|6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)03:0021:00 ET8:00 PM CT0:00 , April 3, 2019
Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado Attendance: 17,643
Nuggets seeking answers, and fast, as Spurs visit
San Antonio Spurs at Denver Nuggets
- The Spurs have alternated wins and losses over their last six games, winning their most recent game, 117-111, against the Hawks. San Antonio is averaging 111.9 points per game this season, on pace to be the team's highest scoring average in a season under head coach Gregg Popovich (since 1996-97).
- The Nuggets have lost four of their last six games, averaging just 95.8 points over those games. In the team's previous six games before this stretch, Denver went 6-0 while scoring 112.2 points per game.
- Since March 1, LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 22.9 points and 10.3 rebounds over 15 games. Aldridge has 30 double-doubles this season, the most he has recorded in any of his four seasons with the Spurs.
- Over the last six games, in which Denver has gone 2-4, Nikola Jokic has averaged just 4.7 assists per game. Jokic has averaged 8.0 assists per game in team wins this season, compared to an average of 6.0 assists in team losses.
- The Nuggets lost to the Warriors last night by a score of 116-112. Denver has the NBA's best record this season on the second game of back-to-backs, going 10-1 (.909) in such games.
- The Spurs have won two of three games against the Nuggets this season, though all three games have been won by the home team. Dating back to January 2017, the last nine games played between these teams have been won by the home team.
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The Western Conference playoff slots have all been filled, so the only thing to determine is the seeding. Wednesday's matchup between San Antonio and Denver will be a chance for two of the teams to improve their standing.
Given the standings entering Wednesday, the game in Denver would be a preview of a first-round matchup. The Spurs (45-33) are seventh after a 117-111 home win against Atlanta on Tuesday, and the Nuggets (51-26) are trying to hold onto the second seed.
Denver had a chance to move into a tie for first place with Golden State on Tuesday night, but the Warriors ran the Nuggets out of Oracle Arena. Now, after four losses in the last six games, Denver has to be concerned about holding onto the second seed. Houston is just 1 1/2 games back, and Portland -- against whom Denver has a home-and-home this week -- is two games back.
The Nuggets are searching for some consistency, especially at home. Denver has split its last two at Pepsi Center while offering extremely poor second-half performances. The Nuggets scored only 29 points after halftime and nearly blew a 27-point lead against Detroit on March 26, but managed to come out on top.
They topped that on Sunday against the Wizards, scoring only 28 points in the second half of a disappointing loss, and then followed that by losing 116-102 at Golden State on Tuesday.
If the Nuggets are going to hold onto the second seed, they need turn things around against San Antonio and in the home-and-home with Portland.
San Antonio righted the ship after a slow start to the season and now looks like a formidable playoff opponent. DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge have been the stars the Spurs expected, but it's the secondary players that have come up big.
Guard Bryn Forbes had 19 points against Atlanta, and former University of Colorado star Derrick White had 23 on 10-of-12 shooting, hitting all three of his 3-point attempts. White's emergence after a season-ending injury to guard Dejounte Murray has been a huge boost to San Antonio.
Against the Hawks, he had seven straight points in a 15-4 Spurs run that put them in control in the fourth quarter.
"What you saw, that's his game," San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich said after the win. "He's just kind of steady, picks his spots. I loved seeing him get more confident with the 3, knocking down a couple, that's great. That's the next step for him."
The next step for Denver is stopping a late-season slide that could put a damper on its turnaround year. Losing on the road to Golden State and Houston isn't as bad as dropping home games to sub-.500 teams like Washington.
"We can't have that happen," guard Malik Beasley said Sunday. "We're a better team than that."
The Nuggets haven't been lately, especially offensively. They have failed to break 100 points in four of the last six games, and only reached that mark with a garbage-time surge on Tuesday.
"It seems like we are just kind of standing, waiting (to see) what everyone's gonna do," center Nikola Jokic said after Tuesday's loss. "It feels weird right now."
--Field Level Media
Updated April 3, 2019