2008-09 Game 52: Denver Nuggets at Miami Heat Game Thread

Carmelo Anthony has had some pretty good regular season success against his friends LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.  This season he lost his upper hand with James as the Nuggets were swept, and completely embarrassed in Denver, by Cleveland.  Hopefully Melo can continue his success against Wade and the Miami Heat tonight. 

The Nuggets have won three games in a row at Miami, including an overtime thriller last season, seven in a row overall and eight of the last nine between the two teams.

In their first meeting this season the Nuggets were playing their first game without Carmelo Anthony after he fractured his hand.  The Nuggets came out with impressive defensive intensity in the first half and they largely held Wade in check.  The second half was completely different as Wade heated up and the offense went into chucker mode. 

Miami traditionally doubles Melo, which would open up opportunities for the other Nuggets on offense.  However, this is the first time the two teams have played with Erik Spoelstra as coach of the Heat and Melo active.  It will be interesting to see if he conjures up a similar scheme as his former mentor Pat Riley. 

Defensively Denver will have to use their man with zone principles scheme to keep Wade out of the lane and force him to shoot jumpers.  Tonight Wade will equal the number of games he has played in the past two seasons as he takes the floor for the 51st time.  Wade is having a incredible season, but surprisingly he is shooting a career worst 73.9% from the free throw line including a startlingly low 71.3% at home.  He is also taking twice as many three pointers as he ever has before averaging three attempts a game this season even though he only hits on 28.3% of them.  That increase in three point shooting almost solely accounts for his slight drop in shooting percentage this season. 

Denver, and more specifically Anthony Carter, must do a better job in transition as Chalmers and Wade are capable of pushing the pace and getting to the rim.  Miami is a relatively slow paced team, but they will run when the opportunity presents itself. 

The Nuggets will also have to make sure that they contain Wade’s supporting cast.  There is no Heat player that averages as much as half of Wade’s 28.3 points per game, but they have five other players who average double figures (Beasley, Marion, Haslem, Chalmers and Cook).  Any one of those guys can go off.  In the first meeting between these two teams this season it was Marion who had a big night on offense with 25, but Beasley, Chalmers and Haslem (Cook did not play) were all held right around their averages and the result was an 11 point win for the Nuggets.  Generally the Heat need three of their five secondary scorers to put up above average games in order to pull out a victory. 

As far as any recent streaks Miami is 5-1 in their last six home games since a loss to the Boston Celtics almost three weeks ago and the Nuggets are 2-1 on their current five game road trip heading into the All-Star break.

The Nuggets are clearly the better team, but it is not easy to beat a decent team, especially one with a great player, over and over again.  As a fan one thing we have going in our favor is the fact that the Nuggets are coming off a 44 point embarrassment with two days to sit and stew about it and I think we can expect as good of an effort as we have seen all season. 

Denver Nuggets Game Notes

Previous Matchup:   Game 37 – Den 108 Mia 97

Featured Blog:  Peninsula is Mightier

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  • Josh Hopp

    Cook didn’t play in our last meeting and he’s healthy tonight. He scored 11 points in the 4th quarter in the Heats last game, a win against Charlotte. He will be significant tonight.

  • Josh Hopp

    I hate that choice of shot by kmart

  • Josh Hopp

    I know you can’t play D wade close cause he’ll blow by you, but Jones is giving him too much space

  • Josh Hopp

    THAT WAS AN OFFENSIVE FOUL ON WADE

  • Josh Hopp

    3 on nene. bad

  • Josh Hopp

    Bird is hurt and will almost certainly miss Orlando.

  • Josh Hopp

    god I hate this team sometimes, I honestly do.

  • Josh Hopp

    We get a lead and start slapping each others asses and high fiving and fucking playing like trash

  • NuggetsandRockiesGirl

    Wade is a great player, but that doesn’t mean he should get away with everything, ugh.

  • NuggetsandRockiesGirl

    5th AWFUL call on Nene

  • UnarmingMermaid

    I didn’t realize that DWade had been granted impunity for this game.

  • UnarmingMermaid

    I couldn’t hear the audio for much of this game…what’s the story with Birdzilla?

  • UnarmingMermaid

    “Mr. BigShot” is earning his moniker.

  • NuggetsandRockiesGirl

    Nice basket by Mr. Big Shot!

  • UnarmingMermaid

    Great great win. This was an all around excellent effort by the Nuggets. Defense showed up huge. Way to go Nugs!!!

  • Josh Hopp

    Ended up being a very good showing down the stretch in the 4th, particularly from Chauncey. Our 3 point shooting has got to be a season low though, and against Orlando we can not give up those stretches where we just fall asleep. The Jameer Nelson injury gives us a chance tomorrow, and he just torched us in our last meeting, but Anthony Johnson has stepped up admirably so we will have our work cut out.

  • jakester

    Extremely bizarre stats tonight (not having watched the game): Melo 9-11 FT; rest of Nuggets 3-3! Wade 8-12 FT; rest of Heat 4-4.

    Regardless, a solid W for the Nugs. Let’s try to steal one tomorrow, men!