Advanced Scouting: Denver Nuggets at San Antonio Spurs
Denver Nuggets at San Antonio Spurs 8:00 CST January 16, 2011
The Spurs lead their season series against the Denver Nuggets 2-0. However, one could argue they have been lucky to win both games. The Spurs won the first game on a charge call in the last second and the second matchup required a 29-14 fourth quarter to seal a 109-103 victory. Chauncey Billups, Kenyon Martin and Carmelo Anthony each missed one game against the Spurs, but figure to be at full strength this time around. (Martin may be less than 100%, but he is expected to go). The Spurs will also be missing Matt Bonner, who made 3 of 4 from downtown in each matchup.
Defending Carmelo Anthony is a key component of my Nuggets scouting report. Before the second matchup, I reviewed the Spurs effectiveness against Anthony. (He was a late scratch for that game.) Carmelo figures to be the central piece of the Nuggets offense once again.
Against Denver this season, Parker has headed the pick-and-roll a combined 43 times, resulting in 46 points. Ginobili has only led 16 pick-and-rolls, leading to 17 points. The Spurs pick-and-roll ballhandler has set up teammates nearly twice as frequently as he has finished the play himself. This ball movement has paid off well for the Spurs when facing the Nuggets.
In the last meeting, Gary Neal hit 5 of 7 from downtown and the Spurs went 14 of 28 from range as a team. This high success rate is sure to fade, and with Matt Bonner out, it does become less advantageous to look for the 3-point shot, but the Spurs still have plenty of outside weapons. Neal, Jefferson, Manu and Hill are all reliable kick out options.
Another important aspect of this game will be the matchup between Tim Duncan and Nene. Nene continues to improve every year and has become a dynamic post option for Denver. Neneâ€™s tremendous success rate of 1.29 points per possession in the post place him in the 97th percentile. Few players are more efficient and his ability to create in the post can make him deadly.
Since 2008-09, Nene has scored 39 points in 38 post possessions against Duncan. Duncan has scored 71 points on 87 possessions himself. Nene utilizes his athleticism and strength; generally making good, high percentage decisions from the post. He can struggle identifying timely double teams.
As discussed previously, getting Nene in foul trouble is an attainable and worthwhile strategy for the Spurs on the offensive end. Duncan had a big game the first time these teams met, but Denver contained him in the second meeting.
Denver: 3.59 (7th)
San Antonio: 7.88 (1st)
|Player||Fraction of teams minutes||PER minus Counterpart PER||On court +/-per 48 minutes||Off court +/-per 48 minutes||2 Year Adjusted +/-|
Most valuable/utilized lineups:
Billups, Afflalo, Anthony, Williams, Nene -28 in 231 minutes (-5.8 per 48 minutes)
Billups, Afflalo, Anthony, Harrington, Nene +10 in 91 minutes (+5.3 per 48)
Lawson, Afflalo, Anthony, Williams, Nene +27 in 66 minutes (+19.6 per 48)
Lawson, Afflalo, Anthony, Harrington, Nene +34 in 29 minutes (+56.3 per 48)
In their past 10 games, the Denver Nuggets have outscored opponents by an average score of 110-100. Despite all the trade rumors circulating, the Nuggets are relatively healthy and playing well. San Antonio will be hurt by the absence of Bonner, but should be helped by home court advantage. Denver will also be playing the second of back-to-back games tonight, which should only increase the Spurs chances. The Spurs may have enjoyed some luck in winning the first two games against Denver, but they will still be clear favorites in this one.