Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Game 19: Raptors @ Nuggets

(Boulder-CO) The Denver Nuggets play host to the Toronto Raptors tonight and I've come up with the five most important points/match-ups of the game.

1. Carmelo Anthony says his elbow, "feels good when I'm not doing anything. But when I start to shoot and pass, that's when it starts hurting." I can sympathize with 'Melo because I too have had an elbow injury and the most routine basketball movement can twinge it and cause it to ache. Something as second nature as dribbling the ball becomes an agonizing task after any small movement causes the pain to return. 'Melo goes on to add about not playing in tonight's game, "(The team) is going to have to tell me that, because it's hard for me to say I'm not playing. I'm not used to that." Whether or not 'Melo can go will dictate how much of an overall team effort the Nuggets will need.
2. The Nugget bigs (Kenyon Martin, Nene, and the Birdman) are going to have to try and contain Chris Bosh. The Toronto Raptor big man is having his best year to date and is averaging 26.8 points and more than ten rebounds per game. He is the catalyst to everything that Toronto wants to execute offensively and as the Raptor's loss to the Lakers on Sunday proves - when Bosh is disrupted with solid defense Toronto really struggles. Bosh was held to just 12 points in that contest and the Raptors lost, 112-99. The good news for the Nuggets is Toronto power forward Jermaine O'Neal did not play in the Raptors last game due to a sore sprained ankle and is questionable tonight.
3. The match-up between Chauncey Billups and Jose Calderon will also be pivotal. Calderon is the now the East's best point guard with a conference-high 9.6 assists and also boasts the league's best assist to turnover ratio at an astounding 5:1 rate. Billup's defensive skills will be crucial in stopping the lightning quick Spaniard and I would like to see him exploit Calderon in the post offensively.
4. Bench scoring is another area that the Nuggets will need if they are to win. The Raptors have a talented crew of reserves including Andrea Bargnani and Jason Kapono, but when the Denver bench is clicking I do not believe there is a better set of substitutes. LK, J.R. Smith, and Anthony Carter need to neutralize the contribution of Toronto's second line and then some; something they are easily capable of.
5. Three-point shooting is the final area I feel the Nuggets need to worry about in tonight's contest. The Raptors are shooting the league's third highest percentage (40.7) from downtown and the three-point arch is an area that the Nuggets have been susceptible. Denver has to contest the long range marksmanship of Andrea Bargnani, Jason Kapono, Anthony Parker, Jose Calderon, and Jamario Moon who all shoot over 38% from distance.
There you have it, Nuggets Nation. Win the key points of the preview and win the game. Say it with me now...
Go Nuggets!


Doc said...

Good luck tonight your boys Nugg.

I don't foresee my Raptors being that much competition for the Nuggets but I hope I'm wrong. Good news for us though is that JO is playing and feels ready to go again.

Cheers man

Doc from Raptors Forum

Nugg Doctor said...

Damn. I guess we'll just have to let the Birdman have his way with him.

Thanks for the tip, and for reading,

The Nugg Doctor