Howdy fellow Stiffs and NBA fans. The Texas two-step kicks off this evening in San Antonio when the Nuggets travel to face the NBA's best team, the 34-6 Spurs. Both teams have been hot recently and tonight's match-up should be another good one from these two Western Conference foes.
The particulars ...
Denver: 23-16 (5-12 on the road)
Streak: Won 3 and 7-3 in last 10 games.
San Antonio: 34-6 (21-2 at home)
Streak: Won 5 and 8-2 in last 10.
Denver: Ty Lawson (sprained left ankle) is questionable. Chris Andersen (knee, back) is out.
San Antonio: James Anderson and Matt Bonner (sore right knee) are both out.
Opposition's Take: Pounding the Rock
I got up nice and early this morning to write today's preview, but with all the thoughts of San Antonio and Texas rolling though my head I decided to run to the store. I picked up some texas toast to transform into french toast and I hope the Nuggets can reduce the Spurs into a meal of their own this evening. Both teams are riding win streaks and when they face eachother tonight another tough contest should unfold.
Denver played last night against Cleveland and the Spurs last played Friday night against Dallas. If you're looking for a sign that this game means something to Denver, look no futher than Kenyon Martin sitting out last night's game so that he'll be ready to go tonight against Tim Duncan.
Denver is riding a three-game home win streak and are looking to extend it out on the road, where they haven't had much success this season. The Nuggets boast an 18-4 record at home, second best in the West, but have only won five games on the road in 17 tries. The Spurs boast the league's best home record at 21-2 and always manage to get team's to play to their tempo at home ... much like the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.
More often that not the Nuggets get sucked into playing what should be an unfamiliar style on the road, but unfortunately it seems that Denver is accustomed to playing one way at home and another on the road.
During Denver's three game win streak they have won games by margins of 34 points (vs. Suns), 28 points (vs. Heat) and 28 points (vs. Cavaliers). They have racked up impressive team assist numbers with 30 assists vs. the Suns, 31 assists vs. the Heat and 30 assists vs. the Cavs. Denver is averaging 129.6 points over their last three contests and their leading scorers in each game have been different players: vs. the Suns Arron Afflalo led the team with 31 points, vs. the Heat J.R. Smith dropped in 28 points and last night vs. the Cavs Nene led the way with 22 points.
Obviously the Suns and Cavs haven't been very impressive this year as they are a combined 25-53, and the Heat were missing LeBron James (but still had their two other all-stars), but these Nuggets have been playing a very unselfish and exciting brand of basketball.
Unfortunately, Ty Lawson may have to sit this one out with a sprained left ankle that limited him to just 13 minutes last night and caused him to sit out the second half. We could see another big dose of Melvin Ely as Birdman continues to rest as Ely was on the floor last night for 29 minutes and Shelden Williams could also be called upon from the reserves department.
The second night of a back-to-back can be grueling as we all know, but with the blowout win last night George Karl had an opportunity to rest his key guys and only Arron Afflalo played over 30 minutes (31 minutes). Nene played just 19 minutes, Billups 26 minutes and Carmelo Anthony just 27 minutes. Energy shouldn't be an issue and momentum hopefully boarded the team plane last night.
San Antonio has some momentum of their own heading into tonight's contest as they have their own five-game win steak going. The Spurs have been beating up on the dregs of the NBA world as four of their five wins have come against sub-.500 teams (Indiana, Minnesota twice and Milwaukee) and another against a very mediocre Dallas team missing Caron Butler and Dirk Nowitzki.
It's always satisfying to get a win against San Antonio and a win on their own home floor would be even sweeter. Both teams can and will go small, both can play an uptempo style and they both can live-and-die on the perimeter as they like to shoot from distance. Many folks rejoice when the Nuggets beat the Lakers, as do I, but wins against the Spurs are the best kinds to me.
Views you can use:
- The Spurs haven't given up 100 points in their five-game win streak and the Nuggets are the NBA's highest scoring team with an average of 107.5 ppg.
DeJuan Blair put up 18 points and 13 rebounds against the Mavs, but is averaging just 6.6 points and 7.4 rebounds on the Spurs current win streak.
- George Hill is back for the Spurs and in the last five games he's averaging 10.6 points and 2.4 rebounds. Hill along with Gary Neal, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Richard Jefferson gives the Spurs plenty of options to play small-ball. And with Matt Bonner out tonight, expect the Spurs to play an uptempo style tonight.