pain for years and it's no wonder why they tried to sign him away from San Antonio once upon a time in a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" effort. The Spurs just wouldn't be the same team that Nuggets fans love to hate if they didn't have Duncan and Manu. Admit it.
- Carmelo Anthony: will he play? Will he be rusty? Can Melo come in and give the Nuggets the shot of life they were lacking against the Thunder? I hope so.
Ty Lawson: call it a rookie wall or a bit of a mini disappearance or the fact that Afflalo has earned more minutes, but Lawson hasn't had a Lawson game changing game for a while and this would be a great time to get going as the Spurs don't have the speed to stay with him.
- Passing the ball and going inside: The Nuggets have gone to a bit of a catch and shoot offense the last two games and they need to snap out of that today. I'd love to see Denver get out and run some fast break offense, but that all starts with an intense defensive effort.
The Nuggets can finish 2-1 on this mini three-game road trip with a win today before they face a scrappy Sacramento KIngs team that has posted a 2-0 record on the Nuggets this season. With the third game against the Kings coming off (for the third time) the second of a back-to-back, it'd be nice to grab another win in Texas.
I like ABC broadcasts ... now let's see if the Nuggets do.
Photo Courtesy of AP Photos: Delcia Lopez