2008-09 Game 57: Denver Nuggets vs Boston Celtics Game Thread

The Nuggets have won games this season without Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen.  They have yet to win a game this season without Nene.  In fact the Nuggets Pythagorean projected record without Nene is roughly 6-72.  Before you get overly panicked keep in mind that they have only played once sans Nene this season, a 109-91 loss at Atlanta, so things may not as hopeless as the numbers would lead you to believe. 

Kenyon Martin is expecting to play tonight, but I doubt a two or three hour plane ride is good for a balky back.  Carmelo Anthony is still smarting from a bruised knee as well.  As the bumps and bruises mount the Trail Blazers are surging and Utah is fully healthy for the first time this season and is playing with added motivation after the emotional loss of their popular owner Larry Miller. 

Boston will be playing without all everything Kevin Garnett.  The Celtics have done alright with KG in business casual having racked up a 4-0 record without the Big Ticket after dropping the Suns in Phoenix. 

Without Nene the Nuggets will have to work to get points in the paint.  Look for Melo, Martin and Chauncey to post up a little more in an attempt to either get shots in the lane or draw a double to initiate a cut to the rim or ball reversal.  My fear is they will just settle for jumpers though.  That is why for the Nuggets to win I think aside from Melo and Chauncey, J.R. Smith will have to provide an efficient offensive game. 

Out of the nine games in January J.R. has scored in single digits six times.  He has gotten away from the role of set up man that was working so well and during the last two losses is back to chucking a little too much for comfort. 

On the defensive end the Nuggets will miss Nene on the boards.  Even though he is far from a vacuum cleaner on the boards he is the only Nugget with the size to keep Kendrick Perkins off the offensive glass.  Chris Andersen, Kenyon Martin and Johan Petro are all going to make sure they find Perkins every time the Celtics take a shot. 

The Nuggets do have a two game winning streak against Boston and they notched their signature win of the season in a defensive clash in Boston earlier this season.  Denver will have to get that grittiness back in their game if they want to push their streak against Boston up to three games.  The big men will have to show strongly on screens and not allow Rondo to either drive around them or cut inside of them into the paint on screens and they must be prepared to rotate and be in motion before the ball is in the air to close out on Boston’s shooters Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Eddie House and Brian Scalabrine can all drain threes).   

It is common for teams coming home after a road trip to play a little flat their first game back at home and even though the Nuggets last road trip was only three games, they have not played at the Pepsi Center since February 3rd.  Hopefully they fact that the defending World Champions are in town and the need to raise their intensity and focus in the absence of Nene will prevent that from happening.  With both teams having played yesterday and short handed we could be in for an ugly game.

Denver Nuggets Game Notes

Previous Matchup:  Game 9 – Den 94 Bos 85

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  • UnarmingMermaid

    I’m sort of sensing that the Nugs are gonna get beat down tonight…I really hope I am wrong.

  • UnarmingMermaid

    Who is the asshole that made our schedule this year? After three weeks on the road we get the 2nd of back to back games against the Celtics as our first game back at home?

  • UnarmingMermaid

    Nugs seem to be picking up where they left off last night…and I’m already pissed about it.

  • UnarmingMermaid

    Well? Hate to say ‘I told you so’. Worst loss in Pepsi Center history.

    Bright spot: The Celtics had a stretch earlier in the season that they went 2-7 against some mediocre teams. They were able to bounce back strong and have been rolling ever sense. Well…this is our tought stretch and the Nugs will need to show that they have the mental toughness and tenacity to bounce back strong too. Time to get healthy, rested, forget about this game, and get ready for ATL.

  • BeefySwats

    I have to say I am ashamed to be a Nuggets fan tonight.

    The Nuggets now have just a 1 game lead over Portland and a 3 game lead over Utah.

    If they were going to play like this they could have saved everyone the trouble and just told them to stay home.

    There are too many awful things to comment about for this game, so I’ll just mention one.

    Coaching. Karl has AC guard Paul Pierce on two consecutive possessions, both of which he scores on. Defense is a concern, so of course Karl doesn’t play Balkman.

    Just terrible. I really think that the Nuggets are going to go 0-3 on this home stand, but I hope they prove me wrong.