The Denver Nuggets are returning from a miserable road trip that saw them go 1-4 and be eliminated from NBA Cup competition. They now get a brief respite with a game at home against the San Antonio Spurs. It has not been a good year thus far for San Antonio as they’ve won just three games. Despite gaining a generational talent over the summer in first overall pick Victor Wembanyama, the Spurs appear to still be very far away from becoming a playoff competitor. They come to Denver riding an eleven game losing streak. There’s just not enough talent around Wemby as San Antonio has gone all in on rebuilding. No doubt they have an extremely bright future with their 7’4″ crazy skilled and athletic center slash point guard slash wing, but for now they might just be the thing to cure what ails the stumbling Nuggets.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (10-6) vs San Antonio Spurs (3-13)

When: 6:00 PM MST

Where: The Can. Denver, CO.

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy….unless it’s the romanticized 18th century type. Altitude TV where available (Altitude TV is available on DirecTV, DirecTV Stream & Fubo TV). NBA League pass for those not in the Nuggets market. Altitude Radio 92.5FM. Claim to be Galzork, lord of the lizard people who live under DIA and supreme ruler of all things including Ball Arena.

Rival Blog: Pounding The Rock

The Matchup

Position Nuggets Spurs Advantage
PG Reggie Jackson Malaki Branham Even
SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Keldon Johnson Nuggets
SF Michael Porter Jr. Jeremy Sochan Nuggets
PF Aaron Gordon Victor Wembanyama Even
C Nikola Jokic Zach Collins Nuggets
Bench Christian Braun, Justin Holiday, Zeke Nnaji, Jalen Pickett Doug McDermott, Cedi Osman, Devin Vassell, Tre Jones, Charles Bassey Even

Injury Report: Nikola Jokic – probable (back), Aaron Gordon – probable (heel), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – probable (ankle), Reggie Jackson – probable (back), Jamal Murray – out (hamstring), Vlatko Cancar – out (back); Dominick Barlow – out (G-League), Charles Bediako – out (G-League), Sidy Cissoko – out (G-League), Sir’Jabari Rice – out (G-League), Blake Wesley – out (G-League).

The Three Things

The key matchup: Aaron Gordon vs Victor Wembanyama

November 24, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) dunks the basketball against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) and guard Klay Thompson (11) during the first quarter at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It will be the Nuggets first taste of the next greatest thing in basketball. After all the hype, Wemby time is finally here. It’s important to remember Victor is still a nineteen year old rookie. Despite all his skill, athleticism and physical prowess he’s still adjusting to the NBA game and predictably the start to his NBA career has had its ups and downs. Make no mistake though, he presents a tall task for the Nuggets defensively and I’m betting that Aaron Gordon gets the call. AG has the best combination of size and athleticism to defend Wembanyama but his major weakness will be the eight inches he gives up in height. It will likely end up as a team effort to try and slow down the Spurs young star as well. On offense Denver will have to be fearless when attacking the lane as Wemby is no doubt going to roam with Gordon shooting sub 30% from three.

The thing to remember: The first game back from a long road trip is always tough

The five game road trip Denver just completed is tied for the longest of the season. Just because they are back home though don’t expect the team to be firing on all cylinders. There’s a natural human reaction to ease up mentally once you finally get back to sleeping in your own bed and shooting in your own gym and too many times that ends up biting a team come game time. The Nuggets aren’t in a position to be taking anyone lightly right now, even the 3-13 Spurs. This game is going to be a test of their professionalism and whether they are able to overcome the challenges they’ve faced with the schedule, injuries, youth and everything else that’s led to them losing five of their last seven games.

The thing to bet: Aaron Gordon over 0.5 blocks (-110)

I mean why not? Maybe there’s not a ton of rhyme or reason here but wouldn’t be awesome to see AG stuff Wemby? More than just the fan in me wanting to see it though I think there’s plenty of reason to believe we’ll see Gordon at maximum energy tonight. He’s coming off his worst game as a Denver Nugget and I expect him to be looking to wash that bad taste out of his mouth with a bounce back game. A great game for Gordon means high energy plays on both ends of the court so it may not even be Wemby who he gets a swat on as I imagine weakside help and chase down block opportunities will be available as well.