Monday, January 29, 2007

Nuggets vs. Bobcats Preview

(Boulder-CO) No rocket science here. The Nuggets need a win in the worst kind of way after dropping two tough games back-to-back and the Bobcats have been struggling to find the winning recipe all year long. The Nuggets can not afford to sleep on Charlotte because the ‘Cats are a team with seven players averaging double figures in points although they do not have an average better than 15. Point being, the Nuggets can expect a spirited effort out of everyone in opposing jerseys and will have to play defense as a team if the young Bobcats are to be subdued.

When you look at this Charlotte team the first thing that comes to mind is that this is some kind of college All-America team. Of their seven players averaging double-digits in scoring the list has an average age of about 25. It includes three players that are 22, (May, Felton, and Morrison), and two 24-year olds in Okafor and Gerald Wallace.

Charlotte has lost three of its last four games with their only win coming in the form of an OT victory against the Lakers. They average around 95 points per game and if the Nuggets are to win they need to jump out to an early lead and keep extending that lead throughout the game. I do not think that tonight’s game is going to get out of hand all at one time, and that is why I think that if the Nuggets can just play three to four points better in each quarter they will find themselves comfortably in the lead around the mid way point of the fourth. Charlotte has one great defensive stopper in Gerald Wallace, but will probably have a hard time containing Allen Iverson and J.R. Smith if the Nuggets will play sound team basketball.

The player the Nuggets are going to have to put in check is Emeka Okafor. The third year pro is having a breakout season averaging 15 points, nearly 12 boards, and three blocks. His offensive game doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles, but he is a meat and potatoes kind of player that just gets it done. My prescribed strategy would be to aggressively take the ball to the rack early and try to hit the big man with a couple of quick fouls to disrupt the flow of the game from coming to him. If he is over on the sidelines, the Bobcats become much more vulnerable inside and the Nuggets will be able to exploit that with their front three.

My last point of emphasis is that Allen Iverson has to have a bounce-back game from his 18-point performance against the Nets. He finished that game 6-19 as a result of too many contested jumpers and I would like to see him eclipse the ten assist mark against the ‘Cats. Such a mark he hasn’t met or passed since last Tuesday against the Sonics and surprise, surprise that was the last Nuggets win.

The Charlotte Bobcats are a team that a playoff-bound team like the Nuggets is supposed to beat at home. It discerns me that the Nuggets are only 12-11 at Pepsi center because the upper echelon teams in the NBA take care of business in their own building. Tonight’s game should be a victory if the Nuggets play the way the are capable of. They are a superior team on paper, it is at home, and they have lost their last two games. If that doesn’t get them up and ready to play, I don’t know what will. Time to right the ship, men. Take care of dem ‘Cats!


RD said...

Start Camby, Melo, AI, JR and Edaurdo. Bring Blake in off the bench with Nene, Evans, Kleiza & Yak. The starters need to jell soon. I think JR and EN are sparkplugs that put teams behind the 8-ball early. My theory, play your best against the other team's best and sub whwn the other team subs. Match-ups are important.

Seth said...

watch out for matt carroll, yo.

king_couttsy said...

Man, I hope you're feeling as disappointed as I am. Why is it we are just struggling to play any semblance of defence? We're playing against one of the worst sides in the NBA, and sure enough, we have trouble doing the little things - getting a hand up in someone's face, boxing out... It's supposed to be simple, yet this side just continues to play poorly.

What's the deal?

btalk said...

Last night's loss leaves me wondering if we shouldn't have been asking will there be enough defense to go around, not will there be enough shots to go around! It's easy to sit on my couch and criticize, but the most glaring defensive weakness comes from overall lack of stopping penetration. When the Nuggs don't do that, bad things happen...lay ups, open looks from outside because the defense is collapsed, and maybe, more importantly, long offesive rebounds by the opponent since our guards are not only allowing penetration, but get caught in the lane following the guy they just let dribble passed them!! For every time AI steals a pass, there's 3 times he flies through the passing lane, misses the steal, takes himself out of the play, and allows a 4 on 5 situation. Call me old school, or call me just old, but a little deny/open, defensive stance with proper footwork would go a long ways.

Nugg Doctor said...

Spoken like an old coach, Btalk. Maybe the Nuggets could use a session with you!

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor