Winless Nuggets welcome Spurs to Pepsi Center
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Denver Nuggets will seek that elusive first victory of the season Tuesday night when they welcome the San Antonio Spurs to the Pepsi Center.
First-year head coach Brian Shaw may not be panicking just yet, but he is making changes at both starting forward spots. Kenneth Faried, a starter all of last season under George Karl, and Jordan Hamilton are in, while J.J. Hickson and Anthony Randolph will come off the bench.
"We're still searching and trying to figure it out," Shaw said after practice Monday. "If anything else, they have to honor (Hamilton) out to the 3-point line. If they do that, it gives us more space on the interior to throw the ball inside or pass and cut."
The Nuggets have had trouble scoring, which is troubling considering Denver led the NBA in that category last season. Under Karl, and with Andre Iguodala, a healthy Danilo Gallinari and Kosta Koufos, the Nuggets averaged 106.1 ppg.
So far, through two games against Portland and Sacramento, the Nuggets are averaging 93.0 ppg. They also rank 29th in field-goal percentage at 39 percent.
The Nuggets dropped their home opener 113-98 to the Trail Blazers on Friday. They allowed 40 points in the second quarter, fell behind 20 after three quarters and only mustered a small comeback in the fourth.
Nate Robinson led the way for Denver with 24 points off the bench, followed by 21 from Ty Lawson. Faried registered a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds and Andre Miller managed 10 points with the second unit.
The Spurs suffered their first setback of the season Saturday night at Portland, 115-105. San Antonio is wrapping up a three-game western trek that saw the Spurs win against the L.A. Lakers on Friday.
Tim Duncan returned after missing the Lakers game with a chest contusion. He led the way with 24 points and seven rebounds, but it was a tough night for the Spurs starters. Tony Parker had 17, but Danny Green and Tiago Splitter were both scoreless. Kawhi Leonard managed nine points and the Spurs trailed by 11 at the half.
"We could have done better in the first half," said Parker. "We still have to work on some stuff."
Marco Belinelli (19), Boris Diaw (14) and Manu Ginobili (11) had good nights off the Spurs bench.
The Spurs have lost two straight and three of their last four at the Pepsi Center, but own a 9-4 mark overall in the last 13 meetings between the two teams.
11/05 10:35:25 ET