Spurs vs Nuggets Preview: Shaw's Soldiers Set to Spoil Sweet Sixteen

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Headline: Author should stop practicing alliteration. And the Nuggets would like to put a halt to a Spurs Streak.

Game 73: 2013-14 NBA Season

@
55-16 (27-8 away)
Series 2-0
32-40 (19-16 home)
March 28th, 2014
Pepsi Center - Denver, CO
7:00 PM MT
Altitude / 950 AM

Tony Parker PG Ty Lawson
Danny Green? SG Randy Foye
Kawhi Leonard SF Wilson Chandler
Tim Duncan PF Kenneth Faried
Tiago Splitter C Timofey Mozgov
Notes
Pounding the Rock Blogs You're here!
Danny Green is questionable for the game with a foot injury. Matt Bonner (calf) is out until early April Injuries Danilo Gallinari (knee), JaVale McGee (leg fracture), Nate Robinson (ACL sprain), JJ Hickson (ACL), Jan Vesely (rib) are out.

The Nuggets have won their last five home games.

Stat

The Spurs' have rattled off a 15-game winning streak, the last of which came against the Nuggets in San Antonio.

The Denver Nuggets look to return a little home cooking and hospitality to the streaking San Antonio Spurs, who narrowly defeated the Nuggets in San Antonio to kick off a home-and-home series.

In San Antonio, the Nuggets kept a too-frequent habit of blowing a quarter badly (yeah, that one's ripe for a joke), and dropped the second quarter to the Spurs by 14. Denver is limping to the finish line against some tough competition in the current league-leading Wins-column Spurs, and will need to staunch the lapses to have a solid chance against a team who has been the picture of consistency yet again this season with the ageless Tim Duncan leading the charge - both through the season and in this last game.

That said, the Nuggets showed a lot of grit on the road in coming back from a first-half meltdown, with vets such as Darrell Arthur still stemming the bleeding at the half of this last loss (as quoted from an ESPN article)

We were getting embarrassed in the first half," said Arthur. "I was upset. I had words with some of the guys in the locker room."

One might wonder which of the personnel Darth called out, but the fact that he's a "play-the-right way" defender more often than not, and that he's in the role of "call guys out" vet - on a team with few people his senior for years in the league (only Chandler, Foye, and Robinson outrank him, and each of them plays with heart and effort nightly, even when not bringing their occasionally-ugly offensive games)... People wonder what I see in this ugly duckling of a Nuggets season anymore, and I could wax poetic on a few, but one of the key positive narratives for me has been this:

Through 72 games of an NBA season (what I would call a fair sample of a season's "narrative"), something has become apparent for the boys in blue... or PRIMARILY YELLOW*. They seem to have a decided ability to rebound from adverse situations. Whether Brian Shaw/Andre Miller DefCon, eight and six game losing streaks, or statistically small odds of attaining the playoffs (they achieved elimination in this last loss, by the way), the Nuggets have shown a propensity for rebounding from adversity to give another effort, and actually seem to be enjoying the process of building this team, independent of our lamentations on the sidelines. You have to appreciate a team this young coming together instead of falling apart when they have every excuse to do otherwise, and I think the character of Brian Shaw is to be commended when you see a team still fighting for only pride. You may feel the jury still out on his methodology, but you have to admit he's rallied the troops more often than I think most young coaches getting their feet wet could. That bodes well for a team who's still teaching young talent how to play differently, whatever the system is or will be, in getting players to buy in and accept roles. You may not be a fan of the Triangle, but maybe that's not all Phil had to teach, boys and girls.

*an aside: Wow, do I miss dark blue jerseys. Which should be primary ROAD jerseys as well. Are you going to swagger more in power-suit blue or nuclear banana? Ask the honored 20th Anniversary squad the other night which ALMOST made the Western Conference Finals (WCF-Semifinals 93-94), or the WCF combatants of Billups/Anthony/K-Mart (08-09)... Or even the First WCF team of Thompson/Jones/Issel... In 77-78... Oh no... Do sports teams save power jerseys for their best-odds teams, or do jerseys actually empower a team's ability to win? My sports-porn/user-psychology/color-theory worlds just collided in a tragic "why did George Lucas screw up the GOOD movies in 4 separate remakes?" type of way, and I may require counseling. Especially if the former is true.

Bottom line, I wouldn't be surprised by anything in this Rorshach season, but my gut tells me the Nuggets come out with some pride tonight, and if they keep up these habits, they will continue to see more and better things on a nightly basis. If you don't like seeing that from your team, irrespective of the draft/tank talk, you may want to cut back on the caffeine a little. Practice deep breathing. I like our punchers chances, tonight, but... What say YOU, Nuggets Nation?

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