After defeating the New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday night 115-98, the Denver Nuggets look to find some back-to-back magic for the first time the season. They picked a tough opponent to break their streak of dismal second-night performances against, however: the 8-2 San Antonio Spurs.
The Nuggets logged three 30-point quarters against the Pelicans and Danilo Gallinari led the way with a season-high 32 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 8 assists - all team-highs for the night, though Mudiay tied that assist mark with some beautiful passes. Denver cleaned up on the boards with a 10-rebound advantage, 43-33, taking advantage of a shoulder injury that shortened Anthony Davis's minutes to just 6 and added another loss to the dismal start by the Pelicans.
Denver won't be able to count on the same short-handedness from the Spurs, as leading scorer Kawhi Leonard dropped 19 and Manu Ginobili rode to the rescue with 14 fourth-quarter points to help the Spurs throttle the Portland TrailBlazers 93-80 on Monday night. On Wednesday it will be the Nuggets who are short-handed and tired, and will need to give their best against a Spurs team that has beaten them in seven straight contests.
|San Antonio Spurs||Denver Nuggets||Advantage|
|PG||Tony Parker||Emmanuel Mudiay||Spurs|
|SG||Danny Green||Gary Harris||Even|
|SF||Kawhi Leonard||Danilo Gallinari||Spurs|
|PF||LaMarcus Aldridge||Kenneth Faried||Spurs|
|C||Tim Duncan||J.J. Hickson||Spurs|
|Bench||Manu Ginobili, David West, Kyle Anderson, Rasual Butler, Boris Diaw, Patty Mills||
Jameer Nelson, Darrell Arthur, Kostas Papanikolaou, Will Barton, Nikola Jokic, Randy Foye, Mike Miller
3) Find the bouncing ball. The Oklahoma City Thunder were able to beat the Spurs by out-rebounding them - no easy feat when LaMarcus Aldridge finds his groove. Denver is going to have to rebound as a team to keep the Spurs from cleaning up on second chance points, and this would be an excellent game for a Manimal-type performance from Kenneth Faried. Joffrey Lauvergne is still out, so Hickson and Jokic will need to do their part against the aged-but-still-fundamental Tim Duncan, while the young guards hustle up rebounds on both ends of the court.
This game will not be easy, but if the Nuggets will simply compete for 48 minutes I'll take any scoreboard result and be satisfied.
Prediction: Spurs 100, Nuggets 87