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Game Day: Utah Jazz (0-1) @ Denver Nuggets (1-0)

What's going on with the Nuggets

Denver was able to re-sign their biggest free agents in Nene and Arron Afflalo. The demand for Nene was high but when a trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers that involved Houston -- a preferred landing spot for Nene -- he ended up re-signing with the Nuggets. Shortly after that, Afflalo re-signed and their important core was back.

As far as the early season goes, the Nuggets simply went down the defending champs' house and blew them out with the lead totaling more than thirty at one point. Given that the Jazz didn't get in to Denver until almost sunrise coupled with the fact that Denver has has a rest and are actually a good team, this doesn't bode well.

What's going on with the Jazz

Nothing good so far, that's for sure. You can lay the blame on the lockout, the new team, the lack of practice, the new coach -- whatever you would like. You can't go wrong with blaming one or all of them.

The Jazz have no time to try and regroup. You would expect that things can only get better after last night's debacle but Denver plays well together despite having the same player turnover that the Jazz do. The Jazz are in a bit of a different spot going forward. The Nuggets received veterans in their deal with the Knicks while the Jazz were primarily going after draft picks and potential.

So things aren't looking good for the team. Tonight's game doesn't afford them to make many mistakes. The Nuggets played some great D on big D and last night's shooting woes might continue.

Lineups, Records

Nuggets - (1-0)

Starters: Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Danillo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, Nen

Jazz - (0-1)

Starters: Devin Harris, Raja Bell, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Al Jefferson

What to look for

Ty Lawson should scare every living (and some dead) Jazz fan around. After getting torched by Derek Fisher last night, Devin Harris is going to have problems keeping Lawson in front of him tonight. That's not to mention Arron Afflalo having his way with Raja Bell. Expect lots of penetration tonight and easy dish offs to Nene or kickouts to Gallinari.

What you should look forward to as a jazz fan is improvement. There's lots of room for everyone in that regard. Specifically:

  • Finishing around the rim. The Jazz got a lot of offensive rebounds last night (18) but quite a few of those came on missed tips. The Jazz have the size, even against the Nuggets front court, to be able to finish.
  • Limiting penetration. This is going to be key if the Jazz are to keep this respectable. If Lawson or Afflalo are in the paint all night, it's going to be even longer than last night.
  • Making shots and running the offense. It doesn't get much worse for an NBA team when they shoot 32% from the field. There seem to be no defined roles on the team with each player not knowing who should be doing what. There needs to be some balance brought to the team and for now, how things are run is primarily up to Devin Harris. The point guard is the leader on the floor for most teams and he should be here as well.

Previous meetings

No previous meetings for these two teams this season.


Denver Stiffs

Other notes

Game time - 7:00 p.m. MST

Game thread at 6:30 p.m.