Photo: Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images
The Denver Nuggets get their first look at one of the Western Conferences best teams on the second night of a back to back.
Where: AT&T Center-San Antonio, Texas
When: 6:30 p.m. MST
Watch/Listen: Altitude Sports and Entertainment-Altitude Sports Radio AM 950
Friday night marked a step in the right direction for the Nuggets as they snapped a three-game losing streak against an inferior opponent in the Memphis Grizzlies. The team now has a tough challenge on the second night of a back to back as they face off against one of the NBA’s most consistent teams for over a decade. The Spurs are near the top of the Western Conference yet again with a record of 28-15 and trail only the Rockets and Warriors in the West. The Spurs also have the best home record in the NBA at 18-2.
This game almost seems like one of those scheduled loses for the Nuggets, but this team has shown that they won’t back down from a challenge. The Nuggets have continuously shown effort night in and night out and it wouldn’t be surprising at all if they were to go down to San Antonio tonight and compete. Some players the Nuggets will have to look out for are LaMarcus Aldridge, Manu Ginobili, and Pau Gasol. Kawhi Leonard would also present a huge problem for the Nuggets if he were to play, but he’s listed as questionable for the game with a shoulder injury.
Spurs-Nuggets Injury Report:
OUT: Rudy Gay
QUESTIONABLE: Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker pic.twitter.com/EVr3bKfmYO
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 12, 2018
Leonard has only played in eight games for the Spurs this season, but is second on the team in scoring at 15.9 points per game and would also lead the team in steals if he had more games under his belt. Aldridge currently leads the Spurs in scoring at 22.6 points per game and shoots an efficient 49.4 percent from the field. Aldridge also leads the Spurs in rebounds at 8.6 per game and is one of the best post scorers in the NBA. The Nuggets will face off against their second Gasol brother in their many nights after facing Pau’s brother Marc just the night before. Pau is putting together another solid campaign averaging 10.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
It’s unclear whether the Nuggets will have Gary Harris back on Saturday night as he missed the Nuggets game Friday night for personal reasons. If Harris is out once again, look for coach Michael Malone to stick with the rotation he went with against the Grizzlies where guys like Malik Beasley, Richard Jefferson, and Kenneth Faried saw extended minutes. Also, it is the second night of a back to back and that could prompt coach Malone to extend his bench whether Harris plays or not.
Saturday night should be a true playoff atmosphere for the Nuggets as they’ll face one of the NBA’s best teams in one of the toughest environments. It’s just another great test for a team that has admirations of making it back to the postseason for the first time in four years. After a rough week or so, the Nuggets will look to ride their strong second half against the Grizzlies and shock the Spurs in San Antonio.
Stay tuned to Dig In Denver for postgame coverage.