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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Denver Nuggets

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The Spurs are now 21-7 at home and welcome the Denver Nuggets who, after a roster shakeup and playing under a new coach, are winners of their last two.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs @ Denver Nuggets

AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
March 6, 2015, 7:30 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

They don't have the worst record coming into tonight's game, but few teams could claim to have had a rougher season than the Denver Nuggets. With the memory of playoff appearances still fresh in their minds, the second season under Brian Shaw saw even more struggles for a squad that finished 2013-14 with a middling 36-46 record.

The 46-year-old Shaw, who was fired earlier this week, had reportedly lost his locker room, resorting to self-help books on how to speak to millennials in order to find a way to connect with his young players. Dubiously breaking the huddle by chanting 'six more weeks' will go down as the final chapter of the maligned Shaw era, as the team will look for a new identity (and new future coach) as it closes out the season and heads for the lottery.

Under interim head coach Melvin Hunt, the Nuggets have won their last two, hinting strongly that, regardless of the reasons behind their poor play, moving on from Coach Shaw was likely the right call for the Denver front office. Or maybe it just has to do with giving space cadet JaVale McGee the viking funeral (shipping him off to Philly for nothing, and then seeing him get cut) many had been waiting for.

Either way, it's a new-look (they were big players during the trade deadline frenzy, most notably trading starting SG Arron Afflalo), new-attitude Nuggets that come into town on Friday night, and one can expect a bit more effort out of them with the more popular 'Coach Mel' at the helm.

With Timofey Mozgov now in Cleveland and rookie Jusuf Nurkic injured (ankle), this team really has no choice but to play small. They've been successful doing so, so far, with the already-undersized Kenneth Faried slotting into the center position and Wilson Chandler playing the four. It'll likely result in Pop having to re-jig his starting frontcourt, as well.

The Nuggets are now playing with the pace and energy they used to under George Karl, and with this kind of lineup, they'll look to run and space the floor as much as possible. Lawson's shooting hasn't been great as of late, but Randy Foye and Danilo Gallinari can get hot quickly and, with Kenneth Faried mixing things up inside, this isn't a team short on offensive talent.

San Antonio should still come out with the win tonight, after looking great in their thumping of the Kings on Wednesday. They've won five in a row against Denver, who simply don't have the size or depth to contend for 48 minutes.

Matchup to watch: Danilo Gallinari vs. Kawhi Leonard. After missing a chunk of the year injured, Gallinari is once again showing glimpses of why the Nuggets have been so invested in him. I expect him to have less success against Whi's lockdown D, however. On the Spurs' offensive end, Leonard continues to be on a tear, and when he's producing the way he has, it makes things a lot easier for the San Antonio attack.

vs.

Denver Nuggets (22-39)

San Antonio Spurs (37-23)

March 6, 2015

AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

7:30 PM CDT

TV: FSSW

Radio: WOAI 1200AM

Starters

Ty Lawson

PG

Tony Parker

Randy Foye

SG

Danny Green

Danilo Gallinari

SF

Kawhi Leonard

Wilson Chandler

PF

Boris Diaw

Kenneth Faried

C

Tim Duncan


For the Nuggets perspective, please visit Denver Stiffs.

Game prediction: Spurs by 11.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and you can get your San Antonio Spurs tickets from Daniel Farias with Spurs Sports & Entertainment: Tel: 210-444-5607 | dfarias@attcenter.com