There are also some injuries to note on both sides of the floor tonight that could play a critical role for each team. First, and more importantly, the Nuggets are potentially going to have to go without Earl Boykins due to a strained left hamstring listed as a game time decision. Luckily, a couple of other Nuggets, (Najera, Camby, and Nene), are a little bit banged up too, but have been for a while and are probably good to go for tonight’s game. Eduardo Najera will be especially critical tonight as he, along with others, are going to shoulder the majority of the load guarding Tim “The Big Fundamental” Duncan.
The Spurs on the other hand are missing a couple pieces tonight for sure. Frenchy guard Tony Parker will most likely not be in action tonight according to one of my sources as he is still ailing from a strained hip. I don’t know about you, but if Eva Longoria was my girlfriend I would have a strained hip too! I kid, I kid…
The other Spur that will definitely not be in the lineup tonight is former Nugget Francisco Elson. Elson, who I have referred to as the biggest seven-foot cupcake in the game after watching him for three excruciating years, has missed seven straight games with a torn right rotator cuff and did not make the trip back to Denver to see his old mates. Best of luck to Francisco with returning from that injury. He did have some quality flashes while in Denver, but was just not a favorite of mine (See stats while playing for the Denver Nuggets).
So here is my breakdown of how we mach-up and the chance of the Nuggets winning this game. Up front, the Nuggets should be physical with the Spurs front line because we have the guys that can come in a provide energy if guys like Najera and Nene get into a touch of foul trouble. I’m thinking Reggie Evans in particular, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a healthy dose of Sampson too, so we can set the tone for what should be a very intense, message-sending, game with the Spurs.
In the backcourt, the Nuggets should have the upper-hand with Iverson and Smith expected to start. Bruce Bowen can’t guard both of them and Beno Udrih has little to-no-shot stopping either man offensively. The guy that scares me in this game is Manu Ginobili. He is a slippery son-of-a-gun and has been notorious for giving the Nuggets headaches on offense with his fish-out-of-water flops and flails. If the Nuggets can hold Manu in check their chances of winning go up exponentially.
My other critical match-up is Marcus Camby and Fabricio Oberto. Fabricio doesn’t have tremendous stats, but he is the kind of guy that can bother the hell out a player on defense. If Marcus can take the upper-hand in this match-up it will force Tim Duncan to rotate over on defense. Leaving the likes of Reggie Evans and Eduardo Najera with the chance to establish great position on the offensive boards.
Now time for a little funny… Oberto looks a lot like Kevin Federline if K-Fed were to grow about ten inches. I had never noticed it until today, but the resemblance is strikingly evident. You tell me what you think in the comments section. Go Nuggets!