2008-09 Game 44: Denver Nuggets vs Utah Jazz Game Thread

Once again the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz face off with both teams missing an all-star.  Carmelo Anthony will miss his eighth straight game for the Nuggets and Carlos Boozer will miss his 32nd straight game for the Jazz.

Paul Millsap has put up huge numbers in Boozer’s absence putting up over 18 points and 11 rebounds.  They are not hollow numbers either.  A quick perusal of 82games.com shows us how effective Millsap has been.  The Jazz (Jazz’s?,  Jazzs’?, Jazz’?) offensive efficiency with Millsap on the court is 4.9 points better than when he is off the court and their defensive efficiency is 6.3 points better with Millsap on the floor than without him.  Boozer’s on court/off court efficiencies pace in comparison to Millsap’s.  The combination of Millsap’s net efficiency is +11.1 while Boozer is a -4.6.  Millsap’s production has Jazz fans, and probably their front office, wondering if they should ship Boozer out of town by the trade deadline.

The Nuggets have not been quite so lucky in replacing Melo.  Both J.R. Smith and Linas Kleiza have been very inconsistent in his absence.  Both had great offensive games against the Sad-ramento Kings.  Hopefully they can both build on those performances. 

From a matchup standpoint I think I would like to see Nene guard Millsap as I think he might be a little too strong for Kenyon.  I think Kenyon is also better suited than Nene to cover Okur when he is on the perimeter.  Okur does have an underrated post game though and Kenyon would have to make sure he keeps Okur from getting good position when he goes down to the block. 

Deron Williams has typically had big games against the Nuggets.  The scuttlebutt is that Dahntay Jones will return tonight from his slightly separated shoulder he suffered during warm-ups against the Kings (and the same article says Melo is shooting without pain and should hit his goal of playing Friday against the Charlotte Bobcats).  If Jones returns to the starting lineup look for him to guard Williams.  He has done a good job of playing physical defense with Jose Calderon and Chis Paul and hopefully he can do the same against Williams.

The Jazz played a tough game last night against the Cleveland Cavaliers and they continue to struggle on the road.  Even George Karl has give his blessing on calling tonight’s January matchup a big game (although he did not actually call it a big game himself).  If the Nuggets lose tonight they basically have no chance at winning the tie breaker or even just splitting the season series.

Oops, I forgot the links that no one ever clicks on…

Denver Nuggets Game Notes

Featured Blog:  SLC Dunk

Previous Matchup:  Game 1 – Den 94 Utah 98

  • Josh Hopp

    Big game against our previous division overlords, now struggling. Its been said a million times that the drop off from Boozer to Millsap isn’t nearly as big as was previously thought, in fact in may not be a finite drop at all. Having said that, we need to capatilse on the their loss of depth at the 4 and 3 if AK47 doesn’t dress. Let’s go Nuggets; have a good start, attack the rim, move the basketball and D up.

  • CCH

    Soooo pumped for this game. They had issues with their charter jet last night and couldn;t fly out till today. Lets hope they are nice and tired for tonight. On the other hand it always scares me the nuggs are rusty after too much rest.

  • Foshiggidy

    Also very stoked for this game for many reasons.

    We still haven’t played Utah with Billups. Regardless of who is injured and not playing, the reason we have been getting worked over by Utah these past few years is because they play sound, team ball. Aside from a few games, Billups has brought that attitude to Denver and I am sure they will want to give Utah a whippin’ for the ones they have laid on us recently.

    Apparently, Utah has a horrible back-to-back record in the second game and Denver has to know this and take HUGE advantage of it. Williams is banged up, AK-47 is banged up and Boozer is out.

    Putting Utah out by 4.5 games doesn’t sound big, but to me, it is a HUGE game and 2.5 vs. 4.5 is a big difference at this point in the year.

  • CCH

    attack attack attack!

  • CCH

    coming out guns blazin

  • Josh Hopp

    That wasn’t a foul on JR, bad call. The kid is playing well.

  • Josh Hopp

    What the heck was that call on Billups for?

  • CCH

    it was on kleiza actually for bumping millsaps.

  • Josh Hopp

    Gee JR can not resist taking those heat check hail mary 3s

  • Josh Hopp

    Yes JR, that’s the 3 we want from you

  • CCH

    beautiful!!!!!!! we are smothering their bench.

  • Josh Hopp

    If we stop Kyle Korver, we will definitely win.

  • Josh Hopp

    Jazz slowly but surely wittling away at us. Perimeter D should be our #1 priority from now on out.

  • CCH

    Their Zone d definately slowed us down.

  • Jordo5150

    We need a big first 5 minutes coming out of half.

  • Jordo5150

    Ask and ye shall receive! Looking good!

  • CCH

    Nene straight killed it.

  • Josh Hopp

    Important win for us, Nene was 12-12 from the field, must be one of the best 100% from the field performances this season leauge wide and good for his 1% lead over Shaq in his domination of the league record for FG%. Well done Nugs, now say goodbye to the Pepsi center, its time to hit the bitumen.

  • UnarmingMermaid

    Just got home from the game. Solid effort by the Nugs. Finally got an early lead and managed to not give it up. Nene was 12 for 12 shooting FGs…tied Nugs record. Overall a fun and satisfying game.