Spurs @ Nuggets Preview: 12/18/12
The road seems to be taking its toll on the San Antonio Spurs.
The Denver Nuggets are trying to prevent that from happening to them.
The Spurs will try to snap a three-game road losing streak Tuesday night when the Nuggets look to build on their best offensive performance of the season.
San Antonio (19-7) opened 11-2 on the road, but the team has dropped its last three away from home after losing 107-93 to league-best Oklahoma City on Monday.
"We had 15 assists in the first half and two in the third quarter and we stopped scoring," coach Gregg Popovich told the league's official website after his team fell to 1-3 since a 10-1 surge.
San Antonio, which last dropped four straight on the road during its 0-5 start to 2011-12, will complete a stretch of six of seven as the visitor Tuesday before opening a four-game homestand Friday versus New Orleans.
The Nuggets (13-12) - the only team in the NBA with more road games (18) than the Spurs - will play their league-low eighth home game before heading to Portland for Thursday's contest.
"It's the worst stretch of travel I've been associated with," coach George Karl said after Denver shot 54.1 percent from the field in Sunday's 122-97 rout at Sacramento.
However, some of the Nuggets are actually embracing this hectic schedule as a stretch of 15 of 18 at home begins on New Year's Day.
"I'm enjoying what we are going through," said Andre Iguodala, who had 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists on Sunday. "We have a tough schedule and it's a chance for us to build something. We're trying to play at a high level and be mentally tough."
It'll be tough for Denver to extend its home winning streak to five if it plays like it did in a 126-100 loss at San Antonio on Nov. 17. The Nuggets committed 22 turnovers - tied for a season high - in their most lopsided defeat of the season.
San Antonio's Manu Ginobili hit five 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 20 points in that contest, but it's uncertain if he'll play Tuesday after missing the loss in Oklahoma City with a bruised left quadriceps suffered in Saturday's 103-88 victory over Boston.
If Ginobili can't go, the Spurs - who are 4-2 in the second half of back-to-backs - could lean even more on Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Both sat out the fourth quarter Monday even after San Antonio trimmed an 18-point deficit in half with less than six minutes left.
Parker and Duncan scored 14 points apiece last month against the Nuggets, while DeJuan Blair finished with a season-high 19.
Blair matched a career high with 28 points in the Spurs' last game in Denver, a 114-99 victory on Feb. 23.
San Antonio has won four of five visiting the Nuggets and eight of 10 in the series.
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