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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Denver Nuggets

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The San Antonio Spurs attempt to win their 50th game of the season versus the Denver Nuggets.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs vs. Denver Nuggets

AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
April 3, 2015, 7:30 PM Spurs Time
TV: KENS - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI


After clinching a spot in the Western Conference playoffs on Wednesday versus the Orlando Magic, the San Antonio Spurs will be looking to improve their playoff seed for the rest of the season. Currently they sit at 6th in the standings, half a game behind the Los Angeles Clippers. On Friday, the Spurs will take on the lowly Denver Nuggets, and a win will put the Spurs and Clippers into a tie for the 5th seed. (The Clippers hold the tie-breaker because the teams split the season series, and Los Angeles has the better conference record, but there's more than enough time for the Spurs to pull away completely.)

The Spurs have looked on point recently, winning each of their last 5 games by a margin of at least 12 in every game. The team's passing has looked sharp, the defense has tightened up, and as a whole the team is starting to look more and more like the 2013-14 NBA Finals squad.

One of the keys to the Spurs returning to that form has been the recent resurgence of Boris Diaw. He seemed to come alive in a recent victory over the Atlanta Hawks, and after one bad performance versus the Dallas Mavericks, Diaw has ripped off 5 consecutive good games. Over those games Diaw has scored in double-digits every time, shot 54.5% from the field, including 53.5% from deep. He's found the offensive aggression and scoring ability off the bench that was so important in last years championship run. He's no longer constantly looking for the next pass, but instead just going with the flow of the offense, and using his large frame (read: his big butt) to power through opponents to the rim.

The Nuggets have also experienced a bit of good fortune recently. Well, relatively speaking, anyways. Since firing head coach Brian Shaw on March 3, the Nuggets have won 8 of their last 16 with interim coach Melvin Hunt, a great accomplishment considering Denver was 20-39 on the season before the firing.

One of the losses they took, though, came against this same Spurs team on March 6. In that game the Nuggets fought valiantly and stayed within striking range the whole night, but the Spurs were able to keep them at bay thanks to a second half push by Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker.

In that game Ty Lawson was seemingly able to get whatever he wanted, scoring 23 points on 7-13 shooting, and also recording 9 assists on the night. At one point in the 4th quarter, Lawson was in such a zone that the Nuggets just cleared out for him, let him create, and crashed the glass. Normally letting one player be the entire offense normally isn't the most efficient choice of offense, but on that night it worked for Denver, as they kept the game close and only lost by 9.

The Nuggets will need a similar night from Lawson to have a chance versus a Spurs team that has looked even better lately. Lawson is obviously capable of making things happen on the offensive side of the ball, but with Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green draped on him all night, it won't be easy. Look for Denver to do their best to push the ball to try and get easy scoring opportunities, and have big men like Kenneth Faried and (if he's healthy enough to play) J.J. Hickson run the floor to get offensive rebounds and putbacks.

vs.

Denver Nuggets (28-47)

San Antonio Spurs (49-26)

April 3, 2015

AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

7:30 PM CDT

TV: KENS

Radio: WOAI 1200AM

Starters

Ty Lawson

PG

Tony Parker

Randy Foye

SG

Danny Green

Danilo Gallinari

SF

Kawhi Leonard

Wilson Chandler

PF

Tiago Splitter

Kenneth Faried

C

Tim Duncan

For the Nuggets perspective, please visit Denver Stiffs.

Game prediction: Spurs by 13.

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