Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Nuggets vs. Blazers Preview

(Boulder-CO) Tonight’s match-up presents a chance for the Nuggets to return to .500, but more importantly the opportunity is there to fend off the Clippers who are just a game and a half behind the Nuggets in the eighth seed out west. I think it’s safe to say that nobody, and I do mean NOBODY, wants to see the Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs which is where the eighth seed will inevitably land.

In the last three match-ups these two teams have played the Nugget have been winners of two of the three. Portland’s lone win came on New Year’s Eve by way of a 100-91 effort where Brandon Roy and Zach Randolph combined for 51 points and 21 rebounds. Allen Iverson did not play in that game, but the Nuggets were badly out rebounded and shot poorly from the field.

Tonight’s game will be decided on the defensive end. The Nuggets have been showing signs of progress on D and need to keep building on that aspect of their game in hopes of eventually playing their best D of the year come playoff time. I honestly feel that as this team plays better and better on defense, they will also succeed on offense due to having the ability to fast-break more often. More fast-break means more easy buckets, assists, and teamwork which will without a doubt have a positive effect in the long run.

Realistically, and I hope I am wrong, Linas Kleiza is not going to have the kind of game we saw against the Sacramento Kings all the time, so it is paramount for the Nuggets to find another 16-20 point scorer. With a potent fast-break, I think that not only is such an order possible, but rather more probable than not. AI and Carmelo are going to get their 25-30 points, so it is of the up most importance that Denver find a third offensive threat while J.R. Smith continues to rehabilitate. I’m looking in the direction of Marcus Camby tonight due to the Blazers having an obvious deficiency at the center position.

Other than that, Nuggets Nation… I promised a surprise and a surprise you shall receive. Along with a game recap for the Nuggets vs. Blazers due later on tonight, I have been asked to participate in this week's “NBA Roundtable” set to drop sometime tomorrow. We will be discussing Dwayne Wade’s owie, underachievers, overachievers, and some other interesting topics, so stay fresh over the next 24 hours, right here, on The Nugg Doctor.

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