The Nuggets home stand carries on as the Dallas Mavericks come to the Pepsi Center for the second time this season. The Nuggets are 2-0 against the Mavs for the first time since the 1995-96 season. They have not won the first three games of the season series against the Mavs since the 1993-1994 season.
The first matchup between the two teams was a close battle thanks to the 13 threes the Mavs dropped in. A big key in that game was the way Melo passed out of the Mavericks’ double teams. Obviously the Nuggets will not have that advantage this evening.
In the second game in Dallas Denver rode a great defensive performance to a solid ten point win. Unfortunately I have argued that was the last game the Nuggets have played solid defense for most of the night.
The Nuggets will have to play stout defense once again tonight (how’s that for some deep mystical insight?). Offensively just because Melo is not drawing double teams does not mean the Nuggets are incapable of moving without the ball and getting easy points in the paint.
Dallas, as you would expect from a jump shooting team, runs very hot and cold. Right now, they are cold having lost the first two games of their three game road trip at Phoenix and Sacramento. Jason Kidd has been bad so far in 2009. In six January games he is shooting 32.7% (28.1% from three point range) while averaging only 6.7 assists per game. After watching him in the Olympics I expected him to really drop off this season. He had a solid start to the year, but perhaps he is already wearing down.
George Karl has announced that J.R. Smith will start, but at small forward instead of shooting guard and Linas Kleiza will have to provide the offense off the bench. We can all only hope that he brings more than his 0-6 one point performance from Friday night to the table. Karl believes that he can get away with J.R. at small forward due to the fact that Josh Howard will sit out his second consecutive game after aggravating his wrist injury again. Dallas is starting Antoine Wright in Howard’s place and J.R. should be able to handle that assignment and Dahntay Jones will have to chase Jason Terry all over the floor.
The Nuggets folded up like a Monopoly board in the second half against the Detroit Pistons and hopefully with that loss in the back of their minds they will play a complete game. They have had three full days off to regroup and I think we can expect a strong effort from them tonight.
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Update: J.R. was supposed to go to New Jersey today to take part in a court hearing ragarding an auto accident he was involved in in the summer of 2007. There was no explanation given, but I guessfor one reason or another he did not need to be there. I do not know if it was postponed or if he was not required to appear after all. Of coures, this opens up the potential that he will be hauled out in handcuffs during the game for missing the hearing, which would be entertaining.