Friday, March 23, 2007

Nuggets vs. Raptors Preview

(Boulder-CO) It is back to square one tonight when the Nuggets take on the Raptors in Toronto. Square one meaning a critical component (Marcus Camby) is banged up, no momentum of a win streak (you lucky dog, Tyrus Thomas), and the Nuggets are once again on the road in the tail end of back-to-back games. Add on the fact that the Raptors are currently seeded fourth in the Eastern Conference’s playoff picture and the Nuggets really have their work cut out for them.

I’ve heard that Reggie Evans should be expecting to play some very meaningful minutes tonight in addition to the Nuggets needing Nene to continue to be the rebounding machine that he has been in his last three games. “Big Brazil” is averaging eleven rebounds in the last three games, which is a tremendous bump from his 6.4 season average. Reggie “The Joker” Evans should also be plenty rested after not playing last night and seeing very few minutes in the last stretch of ten games.

The two player match-ups that I am most interested in from Denver’s perspective are Allen Iverson with - runner-up in the “Who’s the quickest player in the NBA” poll - T.J. Ford and Carmelo Anthony with Jorge Garbajosa. Ford is a tremendous point guard whose pass first mentality is often overshadowed by his 14.3 point average. Ford also plays exceptional defense averaging just under two steals a game. He and Iverson should be a little mini-game in themselves as to who can dictate the tempo of the game for their respective teams. It should also be noted that this is the first game that Allen Iverson has played against the Raptors since becoming a Nugget.

As for the match-up with ‘Melo and Garbajosa… The only reason why I am so interested in this match-up is for how many points Carmelo will put up on the Spaniard. Carmelo scored 34 points last time he faced the Raptors and a like performance will assist the Nuggets in hopes of a victory.

Another sub-point of this game’s preview is nothing more than a public service announcement for Chris Bosh. The sometimes forgotten fourth amigo of the 2003 draft is having a spectacular year and is coming off a performance of 34 points and 16 rebounds against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. After a rookie season where LeBron, Carmelo, and Dwayne stole all the headlines, Chris has continued to improve in each of his first four seasons in the NBA and is becoming a force at power forward. He is currently averaging a double-double of 22.9 points, 10.5 rebounds, and nearly two and a half assists.

My last game note is the Nuggets haven’t lost a game to the Raptors since December 30th, 2003. I don’t want to see that streak end tonight, so Denver better come out running and gunning. Time to rock the Raptors, Go Nuggets!

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