The last meeting between the San Antonio Spurs and the Denver Nuggets ended in a thrilling fashion, with Tim Duncan putting in the game winner as he hit a jumper while he was fouled. San Antonio escaped with a one point victory.
There were many areas in this game that the Nuggets were so good at that the Spurs cannot make the same mistake this time around.
The Denver Nuggets are a young powerful team that can surely put up some points as well as make you pay for not taking advantage of opportunities that they may give you.
The Nuggets out-rebounded, out passed and simply outplayed the Spurs back on that March 27th meeting. One player that came out and gave the Nuggets the boost they needed was JaVale McGee.
Check out his stat line from that game: Twenty-five points, eleven rebounds, 3 blocked shots, 10-of-11 shooting from the floor, 25 minutes of play. He was the factor.
It was one final play from the Spurs that catapulted them to the win. I came to the conclusion that San Antonio should of lost that game. They could not run with the Nuggets. They could not counter with their bench play.
The way I see it, the Spurs are going to have to turn their attention and get help from other areas in this game in order for them to knock off the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.
The Pepsi Center this season has proven to be a tough place for opponents to win in. The Denver Nuggets are 35-3. They have won 20 consecutive home games.
For San Antonio, they have won four of their last six trips to the Pepsi Center. The Denver Nuggets this season have a record of 22-1 against the Western Conference. For San Antonio to continue their success at the Pepsi Center, they are going to have to do the following:
- Ball Movement. With Tony Parker being sidelined with an injury, there are times when the ball movement is not there. Players try and create on their own. This is not Spurs basketball. San Antonio has to do what has gave them much success in years and that is ball movement. When they shy away from that, they play in the hands of their opponents.
- Bench Play. With Manu Ginobili, Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw and Tony Parker all out, the bench will have to produce at a higher level than they did back on March 27th. They were outscored 59 to 18 (McGee had 21). I look for Gary Neal to have a good game off of the bench. Though he does get trigger happy and fires at will, he needs to let the game come to him, not force shots.
- Transition D. The Nuggets like to run. They have the athleticism to make you pay when you turn the ball over, or even on long rebounds. San Antonio has to do a good job with boxing out and making sure the transition defense is there. Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green (besides Parker are quick to get down the floor) will need to do a good job with getting back and stopping the fast breaks.
- Start Strong, Finish Strong. There have been times when the Spurs will start the game off strong and look good but then they fizzle out when they need to keep going. Going back to that game on March 27th, San Antonio struggled through 4-of-14 shooting.
With Tony Parker still out with an injury, San Antonio has not taken care of the ball. As stated, Nuggets like to run, Spurs cannot give them easy opportunities.