The San Antonio Spurs (65-13) look to bounce back against the Denver Nuggets (32-47) tonight following their loss to the Golden State Warriors last night in Oakland.
In an expected move for the second game of a back-to-back, Gregg Popovich has opted to rest numerous players on his roster.
Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, and LaMarcus Aldridge have been ruled out, along with Boris Diaw, who’s still nursing a sore right adductor.
The Spurs are now mathematically locked into the 2nd seed in the Western Conference, and will likely use this game as a light tune-up before their rematch against the Warriors Sunday in San Antonio.
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The Nuggets are eliminated from playoff contention, and their players are competing mainly for pride at this point of the season.
Leading scorer Danilo Galinari has been ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury.
Highly-anticipated rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay has averaged over 12 points and 5 assists per game for the Nuggets, but is shooting a dismal 35.5% from the field. Many great point guards from Jason Kidd to Derek Rose came into the league with below average jumpers, but improved them over time thanks to practice and solid coaching.
Kenneth Faried has continued to provide the Nuggets with consistent spark, averaging over 12 points per game along with almost 9 rebounds per game. His athleticism makes him a key component of Denver’s attack. Opposing teams need to neutralize him early or risk having his high-flying antics energize the rest of his team.
The high altitude in Denver can make the Pepsi Center a difficult place for opponents to play. More talented Nuggets teams in the past have put up astounding home records, but this rebuilding season hasn’t produced as impressive of results at home.