Friday, February 23, 2007

Nuggets vs. Jazz Preview

(Boulder-CO) There is nothing like waking up in the morning knowing you have got killer seats to the game of the team you cover day-in and day-out. The feeling is so sweet and I can not wait to trek to Denver tonight to see the Nuggets square off with the Jazz. And you know what else? Tonight is guys’ night so that means riding the ref a little bit harder, more trash talking to any Jazz fans that are in the proximity, and certainly more boisterous celebrations when the Nuggets put out the funk with the dunk! Plus, the game is on TNT which means that the national spotlight is on Pepsi Center and the Nuggs. What else could a diehard fan want?

Getting serious for a second, the Nuggets need this win like Britney Spears needs a good wig! Ok ok, maybe the last sentence was more humorous that it was serious, but you understand the importance of this game for the Nuggets. Denver is losers of their last two and stand at 26-26 on the season with a home record of 14-14. As I outlined a few articles back, the road to the finish line is going to be a tough one for the Nuggets as they have 17 of their remaining 30 games against playoff bound teams. Not falling below .500 for even a single game is imperative because doing so would be like pouring blood in the water for the Timberwolves, Hornets, and Clippers who are all on the outside looking in to the playoff situation right now with 29 losses a piece. Down the home stretch it is important to keep an eye on the loss column because those games can not be made up. Wins can, but it is the team with the least amount of losses that is ultimately going to slide into the playoffs.

Utah is coming off a tough loss to the Portland Trailblazers after their miracle man Mehmet Okur was not able to grant them another wish at the buzzer. Utah was also without their young star point guard Deron Williams who strained his groin the Rookie/Sophomore game on Friday night of All-Star weekend. With that said, the Nuggets owe the Jazz big time. Utah has won the last five match-ups between these two teams and it is time for the Nuggets to break the streak while at the same time starting a little losing skid for the Jazz.

My keys to tonight’s game are as follows:

-Keep Mehmet within an arms reach on the three-point line. He is shooting a blistering 39.2 percent from the arch and has a way of slipping way from his man for open looks from downtown.

-Capitalize on Carlos Boozer being injured. Take the ball to the rim early and often.

-If Deron Williams does play, Allen Iverson needs to break him off a little slice of the quickness to test his groin and make him work on the defensive end of the floor. AI is due to have a big game.

-Somebody, (DerMarr, Linas, Blake, or even Yakhouba), needs to find the stroke in replacement for J.R. Smith. The Nuggets can not afford to become unable to hit from the perimeter.

-Marcus Camby needs to get back on the boards. In his last two games combined he has grabbed only eleven rebounds. The Captain is averaging better than that many per night.

-And last, but certainly not least, Carmelo Anthony needs to bounce back from his 15-point performance against the Spurs. The Nuggets need at least his 30 point average to have a realistic chance of winning this game.

I’m meeting up with Stumbleweed at halftime for a beer, so if there is anyone else that is going to be in the house tonight that is interested, and of legal age, I invite you to meet us at halftime in front of section 142 for a drink. Go Nuggets, mute the Jazz!

No comments: