The matchup of the night between the San Antonio Spurs and Denver Nuggets tonight will be between Kawhi Leonard and Wilson Chandler.
Wilson Chandler has been stepping in for the injured Danilo Gallinari and has been looking to keep the momentum Denver has had this season intact. He had a great game against the Houston Rockets on Saturday with 21 points (9-15 FG shooting) and 6 rebounds. Kawhi Leonard will be in charge of taming Chandler's production, who'll look to bring energy to the starting unit of the Nuggets. They're also both defensive minded forwards, so this matchup will be huge on both ends of the court.
What Leonard must do on offense:
Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari are polar opposites of each other when it comes to mindsets. While Gallinari is a taller more offensive versatile player, Chandler is a more balanced player with the scale tipping to the defensive end. Leonard won't have as many open looks as he did against Gallinari, but his constant movement will give the Nuggets some trouble. With Chandler starting, it'll hurt the Nuggets' depth and that'll give Leonard an advantage early and late in the game. Leonard has been active this season rebounding the ball and leading the break when he's had the opportunity, which will give Chandler trouble with using up his energy. If Leonard can shoot the ball well and have Wilson Chandler's attention all night, Chandler will likely fade late in the game due to San Antonio's depth in the G-F positions.
What Leonard must do on defense:
He has to force Chandler to beat them with his jump shot. Wilson Chandler hasn't cracked 100 attempts on any spot on the floor this season, which makes him a perfect target for the Spurs' defense. Chandler is shooting 53% (48-91) from the restricted area and 45% (18-40) from the paint. Those are statistics that'll tell you that he's not much of a confident jump shooter and Leonard must take advantage of that. Gallinari brought some defensive mismatches in Denver's favor with his height at the small forward position and his speed/quickness if a team decided to guard him with a power forward. Now with Leonard likely forcing Chandler to shoot, he can help out on the other players that Denver puts on the court in double team situations.