Tue, Nov 5 Spurs-Nuggets Preview
Pepsi Center - Denver, Colorado
By JEFF BARTL, Associated Press Last Updated: Tue, Nov 5 12:33 ET
The Denver Nuggets are having some trouble adjusting from George Karl's up-tempo style to the predominantly half-court scheme implemented by new coach Brian Shaw, who isn't hiding from the team's early struggles.
He may be planning some personnel changes, though, as Denver seeks its first win under Shaw on Tuesday night against the visiting San Antonio Spurs.
The Nuggets won a franchise-record 57 games before bowing out in the first round of the playoffs, leading to the firing of Karl and giving Shaw his first head-coaching job. They led the league in scoring at 106.1 points per game last season, but they've failed to reach 100 and have shot just 39.3 percent while dropping their first two of this campaign.
Denver had its 23-game regular-season home winning streak snapped with a 113-98 loss to Portland on Friday, and Shaw realizes there have been some hiccups in the players' adjustment to the new system.
The team also has been playing short-handed, as Wilson Chandler has been out with hamstring trouble and Danilo Gallinari is recovering from a torn ACL
"It's a process. I've said that all along," Shaw told the team's official website. "We'll take our lumps while we try to get through this process. Hopefully not too much longer, but it's a process. We're learning. We just have to steadily improve on a daily basis."
He's also searching for more energy from the opening tip and hinted at making changes to his starting lineup. Ty Lawson scored 21 points Friday, but he was the only starter to score in double figures.
Nate Robinson scored a team-best 24 off the bench, while Kenneth Faried, who is most likely to move into the starting five despite battling a back injury, had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
"There'll probably be some changes," Shaw said. "We'll have two good days of practice to kind of figure that out. We definitely are going to have to inject some more energy to start out the games."
The Spurs (2-1) may have similar feelings after trailing by 11 at the half and falling 115-105 to the Trail Blazers on Saturday. Tim Duncan, who sat out Friday's win over the Los Angeles Lakers due to a chest bruise, scored 24 points and hit 12 of 23 from the field.
Duncan said given the team's experience it realizes bad nights are going to happen.
''We're gonna win games and we're gonna lose games. It's just how it goes,'' Duncan said. ''We're gonna use the entire 82 games to put a team together and have everybody on the same page once the playoffs start. We're not going to freak out about it."
Tony Parker added 17 points and nine assists.
"It's still early in the season so we still have to work on some stuff," Parker said.
Coach Gregg Popovich focused on the positives, including the performance of Marco Belinelli, who hit 8 of 12 from the field - 3 of 3 from 3-point range - and finished with 19 points off the bench.
"He's a competitor," Popovich said. "He's from the same cloth as Manu (Ginobili). He's out there to compete and do everything he can to try to win."
San Antonio and Denver split last season's series, with each winning both games at home.