SAN ANTONIO SPURS (2-1)
at DENVER NUGGETS (0-2)
Tip-off: Tuesday, 9:05 p.m. ET
Line: San Antonio -4, Total: 201.5
The Nuggets look for their first win of the season when they host the defending Western Conference champions Spurs on Tuesday night.
San Antonio started the season 2-0 with wins over the Grizzlies and Lakers, but could not keep up with Damian Lillard and the rest of the Trail Blazers on Saturday, losing 115-105 in Portland. Denver has played only two games in the first week of the season, but the rest did not help, as it lost both games. After falling on the road by two points to the Kings, the Nuggets shot just 36.4% FG on Friday and were blown out at home versus Portland, losing 113-98. These two franchises have played each other a total of 149 times and have nearly split the series with Portland winning 75 times and San Antonio winning 74. The last 10 meeting have been nearly as close, with the Spurs holding a 6-4 SU edge (4-6 ATS). San Antonio has averaged an impressive 107.8 PPG over those 10 games and the totals for these games have been split, with the last two going Under. The Nuggets will still be thin in the frontcourt without forwards Danilo Gallinari (knee) and Wilson Chandler (hamstring), and PF Anthony Randolph listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury. San Antonio is 55-29 ATS (66%) after a double-digit loss when favored under Gregg Popovich, but Denver is 17-7 ATS (71%) at home versus teams with a winning record since the start of last season.
Can the Nuggets earn their first win of the season on Tuesday night? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Dave has opened the season at 60% ATS on his NBA Best Bets (3-2), while StatFox Brian is 2-0 ATS since Saturday.
The Spurs have scored a mediocre 99.0 PPG this season (T-14th in NBA), but they have shot 47.3% from the field (5th in NBA) and rank sixth in the league with a 41.5% clip from behind the arc. San Antonio has always been known for its ability to move the ball around and not turn the ball over on offense, and has the third fewest turnovers (13.0 per game) so far this season. On the defensive side of the ball, San Antonio has allowed opposing teams to score 98.0 PPG (T-13th in NBA) and has held opponents to 44.5% FG (12th in league), but is allowing 38.7% threes (23rd in NBA). The Spurs only have been able to swipe 5.3 SPG (4th-worst in league) and have the fewest blocked shots in the NBA (2.7 BPG). PG Tony Parker (18.0 PPG, 8.0 APG) has continued to be a leader on this team but played below his season averages in three games against the Nuggets last season (15.0 PPG, 7.0 APG). PF Tim Duncan (13.5 PPG, 44.8% FG, 6.5 RPG in 24.0 MPG) has not been as effective as he has in the past few seasons, but is coming off of a 24-point, seven-rebound performance against Portland. Duncan averaged 21.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG and 3.5 BPG in his four games against Denver last season. At the age of 36, SG Manu Ginobili (14.3 PPG, 51.4% FG, 3.7 APG, 1.3 SPG) has continued to provide an offensive spark off the bench and has averaged 14.3 PPG, but shooting only 40.7% FG, in 31 career games (15 starts) against Denver. SF Kawhi Leonard (12.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG) had a poor game against Portland on Saturday (nine points, one rebound, one assist in 26 minutes) and will try to bounce back against the Nuggets. Leonard scored 9.5 PPG and grabbed 9.0 RPG with 2.5 SPG against them last season in two games.
Denver is off to a poor start in the 2013-14 campaign after losing its first two games to Sacramento and Portland, two up-and-coming teams in the NBA. The Nuggets have scored a surprisingly low 93.0 PPG after leading the league last season with 106.1 PPG. They have shot a league-low 39.3% from the field so far and have made only 11-of-33 shots from three-point range. PG Ty Lawson (20.5 PPG, 7.0 APG, 5.0 RPG) has nice stats through the first two games of the season, but has shot only 12-of-31 (38.7%) from the field. Lawson has really struggled against the Spurs in 13 career games (7 starts) averaging just 11.4 PPG and 4.8 APG while shooting only 43.3% from the field (31.6% threes). No other player in the Denver lineup is averaging more than a dozen points per game over the first two contests, with the teamís other two point guards, Nate Robinson (12.0 PPG, 4-for-7 threes, 4.5 RPG) and Andre Miller (11.0 PPG on 77% FG), as the only other players averaging double-digit points. PF Kenneth Faried (8.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG) had a solid game against Portland (11 points, 11 rebounds), but is considered day-to-day with a bruised back.