Hey look everyone my ESPN colleague John Hollinger agreed to put together the game preview for today. OK, Hollinger has no idea who I am, but you should check out his Per Diem article for today to get all the key elements of tonight’s matchup between the Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Hornets.
Hollinger is very high on both of these teams and his projections call for Denver and New Orleans to finish second and third in the west with very comparable records. If the seeding holds they would face off in the semifinals and the tiebreaker could determine who has home court and potentially who makes it to the Western Conference Finals. Thus the final two games of the season series, both in New Orleans, are huge games for both teams. The winner of tonight’s game will be assured that they cannot lose the season series as they will be up 2-1 with one game left.
I do disagree with Hollinger’s belief that Chauncey needs to play Chris Paul to a draw in order for the Nuggets to win. Of course Chauncey has to play well, but I think the key to the game is how badly the rest of the Nuggets roster can out produce the other Hornets. Denver has a big advantage at every position other than the point and small forward (although if Dahntay Jones can play solid defense on Peja Stojakovic that matchup will even up a bit as Peja does little if he is not scoring), including the bench.
The two players that worry me not named Chris Paul are Hilton Armstrong, who has had two good performances against the Nuggets in limited minutes, and Rasual Butler who always seems to put up big numbers against Denver. Also, I would also be remiss if I did not mention former Nugget James Posey. In both of the first two games he hit big threes in the last couple of minutes. Hopefully he will not have the opportunity to do so tonight. Even so Denver should be able to control the paint and hopefully as a result, the game.