Preview and Prediction: San Antonio Spurs at Denver Nuggets

The San Antonio Spurs (22-30) will try to get their first win of the 2020 Rodeo Road Trip tonight against the Denver Nuggets (37-16). The Spurs have lost their first four games of the trip. Their most recent loss was a lopsided affair against the Sacramento Kings in which the Spurs were defeated 122-102.

San Antonio is currently 4.5 games out of the playoffs. The Nuggets, conversely, are the second seed in the Western Conference, three games behind the Los Angeles Lakers.

This is the first meeting between these two teams since the second seeded Nuggets defeated the seventh seeded Spurs in Game 7 of their first round matchup last postseason.

Denver Nuggets Injury Update

The Nuggets have been hit with the injury bug lately but they’re slowly but surely getting their guys back healthy. Jamal Murray and Paul Millsap are both back and active.

That said, Denver is still without three main cogs: Will Barton, Mason Plumlee and Michael Porter Jr.

Will Jakob Poeltl Start for the Spurs?

Last year in the playoffs, the Spurs started Jakob Poeltl in order for him to defend Nikola Jokic. Poeltl played well during the series, so there’s a chance that San Antonio will start him tonight. Keeping LaMarcus Aldridge off of Jokic would be advantageous, especially in terms of avoiding foul trouble. If Poeltl starts, it’d be in the place of Trey Lyles.

Poeltl has started nine games this year for the Spurs. In those contests, he’s averaging 7.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 2.0 assists. Unfortunately, the Spurs only have a 3-6 record when Poeltl starts.

San Antonio’s Rodeo Road Trip Woes

Once upon a time, the Spurs used to look forward to the Rodeo Road Trip. Over the last three seasons, that hasn’t been the case. San Antonio is only 3-15 on the Rodeo Road Trip in that time frame.

Last season, the Spurs were 1-7. After losing their first four games on the trip this year, they will be underdogs in the rest of the games on the trip. It’s going to be a challenge for the Spurs to match even last season’s 1-7 mark.

Prediction: Spurs at Nuggets

The Nuggets are seven-point favorites over the Spurs. Oddsmakers see the Nuggets winning 112-107. While I don’t see the Spurs winning this game, I’ll predict that they will keep it closer than expected. As has been the case many times recently, I think the Spurs will have a fourth quarter lead — before losing it and the Nuggets pulling out a close victory.

Denver Nuggets – 109
San Antonio Spurs – 107