Spurs take final breath before the big plunge
It’s about to start. The San Antonio Spurs soon enter a hellish stretch that involves eight games in 13 days featuring alternate home and road games. Technically, that run begins tonight, when San Antonio hosts the Denver Nuggets. I say technically because this is a home game against a lottery-bound team and theoretically shouldn’t be a difficult game. But we all know how that goes. The hell starts in earnest on Friday when they see those very same Nuggets in the rarified air of Denver.
Tonight is the last time for a couple weeks where you can look at the matchup and circumstances around it and think, I feel really good about this match up. Not only is San Antonio coming off a victory against the Philadelphia 76ers, but only Cory Joseph logged more than 30 minutes in that game. At 32-39, the Nuggets are injured and at this point looking like a team poised to finish the season with a whimper instead of a roar. Already without Danilo Gallinari, Nate Robinson, JaVale McGee, the team announced earlier this week that J.J. Hickson would miss the rest of the season with a torn right ACL.
After resting Tony Parker, Tiago Splitter and Danny Green Monday against the 76ers, we can expect all three will be back in the lineup while Matt Bonner will miss another two weeks with a strained calf. Bonner’s absence should do little to slow the Spurs offense. Ditto for the Nuggets, who enter tonight’s game with the league’s 21st most efficient defense. Their healthy center depth consists of Timofey Mozgov and that’s it. I haven’t seen the lane as wide open as it was against the 76ers, but when Mozgov is out of the game tonight expect the Spurs to get a lot of layups.
A home win against Denver Wednesday night would give the Spurs a chance to get three games ahead of Oklahoma City in the standings before San Antonio heads into this two-week gauntlet. A three-game lead this late in the season is hard for any team to overcome, even if the Thunder beat the Spurs next week in Oklahoma City. Tonight may just seem like another game, a chance to extend a win streak, but in reality it has some big picture implications.
Tip-off from the AT&T Center is set for 7:30 pm central time and can be seen on Fox Sports Southwest. For tickets to tonight’s Spurs game against the Nuggets, be sure to visit our friends over at TiqIQ.