Friday, February 8, 2008

Nuggets vs. Wizards: Game 49 Preview

(Boulder-CO) With Caron Butler, All-Star, questionable tonight after missing four of the last six games with a hip flexor injury the Nuggets should be able to assist Washington lose their sixth straight game- a season-high skid. Plus, the Nuggets need to start a new winning streak at Pepsi Center after losing to the Jazz in overtime (cringe) on Wednesday night.

The Nuggets are a stout 20-6 at home so far this year while the Wizards are only 9-13 on the road. Furthermore, the Nuggets already handed the Wizards a solid defeat, 118-92, earlier this year in a game that Allen Iverson only scored 15 points in. And, once again, the Nuggets statistically are the better team across the board.

Denver is currently shooting the most free-throws per game of any team in the league, making the most free-throws per game of any team of the league, grabbing the most defensive and total rebounds per game of any team in the league, force the most turnovers per game of any team in the league, and have the most potent scoring tandem in Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony (3rd and 4th in scoring, respectively). But why, with all the great statistical accomplishments, is this team still only in the seventh position in the Western Conference if the playoffs were to start today? Consistency.

The Nuggets are still taking quarters, and sometimes, entire halves off and are trying to rely on an instant burst which sometimes comes on too little, too late. If the Nuggets could just find some substance that they can rely on for all four quarters, whether it be offensive or defensive, this team could be extremely dangerous. For example, the Spurs always play great defense. Sometimes Manu, Tony, or Tim lead the offensive charge, but they can always rely on their solid team defense. A team like the Suns always plays high-octane offense. Their defense can be flighty, but they can rely on their offense being consistent and providing them consistent W’s. The Nuggets on the other hand can not honestly say they do either of these things with any consistency. They can give a team like the Bobcats 60+ points in the first half, but then only allow something like 35 points the rest of the game. Similarly, they can put up 70 points in a half, or they can flounder and only score in the high twenties over two quarters of play.

So, with that reflection of the first 48 games of the season, I can tell you right now that tonight’s game will boil down to which Denver Nuggets show up to play. The motivated, high-scoring, defensively stingy Nuggets will most definitely give me, and another 15,000 of the Nuggets Nation, a victory tonight at the Pepsi Center. The flighty, often times lackadaisical Nuggets could make this game a whole lot more difficult than it needs to be and potentially lose to a (less) talented Washington club. Marcus Camby is a question mark (as he will be for the rest of the season), but irregardless the Nuggets have the fire power to torch the Wizards if, and only if, they bring it after a physically and emotionally draining overtime loss against the Jazz on Wednesday night.

The beauty, and sometimes the beast, of the NBA is that you get to play almost every other day. Losses can easily be forgotten with wins or they can pile up and become a burden. Which is it going to be, Denver? You’ll show me tonight.

Go Nuggets!


ThaAnswer said...

Doc, I may be wrong but I think we HAVE to make a deal before the trading deadline. We simply don't have the manpower right now to compete in the West come playoffs. If we have to get Artest then we get Artest. Give up the farm for J-Kidd, so be it. Our window is small. Remember Oden will play next year making the NW that much harder.

If it was Denver, Ohio we'd be riding high in the East but we're not so lucky!

Johnnyquest said...

I couldnt agree more with thaanswer. But i dont think that we should have a package of LK (and possibly anyone else) for Artest. I like LK a lot more and Kleiza is a proven player on this team, Artest hasn't proven anything for the Denver Nuggets. He may have had some good times in his career but he is too much of a wild card to be trading LK for him. On the other hand, if we got J-Kidd for LK i would definately take it. Jason Kidd automatically bumps us up in the conference and can provide pretty much anything that we would need on any night, points, assists, and/or rebounds. Plus i dont think that it would be that much of a chemistry experiment as it would be with Artest.

Also, as we have seen in the past, whenever the Nuggets have a good assist night all around, it usually results in a win. I dont know the exact stats on that but if we were to have Jason Kidd, our assists per game will rise. We dont even have to have Jason Kidd but if the Nuggets are serious this year, then a trade or signing needs to be done and we need to have a new face(s)here in Denver to get it done. Otherwise it looks like a first round exit again.