Apr 10, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) with the ball during the first half against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Quentin Haynesberg: Spurs-Nuggets Preview
The San Antonio Spurs travel to Denver to face Wilson Chandler and the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets are 0-2 to start the season, with a home loss already on the record. The Spurs are 2-1 so far, and 1-1 on the road. The Nuggets are have plenty of new faces, from head coach Brian Shaw, to starting forward J.J. Hickson, so losses were expected. While incorporating different players, the Nuggets have also dealt with injury, Danilo Gallinari is out recovering from ACL surgery, Wilson Chandler has hamstring trouble, and Kenneth Faried has dealt with a back injury. For the Spurs, Tim Duncan is back from an injury, and between he and Tiago Splitter, the Spurs should have zero problems working against the vaunted frontcourt of JaVale McGee and Anthony Randolph.
The backcourt, however, is an interesting tale. Ty Lawson vs. Tony Parker, while a win for the Spurs, is an intriguing matchup, thanks to Lawson’s speed and ability to get to the basket. While Chandler is out, Denver has allowed Andre Miller, Nate Robinson, and Randy Foye to soak up most of those minutes. Evan Fournier is a personal favorite of mine, and while San Antonio does have the players to combat them in Danny Green, Marco Belineli, and Kawhi Leonard, but overall, it will be an interesting matchup nonetheless as Denver’s cast of wings, while small in stature, love to score the basketball.
Prediction: Spurs 101, Nuggets 85. The Spurs are the healthier and better team at the moment, and while Denver is second in rebounds per game, they aren’t a great defensive team around the rim. Having Duncan and Splitter should allow San Antonio to get a ton of offensive rebounds, and take advantage of Denver’s weaknesses defensively.