Game 48: Denver Nuggets (26-21, Road: 11-9) @ Utah Jazz (25-22, Home: 18-6)
I hate Denver. Period.
This is the big one, the rubber match between our two teams. We first played on the second night of our season, and got blasted in their gym. Then 18 games later the Jazz fought hard and took a win on their court. This is the only time Jazz fans will get a chance to show their appreciation for the Nuggets. Gotta make it count tonight. I don't get the NBA schedule, I think you should play each team in your division 4 times a year -- somehow we get an odd-number of Nuggets games; despite being natural rivals.
Anyway, we're on a 5 game win streak, while the Nuggets have been an up and down team over the last 8 games after a 4 game win streak that started last month.
What's going on with the Nuggets?
The Nuggets traded Nene, and he was a major component of our only lost to Denver this season. They do have JaVale McGee in his stead, and he's a huge man with a very little brain. He blocks a lot of shots and is a fantastic athlete. And he should have won the dunk contest. He has the length and ups to disrupt a lot of shots; however, I'm not really sure he has a great pump-fake discipline. He may bite on a lot of the moves Big Al throws his way. Tonight they'll be without Rudy Fernandez, Danilo Gallinari, and THE KOOF (Kosta Koufos). So, things only get increasingly more difficult for the Nuggets. Except they replace two really good SFs with Wilson Chandler, who is a pretty great SF.
Looking at the stats, Ty Lawson (15.4 ppg, 6.8 apg, 3.8 rpg), JaVale McGee (15.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.0 bpg), Al Harrington (14.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.5 apg), Arron Afflalo (13.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.1 apg) are all guys who can step up and hurt a team that forgets they exist. Bereft of a 'go to guy' this Denver team shares the ball very well, and with Andre Miller (9.9 ppg, 6.5) conducting things anyone can hurt you.
Denver, as a team, plays at the #1 pace in the league, and scores the #1 post per game in the league. They aren't just like the Sacramento Kings, Denver is a good offensive team on its' own; being #5 in Offensive Rating. It's not by accident that they score 103.7 ppg. They aren't so hot on defense (#29 in opponents ppg: 101.8), but they seem to get it done, having 26 wins already this season, and sitting in the playoffs if it started tonight. They are #1 in FTA, #7 in three point attempts, #2 in assists, #5 in most steals, and #10 in most blocks. They run a fast game.
But we can beat them if we slow it down. I'm certain of it.
After the Jump -- What's going on with the Jazz
What's going on with the Jazz: