San Antonio Spurs at Denver Nuggets — 9 PM eastern, telecast on NBA TV
The San Antonio Spurs have lost two in a row, and the Denver Nuggets have won their last four — including a thrilling two-point victory over the Kobe-less Lakers. That doesn’t bode too well for the former team.
In what could very well be a first-round playoff matchup, Tim Duncan and the Spurs visit Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets for the teams’ final meeting of the season.
This game will feature a number of great matchups, including Tony Parker and Chancey Billups at point guard; Manu Ginobili and Aaron Afflalo at the 2; Richard Jefferson and Anthony at the 3; and Duncan and Nene up front.
The Spurs need to attempt to slow down Melo and contain J.R. Smith’s shooting to win. Likewise, the Nuggets (whose defense is less reliable than the Spurs’) need to stop Ginobili from going off, like he has routinely of late.
The Nuggets have won two of the three previous matchups this year, and the Spurs look to even the series out and avoid having to play the top-seeded Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. They’ll need a balanced scoring effort again (they had seven players in double figures in their win February 11), and they’ll need to play their trademark quality defense.
I give the win to Denver, as it is playing well of late and is jockeying for position at the top of the conference amid several other teams close by. Watching Duncan go at Nene and Chris Andersen down low should be a lot of fun, as should Ginobili and Melo’s exchanging of ridiculous scores in the lane.