Quick take: Spurs (19-7) vs. Nuggets (13-12)
Nov 17, 2012; San Antonio, TX, USA; Denver Nuggets center Kosta Koufos (41) drives to the basket as San Antonio Spurs forward Stephen Jackson (left) and Tim Duncan (right) defend during the first half at the AT
The Spurs will win if: They convert on their attempts at the rim.
Denver allows 27 attempts at the rim per game, the fourth highest volume in the league. Though their shot blockers limit the damage, San Antonio is the rare team that can move the defense enough to neutralize Denver’s advantage.
The Spurs will lose if: The Spurs allowed 15 offensive rebounds against Oklahoma City, leading to 15 second chance points. The Thunder, a below-average offensive rebounding team, don’t crash the offensive glass nearly as well as Denver, the league’s leader in offensive rebounding percentage.
Nearly a third of their misses (32.9 percent) are corralled, coming out to 13.9 boards per game. They come at teams in waves, too; Timofey Mogov, Kenneth Faried, JaVale McGee and Kosta Koufos each grab more than 10 percent of their teammates’ misses.
They have regressed on 3-point shooting this season, making offensive boards a more important part of their offensive equation.
X-Factor: Koufos’ modest per-game averages (seven points and six rebound) don’t quite convey how important he is to the Nuggets.
Koufos, starting all but one game this season, is fourth in total rebounding percentage and second in block percentage on Denver. You know what you’re going to get with Koufos: sporadic shot attempts, mostly at the rim, rebounding and rim protection.
And that has been enough for Denver. In the 21.6 minutes per game he averages, Denver is 15.5 points per 100 possessions better according to NBA.com/Stats. With rebounding