2008-09 Game 63: Denver Nuggets at Utah Jazz Game Thread

Tonight the Denver Nuggets have a shot at proclaiming to the world that the Northwest Division is theirs and they will not tolerate any discussion implying otherwise.  A win in Utah would put a stop to the Jazz’s nine game winning streak and reestablish a two game lead over Portland and a two and a half game lead over the Jazz.

I will leave how likely that scenario is up to you.  The Nuggets are just 1-6 against the Jazz since 2005-06 and the average margin in those seven games is Jazz plus 12.4.  Three of the Nuggets six losses over that seven game stretch were by 21 points or more.  Last season they lost both games in Utah by 27 points.  If you think that is bad the Nuggets are 3-22 against Utah since the 1996-97 season.  Ouch.  Utah has the best home winning percentage in the NBA over the previous two seasons accumulating a 64-10 record. 

The Nuggets have not been terrible on back to backs as they are 7-9 for a winning percentage of .438.  In games played with at least one day of rest the Nuggets are 33-13 good for a winning percentage of .717.  That is the second largest difference between those two situations in the NBA ahead of only the Utah Jazz who are a shockingly bad 3-11 on the second night of back to backs.  Unfortunately for the Nuggets Utah was off yesterday.  Carmelo also has the largest disparity among active players in scoring average between games with at least one day of rest (24.8) and on the second night of back to backs (22.3).

On opening night the short handed Nuggets (sans Melo) battled the short handed Jazz (sans Deron Williams) pretty well, but still fell by four.  Both teams are completely different at this point in the season and I do not think there is anything to extrapolate out of the events of that evening.

The Jazz have a very versatile offense.  They love to grind out possessions with cross screens and back picks designed to get easy shots around the rim, but once you start packing the defense in the lane players like Williams, Mehmet Okur and Kyle Korver will start killing you from behind the arc.

Kenyon Martin is questionable for the game and I think you can count on him sitting this one out.  That makes for some rough matchups for the Nuggets bigs.  I would guess that Nene being more mobile than Johan Petro, will cover Okur.  Andersen is not a great matchup for either Okur’s outside game or Boozer’s power game. 

The Nuggets are also going to have to figure out a way to slow down Ronnie Brewer who is posting 17.8 points per game over his last 17 contests.  He has not shot under 40% for a single game since January 20th when he went 1-4.  J.R. Smith has played some very good on the ball defense lately, but chasing Brewer around screens and keeping track of him when he slashes in from the weak side is a completely different experience than just staying in front of Kobe or Brando Roy.  Tonight we will get a good glimpse of how far J.R. has come in his defensive improvement.

Of course Denver also has to worry about the scoring and passing of Williams.  He is one of the toughest covers in the league and after a subpar game last time out against Denver he will be looking to slice and dice them up.

Denver Nuggets Game Notes

Previous Matchups:  Game 1 – Den 94 Uta 98 | Game 44 – Den 117 Uta 97

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  • BeefySwats

    I swear to god, tonight’s lineups are fucking weird.

    Melo-Kleiza-Balkman-Andersen-Chauncey? WTF?

    Balkman has 7 points and EIGHT rebounds with 5:25 to play in the 2nd quarter. Holy crap.

    What shitty, ticky-tack fouls in Utah. I cannot believe they made that call on Melo rather than Kirilenko when he was draped all over him.

  • UnarmingMermaid

    I hate the fucking nuggets sometimes.

  • BeefySwats

    WHY. DOES. KLEIZA. EVER. GET. THE. BALL.

  • UnarmingMermaid

    Signs I might be a spoiled fan? Nuggets take a 10 pt lead into half and I’m pissed about it.

    Seriously though, the last 2 minutes were a disaster. We should be taking a 20+ pt lead in.

  • UnarmingMermaid

    Alright Nugs…PLEASE don’t come out flat.

  • BeefySwats

    Welp, 2 missed baskets, down to 7.

  • UnarmingMermaid

    This is truly unbelievable…although totally expected.

    Like I said earlier, “sometimes I REALLY HATE the nuggets”.

  • sleepydog

    the beginning of the 3rd is case in point why i hate george karl. as i understand it, during half time, the coach is supposed to give a rousing speech that gets the team fired up for the second half. i honestly don’t remember the last time the nuggets came out of the locker room fired up for the third, and usually we come out dead flat, like tonight. karl always seems to have trouble really motivating this team. and isn’t one of karl’s biggest strengths supposed to be motivating volatile players? i consistently feel that karl doesn’t deliver on his supposed strengths

  • sleepydog

    which is why my fantasy team is named FireGeorgeKarl

  • UnarmingMermaid

    “Carmelo Anthony is happy to go to the bench”.

    Of course he is happy…who the fuck would want to be part of this debacle.

  • UnarmingMermaid

    I seriously might have to turn this game off…I’m getting too pissed off.

  • UnarmingMermaid

    And somebody take LK out back and put him out of his misery please.

  • UnarmingMermaid

    Has GK ever hear of a time out? You’d think when your team is looking this ridiculous you might want to take a time out.

  • BeefySwats

    Come on Nene, this is some weak shit. You’re 6’11 and almost 300 pounds, YOU HAVE TO STEP IN FRONT OF BOOZER.

