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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs Denver Nuggets

Doug Pensinger

San Antonio Spurs @ Denver Nuggets

AT&T Center
11/17/12, 7:30pm Spurs Time

The San Antonio Spurs take on Denver Nuggets 7:30 pm CT at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. Both teams are coming off disappointing losses against premier teams. Denver dropped a close game against the Miami Heat and San Antonio lost to the undefeated Knicks.

There is a taste of irony in this portion of the schedule. Following the New York Knicks the Spurs play the Denver Nuggets. These are two teams that fundamentally changed each other. I am going to stop there because talking about the Melo trade is more played out than Youtube videos satirizing the song "Somebody that I Used to Know". Looking at this Denver team is like looking into one of those funhouse mirrors. The reflection looks like the Spurs, but it is all twisted and perverse. Here are the ways these two teams resemble each other, and three reasons why those similarities are totally meaningless because these are two different teams.

Ways the Nuggets and the Spurs resemble each other:

1.) Both teams rock the draft.

I don’t have to explain this for the Spurs. We know this. Manu Ginobili was chosen 57th in a relatively weak draft.(Ok I like to say that any chance I get. No more bloating I swear.) The Nuggets have been catching fire as of late as well. Ty Lawson was selected at number 18 and he is arguably their franchise player. Kenneth Faried was chosen at number 22, and he just finished pulling in the most rebounds in collegiate (Division 1) history. The selection of Faried qualifies as a Spurs like coup. He was chosen in what was supposed to be a super weak draft. (The jury is still out on that one.) And instead of gradually being an NBA caliber player, he came out swinging. And in his sophomore year he is putting up double-doubles on a consistent basis. The other heavy rotation players on the Nugs were not drafted, which leads us to our next point.

2.) Both teams trade like Gordon Gekko.

This is beyond obvious in respect to the Spurs. Kawhi alone is an example of how the Spurs trade and draft at an expert level. With the Nugs well… the Melo trade was a genius move. They traded one excellent player for like 50 potential starters.(citation needed) That being said, the trade that is most impressive is the Iggy trade. Did they really trade Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington for Andre "All-Star" Iguodala? Sweet Caroline, that smells like the Spurs.

3.) Both teams are deeper than the Mariana Trench.

The bench is where the Spurs bake the bread. And by bread I mean points. And by bake I mean make. Our bench is so good that other team’s starters have to play whilst our starting five drink martinis and play Jenga. This has been the case for years. The Nugs take a similar approach. Most players don’t average more than 20 minutes. Guys like JaVale McGee are playing off the bench, and he would be a certain starter on most teams. In their game against the Utah Jazz, Kosta Koufos was the stat leader. Hey man stop that, only the Spurs are supposed to do stuff like that.

Ways that the Spurs and the Nuggets look totally different:

1.) Tim Duncan does not play for the Nuggets.

If you interpret that sentence literally, you can say this for any team that is not the Spurs. But what I mean is that the Nugs don’t have someone who plays the "Timmeh role" on offense. When Timmeh is on the floor, the offense revolves around him. The Spurs draw like thousands of incredibly intricate plays that result in Timmeh being wide open in the post. CIA Pop knows that an open Timmeh with the rock inside is easy money. The opposing defense will do anything they can to ensure that Timmeh is not open, thus freeing up guys like Danny Green. It is a simple plan, but it is devastatingly efficient. The Nugs don’t have someone like that yet. This a multifaceted monster with no center. Their offense is still scary good, but it is lacking in identity and purpose. And those are things that the Spurs have in spades.

2.) The Nuggets shoot (and miss) a lot.

Right so this observation is made from early season games, and does not reflect "potential". But the Spurs are playing the Nuggets "now" so this label fits. In the game against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Spurs made 40 shots out of 70. And that was a bad shooting night for the Spurs. The Nugs made 37 of 82 shots against the Utah Jazz this season. And that was a good night for the Nugs. The Spurs approach offense like a surgeon making an incision with a scalpel. The Nuggets approach offense like a drunk marauder waving an ax at anything that moves. Sometimes the ax hits something, but it is hardly efficient basketball.

3.) The Nuggets dunk too much.

What do you call a team that has multiple players who dunk the ball on a frequent basis? Not the Spurs.

Synopsis and Final Analysis: The Spurs will be busy tonight. Look for the Spurs to really stretch their roster. So because of an inevitable "battle of the benches", this has the potential to be a great game. There are loads of intriguing match-ups, and there will surely be a few surprises. In the end the Spurs can overcome the Nuggets by doing what they do.


PG: Tony Parker
SG: Danny Green
SF: Stephen Jackson
PF: Tim Duncan
C: DeJuan Blair

Key Bench Players
Manu Ginobili
Tiago Splitter
Gary Neal

Head Coach
Gregg Popovich


PG: Ty Lawson
SG: Andre Iguodala
SF: Danilo Gallinari
PF: Kenneth Faried
C: Kosta Koufus

Key Bench Players
JaVale McGee
Andre Miller
Corey Brewer

Head Coach

George Karl

Denver Nuggets perspective can be found here: Denver Stiffs

Game Prediction: Spurs by 3, Vegas says Spurs by 7

Keep in mind Vegas also said Spurs by 5 last game against the Knicks

Referees Assigned:

Bennie Adams Curtis Blair Leon Wood

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.