Game Preview: What to Watch for in the Nuggets Game Against San Antonio

by Christopher Dempsey
Nuggets Insider
@chrisadempsey

SAN ANTONIO – The Nuggets are in San Antonio for the second time in two weeks – and the second time they are facing the Spurs on the second of a back-to-back. The Nuggets enter the game coming off a one-point loss to the Celtics, while the Spurs have not played since Monday.

Meanwhile, at 26-24, this is the best 50-game start in four years for the Nuggets. But winning in San Antonio has been arguably the toughest task each season. They’ve lost 10 straight games in San Antonio, including the 112-80 defeat on Jan. 13.

So, how do the Nuggets give themselves a chance to snap the streak and win? Start with these things…

Weather the first quarter storm: In the previous meeting, the Spurs pulled away from the Nuggets in the first quarter after it was close in the first couple of minutes. And that set the tone for a game that ended up seeing the Nuggets play catch up for the bulk of the night. Keeping themselves in the game from the start, and not getting down big early will be key for the Nuggets.

Mind the 3-point line: The Nuggets almost won on Monday night after allowing 17 3-pointers to the Boston Celtics. In the Jan. 13 matchup in San Antonio, the Nuggets allowed 14 3-pointers to the Spurs, including six from Davis Bertans. The culprits? Drive-and-kick treys and 3-pointers in transition. The Spurs are deadly in generating open threes from their primary and secondary breaks. The Nuggets must communicate, identify shooters and close down that space.

Keep Jokić rolling: Nikola Jokić played arguably his most physical game as a pro in the game against the Celtics. He was strong in the post on his way to 24 points and 11 rebounds. Jokić historically has played well in San Antonio, averaging 22.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.2 blocks in five career games in the AT&T Center.

INJURY REPORT: Paul Millsap (wrist), and Mason Plumlee (calf) are out of tonight’s game. Wilson Chandler (illness) is probable for the contest.

Christopher Dempsey: christopher.dempsey@altitude.tv and @chrisadempsey on Twitter.