  • sdchlr

    HAHAH Dahntay just tried to make out with D Will

  • BeefySwats

    I cannot fucking count how many times Kleiza has blown a defensive box out or missed a defensive assignment on the perimeter. God damn, it’s incredible how far Kleiza has fallen off. He doesn’t even resemble the same player he was a year ago.

  • sdchlr

    That was unbelievable, 3 fouls called in what, 10 seconds?

    Damnit, we need Melo right now

  • BeefySwats

    At one point in the game, Denver had 26 fouls to the Jazz 13. It’s evened up a little bit now, but Denver still has 10 more fouls with 29 to the Jazz 19.

    I make it a point to not complain about officiating, but Utah is the one place in the NBA where I feel there will never be a fair game called unless it’s a playoff game.

  • UnarmingMermaid

    Put a fork in us…we’re done!

    Way to fuck up a twenty point lead Nuggets.

  • BeefySwats

    This is the second night of a back to back so I can excuse the fatigue they clearly showed in the 3rd quarter. Once again, there is some inexplicably poor defense after a very solid first half. Denver really had a great opportunity to win this game, but they’re doing/have done everything in their power to lose it.

  • sleepydog

    remember when we could have traded for ron artest, but we didn’t want to because we didn’t want to give up kleiza? i think it is safe to just laugh at how ridiculous that decision was.

  • sdchlr

    The Jazz are the hottest team in the NBA right now, they can’t miss. We need a few stops and they’ll start missing, we can get back in it.

    After this game, I say Balkman has earned more playing time no doubt. I really hope we see more of him

  • RyanSev23

    I hardly ever feel the need to post here but Holy god damn Jazz fans are annoying. I’ve noticed on every single call, EVERY SINGLE CALL, whether it be an out-of-bounds call, a foul, anything, Jazz fans boo vehemently like it the the greatest injustice to happen to mankind in the entire history of the world. I believe without question the Jazz home-court advantage comes solely from the influence the fans have on the refs. It is seriously unbelievable how you can boo and bitch about EVERY SINGLE CALL like it’s the end of civilization as Jazz fans do. I have found a new found complete and utter hatred for the Jazz. I hope they lose every single game they play and get hampered by crucial injuries along the way. What an incredibly annoying fan base. I don’t know that I can watch another Jazz home game regardless of who they play. I’ve never come across more obnoxious fans. Holy hell. Watch the replay if you don’t believe me. I’m telling you, every single call they boo like it was the seventh game of the NBA finals in the final minutes and Sasha Vujacic just put on one of his famous flops. I wish the Jazz nothing but ill will.

    (end of rant)

  • UnarmingMermaid

    So…we still lead the division by half a game right?

  • UnarmingMermaid

    crap…we dropped to the 4th seed in the West after that loss.

  • sdchlr

    Correct mermaid

    I didn’t see the first half so I can’t comment on that. But we played hard in the fourth quarter and they won it with jumpshots, so props to them. I thought the officiating in the fourth quarter was bad.

    Chauncey needs to play a lot better. If your going to shoot 29% please don’t take 17 shots. We have guys like Nene and Balkman that need touches inside. We were getting free throws and makes on most drives to the basket and still decided to settle for jumpers.

  • Stumbleweed

    Ugh, I hate Jazz games.

    Chauncey looked like an old man tonight — absolutely horrible defense on Williams, especially in the 2nd half. He would just get smoked over and over and then we’d be scrambling to switch and end up leaving Okur/Miles open. Bottom line though is that we’ll never win a game where our starting PG plays 39 minutes, shoots 27%, and finishes with a measly 2 assists. Thank god JR got time or we would’ve gotten absolutely blown out tonight… he was the only one reliably creating looks for others and getting to the line.

    That extremely weak off-ball offensive foul called on Melo changed the whole game… he wasn’t playing great, but it made us run those weird lineups and give god damned Kleiza more time. Balkman was huge for us tonight but George still didn’t feel the urge to play him more than 23 minutes even though we really could’ve used him on the floor defensively late. Kleiza is really starting to bug me.

    We missed K-Mart in this one… we just didn’t have enough bodies to keep Boozer off the glass, even though Balkman was incredible with 14 boards in his 23 minutes. I was really annoyed that we just gave up the game too — it was definitely an outside shot, but when you have JR on the floor, you never know how many insane shots he’ll hit at the end of games… insane that Karl told them not to foul in such ameaningful game. Letting Deron dribble out the clock instead of applying pressure in the backcourt and trying for a steal and then fouling was inexcusable, and adds yet another complaint to the laundry list of George’s weird decisions in this game. We scuttled a great opportunity to get out 4th road win in Utah in like the last 15 years — should’ve had that one.

    Ah well, at least we still have the division lead and a much easier schedule remaining than the Jazz. And at least they’re garbage on the road (only 7 of their games remaining are home games). Agh hatehatehatehate… watching games played in Utah makes me want to die no matter who is the victim… the officiating always seems god awful and the Jazz are so incredibly unlikable as a unit, I cheer for anyone and everyone against them (the only time I’ve cheered for the Spurs).