With games against the Lakers and Thunder coming up next, getting a win against the Spurs tonight would go a long ways towards helping the Nuggets maintain their current seeding in the playoff race.
Who: Denver Nuggets (42-20) at San Antonio Spurs (35-29)
When: 6:30 PM MST
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
How to watch/listen: Altitude TV, AltitudeNOW.com, the AltitudeNOW app and Altitude Radio 92.5 FM
Rival blog: Pounding the Rock
|PG||Jamal Murray||Derrick White||Nuggets|
|SG||Gary Harris||Bryn Forbes||Nuggets|
|SF||Will Barton||DeMar DeRozan||Spurs|
|PF||Paul Millsap||LaMarcus Aldridge||Spurs|
|C||Nikola Jokic||Jakob Poeltl||Nuggets|
|BENCH||Monte Morris, Isaiah Thomas, Malik Beasley, Torrey Craig, Juancho Hernangomez, Mason Plumlee, Jarred Vanderbilt||Rudy Gay, Davis Bertans, Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli||Spurs|
Three things to watch
What does Isaiah Thomas do? The former Lakers, Cavs, Celtics, Suns, Kings (you get the point) guard has been up and mostly down since returning to the court. While he has shown some ability to operate the pick and roll, he was terrible against the Pelicans, putting up fourteen shots in sixteen minutes. If he’s just going to be the world’s shortest gunner while he’s on the court, Nuggets fans already have seen Earl Boykins on their roster, and they moved on from him a long time ago. Thomas has the talent to be on the court for the Nuggets in the regular season, but he needs to be more of a playmaker and not just a shot taker. If he’s trying to earn a big contract by scoring a ton of points, he needs to be out of the rotation.
Bertans watch. Oh God, another matchup against Bertans. The Spurs found another Euro that can shoot 50-percent from deep against the Nuggets, and he has the ability to swing the game for the Spurs. The Nuggets are going to have to be nearly perfect against the Spurs bench lineup, otherwise they’re gonna get killed in the second quarter and at the end of the third.
Derrick White breakout season. White has emerged as a reliable rotation piece for the Spurs this season, showing the quickness, size, and all-around game that made him an attractive NBA prospect. The Nuggets starting guards need to make sure to limit him in transition, and force him to score from the perimeter. His ability to get to the rim makes him hard to guard, and the Nuggets can’t risk getting Jokic in foul trouble to try to prevent easy baskets.
Read this from Adam Mares on the Nuggets opening day roster finally being ready to go.