The Denver Nuggets raised their intensity level against the Los Angeles Lakers. Tonight’s game brings a different type of challenge. Can they play with focus against a lesser team?
The Indiana Pacers are playing without their two best players as both Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy, Jr. are out for the season. Even without their two star swingmen the Pacers have a five game home winning streak. You may have heard of a couple of the teams they have beaten during that five game streak, the Orlando Magic and the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, only two of those five wins have come since Granger went down with a torn tendon in his foot.
I trust that someone has pointed that fact out to the Nuggets players so that they do not look at who is missing and ignore who will be on the floor for the Pacers.
The Pacers have been lead by some strong point guard play from T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack. Their best player though has been Troy Murphy. Murphy had a great February posting 18.5 points and 12.8 rebounds and he did so shooting over 51% from the floor and 45.5% from behind the arc although he did finish the month on a 3-15 slump from long range. Murphy is a tough matchup for many big men due to his ability to shoot from outside, plus he has very good size and a nose for the ball.
Marquis Daniels is a player Denver must look out for. He is a versatile player in the mold of John Salmons who tends to give Denver problems on offense.
As long as the Nuggets put forth a quality effort they should be able to handle whatever the Pacers throw at them. Denver has won four straight games in Indy. The last time they lost was in Carmelo Anthony’s fourth game as a professional when he shot 1-13 and the Nuggets only managed 60 points, the third fewest for a single game in franchise history. Since then offense has not been an issue. Tonight Denver will be looking to sweep the season series for the fourth time in the past five seasons.
The Nuggets defeated the Pacers earlier this year in a game that doubled as the night Jeff Foster assaulted Melo’s hand. Melo played a great game that night, even after he fractured his third metacarpal. The Nuggets defense was atrocious that night, but their tormentor was Danny Granger. The Pacers will not get 36 points from him again tonight.
The Nuggets have some big games coming up after tonight. They head to Detroit on Tuesday which has been a house of horrors for the Nuggets lately and then a back to back at home against Portland and on the road against the Jazz. A win tonight where the Nuggets continue to build off of their effort against the Lakers would be important to build momentum for the tough stretch of upcoming games.
Denver really should be able to handle the Pacers relatively easily, but if they come out soft the Pacers will jump on them and it will be a tough game till the final buzzer sounds.
Denver Nuggets Game Notes – Petro is still listed as the starter, but I would be surprised if Nene does not start
Previous Matchup: Game 36 – Den 135 Ind 115
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