After a crushing loss against the Philadelphia 76ers, the San Antonio Spurs will try to hop back on the winning track on Wednesday afternoon against the Denver Nuggets. The Spurs are currently the tenth seed in the Western Conference, a half game behind the Portland Trail Blazers for ninth and two games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed.
Prior to the loss against the Sixers, the Spurs had won two straight games following the restart of the regular season. Denver is 1-1 inside of the bubble. In their first game, they were blown out 125-105 by the Miami Heat. The Nuggets bounced back with a 121-113 overtime victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.
Marco Belinelli Returns?
The Spurs have listed swingman Marco Belinelli as probable heading into the game against the Nuggets. Belinelli was injured against the Sacramento Kings and missed the games against the Memphis Grizzlies and Sixers.
If the Italian shooter is able to return, it’ll be interesting to see if Patty Mills remains in the rotation. The Spurs were apparently planning on sitting Mills during the restart but after Belinelli and Bryn Forbes got injured, Mills convinced head coach Gregg Popovich to let him play.
Forbes, along with LaMarcus Aldridge and Trey Lyles, remains out against Denver with a quad injury.
Another Test for Jacob Poeltl
Jacob Poeltl has been open about his desire to play a bigger role going forward in his NBA career. Thus far in the restart, it’s difficult to say he’s made a good case for himself. He has fouled out of the last two games and was in foul trouble against Joel Embiid and the Sixers in less than two minutes of play.
While Embiid was a tough cover for Poeltl, he doesn’t have an easier task today against Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets. Although Poeltl had some success against Jokic in last year’s playoffs, the Nuggets are a big, physical team. Can Poeltl man the inside for the Spurs while staying out of foul trouble? If he can’t, it’ll be very difficult for San Antonio to win this game.
The Philadelphia 76ers are the Favorites
For the fourth straight game inside of the bubble, the Spurs are the underdogs heading into the contest. The Nuggets are three point favorites over the Spurs. Considering the Sixers were seven point favorites, it appears as if the Silver and Black are finally getting some respect from Vegas.