The Jazz will take on the Nuggets tonight at the Pepsi Center. It wasn't that long ago that games at the Pepsi Center elicited no fear from me. It was kind of like playing at the Toyota Center, we weren't in the cozy confines of the ESA but we usually could battle well and come out with a win.
Now it is a different story, facing the Denver Nuggets in their house is a frightening proposition, I picture those ugly brown seats as the crowd stands till the first basket, I picture layup after layup and three-pointer after three-pointer by the Nuggets. I picture a game that can quickly get out of control if the Jazz are not careful.
Whats going on with the Nuggets: The Nuggets are riding a two game win streak. The Nuggets most recent wins have come against Deron's New Jersey Nets and the Miami LeBricks. The Nuggets will be well rested and will face a Jazz team who could be tired from playing an emotional game last night.
- Home court advantage: The Nuggets have lost only one game at home so far this season, an unexpected loss to the New Orleans Hornets. The Nuggets strongest wins at home have come against the Heat and the Lakers. The Nuggets are very very good at home.
- Threes: the Nuggets made only 6 three pointers against the Jazz in their first meeting. We know however that the Nuggets can go off from three at any time. The Nuggets made 12 against the Heat on Friday, hitting 48% of their attempts.
- Points in the paint: the Nuggets scored 68 points in the paint in their first game against the Jazz. The Jazz only had a measly 42 points in the paint.
- Controversy: Andre Miller unhappy with his role off the bench.
Whats going on with the Jazz: Our incredible Jazz have won 6 out of their last 7 games. I know we haven't faced amazingly talented teams and all but the thing is a win is a win is a win.
- Momentum: Winning builds momentum and team chemistry so despite not being overly impressive wins they are wins and they are good. If you look at my cheesy little picture you'll see that the Jazz have beaten more teams over . .500 than the Nuggets. (I also thought it interesting how good the Nuggets are when scoring 100+ points and how few times the Jazz have scored over 100, though its now three times with our win over New Jersey)
- Playing as a team: the Jazz are only 19th in the league in assists this year (20.5 apg). Phil Johnson on the post game show on KFAN commented after the New Jersey game that the Jazz are at their best when they are in the top 3 in assists in the league. The Nuggets are leading the league in assists with 24.25 apg. The Nuggets and the Jazz are both teams that don't have a super-star they both need to play as a team. During the Jazz's winning streak it seems like they share the ball more, and have more movement in the offense.
- Ignoring the crowd: the Jazz beat the Warriors on the road (their only road victory so far). To win in the Oracle is a great accomplishment. The Heat, the Bulls, and the Knicks all weren't able to beat the Warriors in the mighty Oracle. If the Jazz can control the Nuggets runs, and keep the crowd from getting too invested in the game, it will help immensely in trying to get the win.
What to expect: its hard to know what to expect this game. The Jazz have surprised us all season. We are three games over .500 and we are coming together as a team. I would not be surprised if we win this game and I also wouldn't be surprised if the Nuggets blow us out of the water.
Lets hope for a competitive game from start to finish. Lets hope we can build off the momentum from our win against New Jersey and our near win against the Lakers. Lets hope for a fun game to watch, full of Early-Oops and lots of playing time for Eric Borks.