Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nuggets vs. Blazers: Game 9 Preview

(Boulder-CO) Last night I did my homework and watched the Trailblazers play the Pistons and I have to admit the Trailblazers look like a much improved team. Even without the services of Greg Oden, Portland has a lot of bright spots that the Nuggets are going to have to shade if they are to win again at home.

The Nuggets have literally no point guards. The Blazers have exactly three point guards. And no Blazer point guard impressed me more in last night’s game than Sergio Rodriguez. He may have only played 15 minutes, (scoring seven points, giving three assists, and grabbing two boards with no turnovers), but when Rodriguez was in the game he was, in my opinion, the difference maker in the Trailblazer’s, 102-94, win against the Pistons. Sergio made smart decisions, distributed the ball phenomenally, hit the open three, and took his man to the rack with a sense of control and poise. Needless to say, I fell in love with Rodriguez’s game last night, and would love to see a point guard like him in a Nuggets uniform. He thinks pass first, pass second, but is still able to help his team in a variety of ways without needing to shoot. Oh Sergio, how I love thee!

Another Portland point guard that has been impressive is the extremely brief Nugget, Jarrett Jack. Jarrett has scored 20+ points in three of the last four Trailblazer wins, and he is going to have to be contained if the Nuggets are to win tonight. He is a catalyst for the Trailblazers and by neutralizing him the Nuggets will disrupt Portland’s offensive flow.

Now, believe it or not, J.R. Smith and Yakhouba Diawaras’ defense on Brandon Roy is going to be the difference maker in tonight’s game. Roy comes into this game as the Trailblazer’s most potent offensive weapon with an average scoring clip of 20.6 points. He is also averaging better than five assists and leading the team in steals and minutes played. Slowing him down is going to be defensive emphasis number one, and I am very interested to see if J.R. continues to focus on playing as tough of defense as he has been playing in his last two games.

Other than that, the Blazers are on a four-game winning streak that is hopefully due to end tonight in Denver. As I briefly aforementioned, Portland played the late game last night, and as we all know, it is hard enough to win back-to-back games in the NBA and it’s even more difficult when the tail end is on the road. Also, be sure to head over to for everything Trailblazers and ask my friend Dave how that Steve Blake guy is doing!

My prediction is Denver by eight.

Go Nuggets!

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