Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Nuggets vs. Jazz: Game 48 Preview

(Boulder-CO) The Jazz will enter tonight's game looking for their tenth straight victory. Since reeling off the last nine straight wins by an average of 13.7 points, the Jazz have taken control of the Northwest Division and currently lead the second place Nuggets by one game while both teams have the same amount of losses (18). And just in case the hyped Jazz have forgot... The last team to hand them a loss was, you guessed, the Denver Nuggets!

Tonight's game is equally important in relation to the tightest divisional race in the league and to each team individually. The Jazz are looking to win ten consecutive games for the first time since the stretch of April 2nd through the 18, 1999, when they won 11 straight. On the other hand, the Nuggets are looking to win their fourth straight game while having to battle inconsistencies in their line-up due to a plethora of injuries ranging from a twisted ankle to testicular cancer. The Jazz are enjoying the benefits (15-2 since the trade) of shipping disgruntle forward Gordon Giricek to Philadelphia for Kyle Korver. Meanwhile, the Nuggets have been enjoying the benefits of emerging third scoring option Linas Kleiza and the solid play of reserve center Steven Hunter. A win for either team tonight will surely carry over into the swagger of the respective ball club, and for the Nuggets, would give them a very important jump on controlling the divisional series in the event that there would be a tie between the Jazz and Nuggets since Denver already beat Utah once on the back of Linas Kleiza's 41-point performance.

Now, with all that being put out on the table, the one aspect of Utah's current winning streak that has to come to an end if the Nuggets are to knock off the Jazz has to do with three-point shooting. In the last nine games, Utah has made 41.7 percent of its long range attempts which is a full 5% higher than the cumulative average for the entire team up to this point in the season. And while Kyle Korver has certainly had something to do with Utah's recent high percentage from beyond the arch, even he is only shooting an even 40% (a team-high) from downtown leading me to believe that this recent rash of heat from downtown is due to cool off. The only thing that scares me about this is the Nuggets have not been the best team when it comes to perimeter defense. And in all actuality... Denver is one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to opposing teams' long distance connection rate with the sixth worst clip of 37%, which is only a tenth of a percent behind the worst team in the league.

In addition, whether or not Marcus Camby and Eduardo Najera play will also be huge, but if there is anything the first 47 games should have taught the Nuggets it is that regardless of who suits up the players that do have to bring it.

Other aspects of tonight's game to keep an eye on are the defensive efficiency of Anthony Carter on Deron Williams and Kenyon Martin on Carlos Boozer, and vice versa with Ronnie Brewer on Allen Iverson and Kirilenko on 'Melo. It is probably not too far of a stretch to proclaim that the team whose All-Stars out perform the others will most likely win.

It would also bring me great pleasure for the entire Nuggets Nation to head over to My Utah Jazz for some spirited trash talking which I'm sure there is going to be plenty of here, and over at their blog.

This is a big game any way you want to look at it. C'mon Nuggets, get that W!

Go Nuggets!


Scrumtrulescent said...

I agree, no Camby would be HUGE. But the Jazz may be w/o Kirilenko, which could be equally huge. I am a Jazz fan so I'm going to take the Jazz, but not by much. I like our momentum and our defense, 106 - 101

Scrumtrulescent said...

This just in: Kirilenko WILL play

C.B. Jack said...

Sorry McNuggets fans. Jazz are going to take this one away. Linas will need his blanket to wipe away his tears. There is no Doctor to fix a beating like the Nuggs are about to take.

Jazz 118 Nuggs 104

Nugg Doctor said...

Good to know, scrumtrulescent. I figured he would. Now, it's just a matter of who shows up for the Nuggets...

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

Nugg Doctor said...

Oh SNAP! We have a heckler, ladies and gentlemen. And, even worse, a Jazz fan :)

Thanks for reading (and don't ever bring your Jazz lovin' ass to these here parts of the interwebs again),

The Nugg Doctor

Scrumtrulescent said...

While I wouldn't agree with his attitude, but he did nail the Jazz score. Hell of a game, had 2 shots to win it. Glad we don't have to play there anymore.

Boozers Hammy said...

Damn hooey that game felt good. I think that the fat lady is singing on your chances for the Northwest title. Thanks for playing this year guys, it has been fun.

C.B. Jack said...

I came close on the score. Best Nugg blog on the web...right here.

D-Will said...

The nuggets are all offense and no deffense.Ya its good to score 110 points in a game but not to give up 110 each game. Jazz will mop the floor with the Mcnuggets in the 2008-2009 season