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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Denver Nuggets

The San Antonio Spurs, missing nearly half their rotation players, travel to Denver for their final match against the Nuggets.

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Doug Pensinger

San Antonio Spurs @ Denver Nuggets

Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
April 10, 2013, 9:30 PM Spurs Time

The San Antonio Spurs face the third seeded Denver Nuggets in a matchup between two very good, but injury-plagued teams. The Spurs are missing the services of sixth man Manu Ginobili (hamstring), All-Star poing guard Tony Parker (shin/neck), reserve big man Boris Diaw (back spasms), while reserve forward Stephen Jackson did not make the trip to Denver. Those three are part of what makes the Spurs offense go due to their passing, the versatility of Ginobili and Diaw and Parker's ability to break down defenses off the dribble. Thus, the Spurs have to rely on Tim Duncan to create in the post and hit elbow jumpers on the catch, as well as Kawhi Leonard's emerging offensive game; these men are the best on the team at creating their own shot with Ginobili and Parker out.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets have vaulted into the 3rd seed after a slow start caused by playing 22 of their first 32 on the road. Nevertheless, they're second first in the league in home record, and no Western Conference playoff team has beaten them at the Pepsi Center (only the Heat, Timberwolves, and Wizards have won in Denver). However, Ty Lawson is out due to foot injuries, though he's due back soon, and Danilo Gallinari is sadly out for the season after tearing his ACL in a game against the Mavericks. But, the Nuggets have stepped up, blowing out Houston at home with Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala combining for 26 assists.

We could see an interesting matchup here between two rookie French guards Nando De Colo and Evan Fournier. De Colo was a second round Spurs draft pick in 2009 (Danny Green, Patty Mills, and DeJuan Blair were also drafted in the second round of that draft), while Fournier was drafted 20th by the Nuggets in last year's draft. Coach Gregg Popovich seems to have settled on De Colo as his backup point guard (with extra stress on seems to), with his advantages being very good court vision, a decent outside shot, and size (6'5" 200 pounds). On the other hand, Nuggets coach George Karl has given Fournier minutes while Ty Lawson recovers, and the young combo guard is one of the best outside shooters on a team lacking quality range; not to mention the fact he has people drawing comparisons to the Spurs' own Ginobili.


PG: Nando De Colo
SG: Danny Green
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Tim Duncan
C: Tiago Splitter

Key Bench Players
Gary Neal
DeJuan Blair
Matt Bonner

Head Coach
Gregg Popovich


PG: Andre Miller
SG: Andre Iguodala
SF: Wilson Chandler
PF: Kenneth Faried
C: Kosta Koufos

Key Bench Players
Corey Brewer
JaVale McGee
Evan Fournier

Head Coach

George Karl

Nuggets perspective can be found here: Denver Stiffs

Game Prediction: Spurs put up a fight but the Nuggets' vaunted HCA gets them a vital second wind. Nuggets by 3.

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.

Get your San Antonio Spurs tickets here!

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