The 2012-13 Denver Nuggets are in the record books. Now they’re aiming for a high seed and homecourt advantage in the Western Conference playoffs.
Wilson Chandler had a game-high 29 points, Corey Brewer came off the bench to score 28 and the Nuggets overcame a slow start to beat the San Antonio Spurs 96-86 on Wednesday night.
Andre Iguodala had a triple-double with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for the Nuggets (54-24), who set a franchise record with their 21st straight home win. The Nuggets also tied the franchise record for home wins (36) and overall wins (54) with four games left. They are sitting third in the Western Conference and have a chance to clinch the No. 3 seed by winning out. Tim Duncan and Gary Neal had 17 points apiece for the Spurs (57-21), who fell into a tie with Oklahoma City for the best record in the West.
After starting off the game 12-0, the San Antonio Spurs look as if they were going to walk away with the win and also end the 20 game (now 21 game winning streak) streak that the Nuggets have at home. According to Popovich, it was nothing that the Spurs were doing different that helped them hold the Nuggets to just 11 points in the first half, “they could not hit shots” is what he stated to Dave Pasch after a timeout.
Corey Brewer and Wilson Chandler warmed up and took over the game. Spurs had no answers.
TURNING POINT: The game was close heading into the fourth, but with Duncan on the bench and Tony Parker not playing, the Nuggets took control. Chandler hit two free throws and a 3-pointer, while Iguodala and JaVale McGee had a steal and dunk each as Denver started the period on a 12-0 run to take an 82-63 lead.
HOT: Corey Brewer has really stepped his game up as he now has more minutes with the injury to Danilo Galinari. He has scored 20 or more points in each game and has provided a spark defensively with his speed and quick hands.
NOT: Both teams were not great offensively in the first half. Spurs went on a run then quickly turned into the Nuggets as they could not hit a shot. One stretch in time, the Spurs went 4-for-24 from the field and this gave the Nuggets a chance to get back in the game.
UP NEXT: For the Spurs, Friday vs. Sacramento, Sunday @ L.A. Lakers, Monday @ Golden State.
PG Nando De Colo | 2 points, 1-of-2 shooting, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 21 minutes
De Colo got the start for the injury Tony Parker and as hard as it is to see him in the game and knowing that the Spurs are not going to get much scoring from the point guard position is hard. Against the Nuggets, De Colo shot the ball just twice, he was not looking for his shot it seemed. He was pitted up against the Nuggets Andre Miller. Miller is the bigger of the two and uses his body well and is quicker.
I would of liked to see him be more aggressive on the offensive end of the floor.
SG Danny Green | 10 points, 5-of-11 shooting, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 24 minutes
With Ginobili, Parker and Jackson out Green is going to need to find a way to score more. He is a great three point shooter but at times I feel that he depends to much on trying to get the ball from three than penetrating into the lane. Wednesday night, he had a few chances of taking the ball to the rim but relied on a jump shot. He needs to take it into the lane against the big boys and draw some fouls and head to the line to get some points. He has not been playing the way that many fans are looking for.
He held Andre Iquodala to 12 points on the night. The issue is not with Green’s defense but with his offense. He is always around the ball on the defensive end. My worries is his offensive game. Here is to hoping he will break out in the playoffs.
SF Kawhi Leonard | 8 points, 4-of-10 shooting, 11 rebounds, 3 steals, 29 minutes
Leonard was in a dog fight tonight as he was pitted up against Wilson Chandler who completely ate him for lunch. Chandler was on Wednesday night and could not seem to be stopped. He finished with 29 points. Leonard seemed to look more for his jumper than being the aggressor that he has been taking the ball to the rim. He has been working on his jumper but I feel that he is lethal when he attacks the rim. He didn’t do much of that this game.
He continued to hit the boards hard as he grabbed 11 rebounds.
PF Tim Duncan | 17 points, 7-of-14 shooting, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 26 minutes
Duncan logged just 26 minutes. He started off the game strong in the first quarter as at one point he was outscoring the whole Nuggets team. He had 10 early in the first quarter and I for one thought he was headed towards a career night. Once the Spurs came back down to earth and their shots were not falling, Duncan seemed to spend most of his time on the bench. He looked to go to his jumper in the first quarter and with a few of them falling, things looked pretty promising. With the inside presence that the Nuggets had with McGee, Duncan looked to draw him out of the paint and to the outside to try and beat him to the rim, that is hard to do with the length of McGee.
C Tiago Splitter | 10 points, 4-of-9 shooting, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 22 minutes
One play that stuck out to me from Splitter is when he went baseline on a post move and slammed the ball home. This is what I would like to see more from him. He depends to much on the reverse layup and teams now are seeing that as his go to move and there is someone always waiting there for him to detour his shot.
Bench | 39 points, 14-of-41 shooting, 11 assists, 21 rebounds
Gary Neal and DeJuan Blair paced the bench with 17 and 12 respectively. Neal seeming to be out of his shooting slump went 6-of-15 from the floor (3-of-8 3PT). Blair added 12 and 5 rebounds. Outside of these two, there were know other bench player that showed any sense of urgency. Corey Joseph and Patty Mills both shot 1-of-7 from the floor. Matt Bonner put up a big zero in the scoring column as well.