Wednesday’s game against the Nuggets began one of the toughest stretches the Spurs will face all year, with the next 3 games coming against top tier teams: The Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, and Memphis Grizzlies.
The Spurs were lead to a close win by Tim Duncan, who had 23 points on 9-18 shooting, and collected 14 rebounds and 5 blocks (FIVE BLOCKS!!!) on the night. Tony Parker was also a key factor, scoring 18 points on 16 shots. Parker also racked up 11 assists, though he also had 5 TOs.
Maybe the biggest x-factor for San Antonio in the win was Danny Green, who had 20 points, with his only field goals coming from beyond the arc. Green went 6-8 from three point range, with all of them coming in the first half, keeping the Spurs close as the Nuggets kept pouring it on.
JaVale McGee was the high-scorer for Denver, going 10-11 from the floor on his way to 21 points, all of them coming at the rim. McGee also had 11 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. The rest of the Nuggets scoring was fairly well balanced out, with 5 other players in double-digit scoring. Wilson Chandler had 15, Andre Miller scored 14, Danillo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried both had 12, and Andre Igoudala chipped in 10.
One stat that’s interesting is that the Nuggets had zero help from the three point line. All of their points came inside the arc, as they created turnovers for fast-break opportunities, and relied on penetration to get the ball inside the paint. The Spurs had less shot attempts, but they were able to get hot from three point land (See: Danny Green), and they hit 10-15 from there.
The game came down to the wire, as the Nuggets had a chance to win late, down 1 point with about 10 seconds left. They tried to run pick-and-roll with Gallinari and McGee, but the Spurs defended it perfectly. Denver ended up with a broken play, and gave the ball to Andre Miller on the right wing with about 3 seconds left. He was able to bully himself into the paint, but he threw up a difficult runner which missed, giving the Spurs a win.
The next game for San Antonio is on Friday, March 29, against the Los Angeles Clippers at 8:30 PM ET.