Here come the Spurs
Now that football season is officially over the NBA takes center stage the rest of the way. And what better way to kick things off than with a classic Spurs vs. Nuggets matchup! I think if you watch this game closely you will notice there isn’t a lot of love between these two teams.
San Antonio (33-14) comes rolling into town on a four game win streak after outlasting the Warriors in Oakland last night 110-105. The Spurs are now back to doing what they do best … letting their Big 3 run the team. Tony Parker, Manu “Baldspot” Ginobili, and Timmy Duncan combined for 87 points last night on 50.8% shooting (31-61).
The Nuggets (31-16) are coming off a 110-99 win over the Charlotte Bobcats last Friday night. Carmelo made his triumphant return to the starting lineup and scored 19 points on 5-12 shooting. I thought Melo looked pretty good in his return, but I was scared when I saw him clutch his hand after getting his layup attempt blocked in the first quarter and again when he went to the bench and got his elbow wrapped along with his hand. I guess it will probably be that way for Melo the rest of the season, guy is playing through pain.
The matchup I am excited to see is between Nene and Timmy. I think Nene has the ability to dominate Timmy on the offensive end with his speed and size, but I hope he can stay out of foul trouble against the Big Fundamental. Dahntay Jones will have a very difficult machup in trying to cover Manu tonight and Billups will get to chase Tony Parker all around the floor.
Denver will have their hands full with the Big 3, but be on the lookout for Roger Mason, the Spurs best offseason addition. This guy can flat out shoot the long ball. The 28 year-old shooting guard is 98-219 from three-point land this season – good for 44.7%. Consider that JR Smith (Denver’s local bomb specialist) is 85-230 (37%) and Mr. Big Shot is 89-232 (38%). Mason can kill teams that do not pay attention to him and after watching Raja Bell go for 27 points (3-5 from three-point land) for Charlotte the other night it’s easy to see that Denver has some noticeable holes on defense when it comes to covering guys from distance.
I think everyone knows what the Spurs will look like tonight. We’ve seen them enough. I saw all I needed to know about this team when they beat Phoenix on the road on January 29. Tony Parker penetrated the lane at will and used his tremendous speed to blow by his defenders (which Billups has trouble with). Manu looks to be his old self again and also will be attacking the rim, which he says he needs to do more. And Timmy will be putting up his bank shots, grabbing rebounds in traffic, and making the “I can’t believe you called that on me!” face every chance he gets.
It’s safe to say I don’t like the Spurs. I have never liked the Spurs. I would like nothing else but for the Nuggets to beat the Spurs. But that said I respect their style and their dominance in getting teams to play at their tempo.
So, if you live in Denver go grab a ticket. Otherwise, plant yourself on the couch and get ready to watch what I like to think is a little bit of a bad blood rivalry …