Gameday Preview: Spurs vs. Nuggets

SAN ANTONIO SPURS (34-6) vs. DENVER NUGGETS (23-16)
TEAM LEADERS

Points Rebounds Assists
SPURS Manu Ginobili 18.9 Tim Duncan 9.3 Tony Parker 7.0
NUGGETS Carmelo Anthony 23.5 Carmelo Anthony 8.2 Chauncey Billups 5.3

Nuggets_logo

Amidst the trade rumors surrounding two of their star players, Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, the Denver Nuggets (23-16) have put together an impressive winning streak in the last week, routing their last three opponents by an average of 30 points.

The San Antonio Spurs (34-6) will look to win their 15th consecutive home game tonight when they meet the Nuggets at the AT&T Center.

San Antonio won both meetings with Denver last month, and while rumors are heating up that the Nuggets could deal Anthony and Billups to New Jersey this week, the Spurs were preparing as if both would be playing.

The Spurs will try to extend their winning streak to six games. They opened a four-game homestand with a 101-89 victory over Dallas last Friday, as Tim Duncan finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds in 24 minutes while DeJuan Blair and Tony Parker each scored 18 points.

San Antonio’s home winning streak is its longest since a 16-game run from December 11, 2004 to February 23, 2005, while their 40-game start is the best in franchise history and the best for any NBA team since Detroit went 35-5 to open the 2005-06 season.

The Nuggets may have their best chance to get a win against the Spurs after not being at full strength in the previous two meetings. Anthony missed a 109-103 loss December 22 following the death of his sister, while Billups was out with a wrist injury in a 113-112 defeat last December 16. 

Denver comes in after closing a four-game homestand with blowout victories over Phoenix, Miami and Cleveland. Anthony had 12 points and nine rebounds in a 127-99 win over the Cavaliers last Saturday.

The Nuggets are 5-12 on the road but they’ve won three of their last four games at San Antonio including both visits last season.


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. Parker, Richard Jefferson and Ginobil has to keep attacking the basket and George Hill and Gary Neal will have to provide the spark from the Spurs’ bench.

Defense
– Contain Anthony, Billups, J.R. Smith and Aaron Affalo on the offensive end, control the boards and keep up with the Nuggets’ running game.

NUGGETS:

Offense — They have seven players averaging in double figures and have a good mix of inside and outside game with Anthony, Harrington, Affalo, Nene, Martin, J.R. Smith and Billups.

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), Matt Bonner – knee (day-to-day)

Nuggets — Ty Lawson – sprained left ankle (day-to-day), Chris Andersen – knee (day-to-day), Kenyon Martin – knee (game time decision).


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

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