The Rockets come into Denver tonight on the tail end of back-to-back games after a loss last night to the Orlando Magic, 97-92. And if that was the only problem plaguing the Rockets their outlook on tonight’s game may be a little bit more positive than it is knowing that they will most likely be without their leading scorer, Tracy McGrady, who is out with a sore left knee.
On the other hand, the Nuggets have their own problems. Denver has lost its last two games and it hasn’t been because they played well and were outmatched, but rather they defeated themselves by not playing up to their ability; a trademark that seems to follow this team year-in and year-out.
In tonight’s game, there are two things that have to go right for the Nuggets if they are to stop the bleeding of their most current two-game losing streak. First, the Nuggets desperately need to share the ball to the tune of 25 or more assists. There are a lot of potent offensive weapons on this Denver Nuggets club, but unless the ball gets shared no one gets their respective offensive games revved up. Guys like J.R. Smith, Linas Kleiza, Kenyon Martin, and Marcus Camby all need to get smart touches and make them count.
The second critical point of interest in this game is Carmelo Anthony. ESPN illustrates this point perfectly in that in the Nuggets' 14 wins, Anthony has averaged 27.1 points while shooting 46.6 percent, but he has scored just 20.4 points per game on 40.3 percent shooting in the team's 10 losses. Allen Iverson may have, recently, taken the torch from Carmelo, but I’m not so sure after looking at what happens when AI leads this team in scoring that such a scenario is good for the Nuggets in the long run. Carmelo may need to be window piece of this team while AI manages things from the inside for the Nuggets to be successful.
Also as a side note, Yao got beat up pretty bad both physically and statistically by Dwight Howard last night. Marcus Camby needs to have a solid game defensively because without McGrady the Rockets are going to have to work their entire offense through Ming making Marcus just as instrumental on defense as Carmelo or AI are on offense.
Should be a good game, Nuggets Nation. One that hopefully shows some improvement in intensity and discipline from the last two dismal efforts.