Gameday Preview: Spurs vs. Nuggets

SAN ANTONIO SPURS (24-3) vs. DENVER NUGGETS (16-10)
TEAM LEADERS

Points Rebounds Assists
SPURS Manu Ginobili 19.7 Tim Duncan 9.7 Tony Parker 7.1
NUGGETS Carmelo Anthony 24.0 Carmelo Anthony 8.3 Chauncey Billups 5.4

Nuggets_logo

The San Antonio Spurs will look to push their winning streak to double-digits for the second time this season when they host the Denver Nuggets at the AT&T Center tonight as they conclude a 3-game homestand.

During their first game, Carmelo Anthony made a shot at the buzzer but it was ruled off for an offensive foul when Manu Ginobili stepped in front to draw the charge. Coach George Karl’s public comments about the play led to a $25,000 fine from the NBA. The Spurs won that game 113-112.

The Nuggets might have a better shot at ending San Antonio’s winning streak this time as they expect some key players returning to the lineup. Chauncey Billups, Chris Andersen and Kenyon Martin could play when the Nuggets gun for their second straight win.

The Spurs (24-3) knocked off a short-handed Phoenix Suns team 118-110 on Monday, to extend their winning streak to nine games. Tim Duncan had 20 points and 15 rebounds in that game. He is averaging just 14.1 points and 9.7 rebounds this season but has averaged 20.3 points and 13.6 rebounds over the last three games.

The Spurs haven’t had two winning streaks of at least 10 games in a season since 2003-2004, when they had a 13-game and an 11-game winning streaks.

The Nuggets (16-10) bounced back from the loss to the Spurs with a 115-113 win over Minnesota last Saturday. Anthony had 24 points and a key late block while Lawson added 23 points and nine assists to help the Nuggets get the win.

Lawson has started the last three games in place of Billups and averaged 18.0 points and 8.0 assists.

San Antonio’s longest win streak of the season was a 12-game run from Nov. 1-24.

KEYS TO THE GAME

SPURS:

Offense — It will be key for Duncan to establish his inside game early to loosen up the pressure on the Spurs’ outside shooters. Tony Parker, Richard Jefferson and Ginobil has to keep attacking the basket and Gary Neal and Matt Bonner will have to pick up the slack for the Spurs’ bench. 

Defense
– Contain Anthony on the offensive end, control the boards and keep up with the Nuggets’ running game.

NUGGETS:

Offense — They are currently third in the league in scoring and have seven players averaging in double digits. They have a good mix of inside and outside game with Anthony, Nene, Martin, J.R. Smith and Ty Lawson plus Chauncey is back as the team’s starting point guard.

Defense — Defend the Spurs’ drive and kick game, contain Duncan on the inside. Limit Ginobili, Parker and Jefferson’s dribble penetrations and be wary of the Spurs’ outside shooters.

INJURIES

Spurs — James Anderson – stress fracture (out), George Hill – toe (day-to-day)

Nuggets — Chris Andersen – back (game time decision) , Kenyon Martin – knee (game time decision)

PREDICTION: The Nuggets are definitely thinking payback as they enter this game and will really try to steal one from San Antonio.
However, the Spurs are playing some of their best basketball right now and are equally determined to extend their winning streak to 10 games. Expect another close game with the Spurs winning it, 111-108.

Follow Robby Lim on Twitter @RobbyLim21
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