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Game Preview #46: Denver Nuggets @ San Antonio Spurs

We got ourselves a matinée today, on national television. Neither of those things are normally good signs for the silver and black. Can the Spurs overcome those kind of odds to get an important win against a (very) good team? Or will they fold like they did in their previous meeting with Denver? It would be really nice to salvage a .500 homestand and head into the Rodeo Road Trip™ on a 3-game win streak.

Seriously, a Spurs win today will make my upcoming road trip infinitely more enjoyable. Especially since I have to wake up early(before noon) on my damn vacation to catch the start of this game. I'm sure CapHill would really, really enjoy a win against her favorite NBA coach today, too.

You know who needs to have a big game for us to win tonight this morning?


That's right, the Beast needs to be extra-beastly today.

Denver Nuggets @ San Antonio Spurs
Where: AT&T Center - San Antonio, TX
When: January 31, 2010; 12:00 PM Spurs time
Watch: ABC


How They Stack Up
19-9 Home 21-3
8-9 Road 10-12
Offense 107.0
96.0 Defense 101.7
47.5 FG% 46.8
3-pt% 37.5
FT% 78.1
Rebounds 41.5
TOs 14.5
5-5 Last 10 8-2
Won 2
Streak Lost 1
2nd, Southwest Position 1st, Northwest

Country/Time Zone Game Time
Argentina 3:00 PM
West Coast
10:00 AM
Philippines 2:00 AM
Central Europe 7:00 PM
Palestine/Egypt 8:00PM
East Coast 1:00 PM
Surprisingly Balmy
11:00 AM
Perth, AUS 2:00 AM
Tokyo, JP 3:00 AM
Sydney, AUS 4:00 AM



George Hill

Point Guard

George has been kicking some ass since being put in the starting lineup, but Billups is the guy that makes the Nuggets go. Stats don't measure what he brings to this Denver team, unless you're talking about their win-loss record since his arrival. However, George could also have more of an impact on this game than meets the eye - with his defense. You know what they say, if you want to kill a snake, cut off the head.

Also, Tony needs to dominate Fisher.

Advantage: Nuggets

Chauncey Billups
Head of the snake


Manu Ginobili

Shooting Guard

Bogans probably gets the start, and he can't afford to let Afflalo out of his sights. On the other end, Afflalo will probably be assigned to guard our $14M small forward at first, then switch to Manu once he enters the game.

Advantage: Spurs

Arron Afflalo


Richard Jefferson
$14 Million Man

Small Forward

I don't feel the need to explain the white box, but I will say that RJ's defensive efforts as of late have not gone unnoticed. His reward? A matchup against the league's leading scorer. Perhaps it is small consolation that Melo's missed a few games with an ankle injury, but he is expected to play today. Make him work for it, Rage.

Advantage: Nuggets

Carmelo Anthony
30 PPG


Tim Duncan
MVP candidate

Power Forward

Timmeh wins, end of story.

Advantage: Spurs

Kenyon Martin
Hot Lips


Antonio McDyess


Dice has been playing well over the past 3 games, but he's physically outmatched here today. However, the mismatch here isn't as bad as Timmeh's advantage over K-Mart, and the bench should provide a major boost for the Spurs at this position(see below) as well.

Advantage: Nuggets

Brazil's other big man


DeJuan Blair
Destroyer of Limbs

Bench & Role Players

Smith and Ty Lawson are incredibly dangerous... on offense. But the BAM still packs more punch than any other bench unit in the league, even with Hill starting. DeJuan is a matchup nightmare for the Nuggets, and I expect him to be ready to play some very productive minutes.

Advantage: Spurs

JR Smith
"Thuggets" Personified


Gregg Popovich


I'll let CapHill explain why Pop gets the nod.

Advantage: Spurs

George Karl
Assistant to Chauncey
images via


Other Factors



Melo's back for them, but we're at home.

Advantage: Tied


The Spurs have won 2 games in a row against good teams. Denver got blown out by the Thunder on Friday night.

Advantage: Spurs


Because I said so, damn it.

Keys To The Game

  • Defense - Denver's been better than us at scoring points all season long. If we can't get stops, we lose... it's really that simple. But simple and easy are two different things - The Nuggets get to the line more than any team in the league, and this means that our young guys are going to have to be smart about their decisions on the defensive end.
  • Ball and Player Movement - The Spurs are a much better team when they confuse the hell out of opposing defenses. The two-man game isn't the kind of movement I'm talking about here... I'm talking multiple cutters, misdirection and crazy double screens. Make them work on the defensive end, and stopping them will be a bit easier.

Strength of Schedule

Both teams are coming off a day of rest after playing Friday night. But, the Moonmen are playing a SEGABABA tomorrow, while the Spurs next game isn't until Wednesday night's rodeo trip opener at Sacramento.

Last Time They Met

The Spurs lost in their first meeting with Denver back in December, after giving up a lead they had held all game in the fourth quarter. A repeat of that performance would be most unwelcome.

Some Other Reading


Denver Stiffs - This is the Nuggets' SBN home. There's some good stuff here, and you can probably expect a few of them to wander over here.
Roundball Mining Company - The Denver TrueHoop affiliate. Looks like pretty good stuff, but I didn't have time to read up, since this game is going to be so early.


48 Minutes of Hell: The best TrueHoop team blog is now even better, after adding two new writers. Congrats to Jesse and Andrew, who are already doing good work.
Project Spurs: Check out their podcast recaps of the game, plus the well-written articles.

Where to Tune In


This game will be aired nationwide on ABC. If you have cable or satellite, you'll have to look up your individual channel. And of course, there's always League Pass for the haves. For the have nots, read on.


I'm not aware of anywhere that this game will be streaming online, unless ESPN360 is going to carry it(not likely).

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. In fact, nobody can stop you from googling "atdhe". You can also shoot an email to for more assistance.

NBA League Pass audio is still free this year, so check it out.


If you're in the San Antonio area and aren't near a TV, tune in to WOAI (1200 AM).