Well, that wasn't very pleasant. After reeling off 11 straight W's, Pop decided that there was far too much talk of the Spurs in the national media and it was time to put an end to all of that. Getting whipped by 40 in Portland two nights ago should pretty much take care of that. Now the Spurs will wrap up the Rodeo Road Trip in beautiful Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets started off the season like their pants were on fire, but have since cooled off going 3-7 in their last 10 games. The question becomes can the Spurs start up a new winning streak or will the Nuggets get back to their winning ways in the Mile High City?
Denver is good at scoring. This should come at no surprise to anyone who remotely pays attention. The kids in the Rockies know how to put the biscuit in the basket; they lead the NBA in points per game at 103.8, they are 2nd in the NBA in assists per game at 22.8 and they rebound fairly well getting 43.1 boards good enough for 10th in the Association. So what is their weakness? What is their great flaw? That's right, defense. Denver allows the 29th most points per game at 100.8. Not good, in case you were wondering. They aren't terrible in defensive rating, but the points allowed is none to good.
The Spurs offense should be able to take advantage of the swiss cheese like substance they call defense in Denver, assuming Matt Bonner isn't the go-to-guy tonight. However, they will win or lose the game on how well they can play on defense. The debacle that went down in the Rose City two nights ago is not encouraging from the defensive perspective and will, no doubt, skew all Spurs stats in the wrong direction. That said, when you're missing your defensive anchor, a.k.a. the GOATPUFF, things tend to get out of hand. I think things will get back to some sibilance of normalcy with the return of Duncan to the lineup.
Denver is the new coming of 7 seconds or less, ok that's a slight exaggeration. They lead the NBA in pace with an average of 95.3 possessions per game. The Nuggets are 5th in offensive rating and 17th in defensive rating, which is really just about average. Do you get the picture yet? Lawson, Gallinari and Co. are going to try to run the ragged Spurs out of the building. There's just one problem with that. The Nuggets are on the back end of a SEGABABA and might be a little gassed themselves. Duncan and Parker should be well rested. Hopefully, that bodes well for the silver and black. One word of caution, the Nuggets bench is pretty solid. The Spurs bench will need to hold their own in that match up.
I foresee a lackluster proformance from the Nuggets after last nights game against Lob City. Which will probably be a more highly anticipated match up than tonights affair. I think you'll see San Antonio's stars lead the upset role players in a vintage win in Colorado. The only thing that would make a win there any sweeter is if Manu was there to take a charge as the clock expired. The Spurs have one other thing in their favor tonight, our very own CapHill will be (or at least better be) at the game tonight. Since she's awesome we know that she'll bring the good mojo with her for the boys from South Texas.
On to your song of the day:
*Disclaimer: Lineups may change on the whim, fancy, impulse, inclination, notion, quirk, vagary, amusement or general grouchiness of one Gregg Popovich.
Game Prediction: I see the Spurs winning by 7 in a game that is not as close as the score indicates.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area. Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate.