Jan 5, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Nikola Jokic (15) guards San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) in the third quarter at the Pepsi Center. The Spurs won 127-99. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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Shutting down LaMarcus Aldridge should be the first priority for Denver.
The Denver Nuggets have a tough test tonight against the San Antonio Spurs. The Nuggets, who have been one of the most porous defensive teams, will have their hands full against a loaded Spurs team.
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Therefore, Denver needs to devise a plan to stop Popovich’s squad. It is too much to ask to slow down Kawhi Leonard, especially with how unstoppable he has been this season.
Leonard has been averaging 25.5 points on 48% shooting per game and 1.8 steals per game. As a
result, the Nuggets need to contain one of the other stars on the Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge is still one of the best power forwards in the league, but he is prone to be slowed down. Aldridge is averaging a career low 17.7 points per game this year.
If they play their cards right, they can slow down the star power forward. Kawhi Leonard is going to get his numbers no matter what, so the Nuggets need to prioritize their defense and focus on making other role players beat them.
Obviously this is easier said than done given the genius of Gregg Popovich, but with Jokic back in the lineup, anything is possibly with this young team. Chandler is a good defensive player, but asking to slow down Leonard is a tall task even for him. Especially since Gallinari is still hurt. Coach Popovich is always prepared, he is the ultimate professional.
So, Nuggets coach Michael Malone will have to do his homework in order to be ready for this game. Playoff implications are on the line, so every game from here on out is extremely important. It is time to for the Denver Nuggets to start treating their remaining games as if they are playoff games.