The San Antonio Spurs are almost certainly not going to win against the Denver Nuggets.
I feel that I should get that out of the way now. There were already, conceivably, very few scenarios in which the Spurs would be likely to beat the Nuggets in a fair (or even unfair) contest. The Nuggets lead the entirety of the Western Conference and are also vying for best record in the NBA this season.
The Nuggets have six players worth 3+ WAR, the Spurs have none. The Nuggets have six players with a positive +/- on the season, the Spurs have none.
The Nuggets are 2nd in offensive rating, 3rd in net rating, and 11th in defensive rating. The Spurs are 29th, 30th, and 30th in each of those categories.
The Nuggets are 1st in assist-to-turnover ratio, 4th in rebound percentage, and 2nd in true shooting percentage. The Spurs are 20th, 20th, and 27th.
And that’s before we individually take into account the modern-era juggernaut that is Nikola Jokic, who will almost certainty be present, because he just does not miss games.
Normally I’d probably feel like that’s something to celebrate, being the rarity it it. Somehow, after all those years of Tim Duncan, it just feels like salt in the wound.
I feel like at this point you’ve probably gotten the picture. The picture is bleak. It would be likely be bleak without the San Antonio Spurs’ most recent doubling-down on tanking for the hypothetical hardwood salvation of a seven-foot tall baguette.
But I digress. The point being that the Spurs have not even the ghost of a chance. Ghosts would snicker at their chance, and call it names. High school bullies would hold their chance’s head under running commode water. This game was over before it even started.
Unless, of course, my attempt to jinx them actually works. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Denver Nuggets at San Antonio Spurs
March 9, 2023 | 7:00 PM CT
Watch: Bally Sports Southwest|Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs Injuries: Jeremy Sochan - Day-to-Day (Knee), Romeo Langford - Day-to-Day (Thigh), Tre Jones - Day-to-Day (Foot), Zach Collins - Day-to-Day (Ankle), Doug McDermott - Day-to-Day (Thumb), Khem Birch - Out (Knee)
Nuggets Injuries: Collin Gillespie - Out (Leg), Zeke Nnaji - Out (Shoulder), Vlatko Cancar - Out (wrist)
What to watch for:
Jokic - Destroyer of Worlds: Normally I’d save this space specifically for Spurs players and related themes, but I feel almost responsible to acknowledge and highlight how incredible a run Nikola Jokic has been on over the last three seasons. There have been plenty of great three year runs in NBA history, of course. Heck, there have been some pretty impressive ones just in my lifetime (2000-2002 Shaq, for instance). But something about this particular run has felt vaguely Duncan-esque. Not just in the way that Duncan was also able to affect just about every facet of his teams execution (Something I’ve dedicated a lot of words to in the past), but also in the degree of overall disrespect both players recieved in their prime (MVP) seasons. Tim Duncan clinched an NBA title with an (unofficial) quadruple-double, and the NBA world yawned. Jokic, a center is about to average a triple-double for the season, something not even Wilt Chamberlain managed, and the discourse is inexplicably toxic. Yeah, the game’s probably going to be pretty bleak from a silver-and-black perspective, but this is definitely a great reason to tune in anyway. It’s probably not something any of us are going to see again.
For the Nuggets’ fans’ perspective, visit Denver Stiffs.
PtR’s Game thread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed.