2008-09 Game 76: Denver Nuggets vs Utah Jazz Game Thread

Looking at the performance of the Utah Jazz so far this season tonight’s game should be a sure thing.  The Jazz are a combined 0-13 on the road against the other top teams in the west (Phoenix and up) and the three beasts of the east (Cleveland, Boston and Orlando).  Out of those 13 games the Jazz have only been within six or fewer points three times and the average margin of defeat is 12.8 points per game.  Why should tonight’s game be any different?  Denver is a very solid 29-8 at home and riding a six game home winning streak.

There are a couple of reasons why I am worried about tonight’s game.  First of all the Nuggets’ defense has been anything but stout in the lane lately.  They have only collected at least 65% of their defensive rebounds in two of their previous six games.  Utah is a top five offensive rebounding team by the percentage of offensive rebounds they recover. 

The real reason why I am worried is desperation.  The Jazz know they suck on the road and they are going to be desperate to try to win a couple of games like tonight in order to earn home court advantage in the playoffs.  They also know losing tonight’s game will basically eliminate them from winning the division.  The Nuggets are under no such pressure.  Even I have fallen into the trap of saying, if they can just win one of their three final difficult games and sweep the four sorry teams on the schedule they should be able to hold on to the second seed.  Of course George Karl is saying the same thing, “If we don’t win, we can wake up tomorrow and the next day and still be in a good position.” 

Fortunately the players seem to be hyped up about the matchup. Carmelo said he might not get any sleep the night before the game.  J.R. called it a “huge, huge game.”

The Nuggets are going to focus on Deron Williams, and rightfully so. 

“The Nuggets feel the best way of slowing down Williams is throwing different looks at him, like a crafty big-league hurler. Billups, Anthony Carter and Dahntay Jones will spend time defending Williams, and with pick-and-roll defense in the fourth quarter, Karl won’t hesitate to put bigger players Kenyon Martin or Anthony on the 6-foot-3 guard.

Williams is indeed a stud and the Jazz have the same talented roster this season as they have the past couple of years with one major exception.  Players like Williams, Ronnie Brewer and Paul Millsap are much improved.  Even so the gap between the two teams that existed last season has vanished.  The Nuggets did lose twice in Utah this season, but both games were close unlike last season’s dual 27 point losses in Salt Lake City.  The first time these two hooked up in Denver the Nuggets rolled to a 20 point victory in one of the few games this season where the Nuggets took the lead and held on rather comfortably for the remainder of the game.

In order for the Nuggets to be successful they need to run and attack the rim.  Denver rolled out to a 20 point lead the last time these two teams played in Utah powered by J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony getting in the lane at will.  Defensively Denver will have to limit the easy baskets the Jazz excel at earning while rotating to cover shooters like Kyle Korver and C.J. Miles. 

Both teams know each other and possess a strong sense of respect and acrimony.  For all the progress the Nuggets have made a loss tonight will stick them with another 1-3 record in the series and will give Utah all the confidence in the world should these two tee off in the postseason.

I think you can count on the Nuggets playing the kind of defense they displayed against the Hornets as opposed to the lackadaisical switching scheme they ran against the Knicks.  Yo know the Jazz are going to play hard as well.  It should be a close and intense regular season game.

Denver Nuggets Game Notes

Previous Matchups:  Game 1 – Den 94 Utah 98 | Game 44 – Den 117 Utah 97 | Game 63 – Den 91 Utah 97

Featured Blogs:  SLC Dunk | True Blue Jazz (for all your mindless “Thuggets” name calling)

Take this with you:  Carmelo Anthony’s play on offense lately has been the force that has carried the Nuggets to the second seed in the west.  Can he continue to produce big numbers with efficiency against a higher echelon team?

Oh and by the way, it is the first of two green jersey nights.  After tonight we will either be clamoring for more green jersey nights or calling for their incineration.

  • CCH

    Can’t wait to see DJ and Crime stopper harass the hell out of D-Will. GO nuggets!

  • snafuthai

    I do not fucking understand George Karl at all sometimes. Every quote of his that I have read in the past week has been completely devoid of inspiration or expectation. Things like (I’m paraphrasing these quotes) “52 or 53 wins should get us home court, that’s all we’re trying for”, “All we’re trying to do is win a playoff series”, “I expect us to lose a few games down the stretch”. COME ON MAN. You have to go in to every single game knowing that if you play as hard as possible and make good decisions that you will come out victorious. The goal is ALWAYS an NBA championship. If things don’t work out…well then after the season you can digress. Jesus, it’s like he’s trying to build low expectations in order to attain more job security. I pray that he isn’t saying this same shit in the locker room.

  • Othe33

    GK is all about his job security. He figures he is beyond reproach because the Nuggs are flirting with the all-time franchise best W-L record. Unless they make the Western Conference Finals this year I hope they replace him with Avery Johnson.

    At this point in the life of this Nuggets team, the players and the coach should be on the same page. I’m eager to see the game tonight (only having access to nationally-televised games)…both because I’m dying to see my team, and because I want to see if anyone makes eye contact with the coach as they leave the game. In every game I’ve watched thus far they’ve avoided him at all costs on the bench – not a good sign.

  • Josh Hopp

    The Jazz are going to be come out of the box with furious defensive intensity. The only way we can hope to win this one is to match that intensity. We have shown that if we force the other team to turn the ball over we can compensate for mediocre offensive execution on our part. Let’s not say “Ah well we don’t have to win this one” because think of the pressure it takes off us to do so. Go the Nuggets!!!!!!

  • BeefySwats

    I am going to be at the game tonight, so no gameday comments from me. I hope you’ll be able to hold this place down and keep the jokers in line Jeremy. ;)

    GO NUGGETS!!!

  • CCH

    I’ve been reading alot of georgies quotes as well. I also heard his radio interview with Espn. I think he has some kind of mind games he’s playing when he says things like that, atleast I hope so. Like Jeremy said though I think all the players know the importance of this game and every game left for that matter.

  • Josh Hopp

    shitty start. utah playing well though

  • Josh Hopp

    this must be our worst quarter of the season offensively

  • Othe33

    Whew! Thank goodness for JR!

  • Josh Hopp

    Jr just made 2 free throws?

  • Josh Hopp

    man oh man! JR smith!

  • runningdonut

    JR is awesome

  • Josh Hopp

    OK, right NOW is the time when we can decide if we want to win this game or not. We can choose to give points away and let them decimate our lead before the half or we can keep fighting and extend it.

  • Josh Hopp

    nice lead but I do not feel one bit reassured. let’s run these pricks out of the gym

  • runningdonut

    Yeah, we owe these guys a beat down. As long as we keep rebounding and running we should be good. Incredible bench effort after that terrible start.

  • Josh Hopp

    k-mart is out

  • jakester

    Chauncey’s playing offense like he’s never played point before – but nice feed from him to Melo.

  • Othe33

    Where is Balkman?

  • Josh Hopp

    birdman defended boozer terribly there. shades of marcus camby

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Alright, I finally got caught up so I can join the conversation.

    Belated halftime stats
    Pace – 96.1
    Defensive Efficiency – 89.4
    Offensive Efficiency – 112.4

    Utah has been credited with 10 offensive boards at the half. Seems like more though.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Birdman is the opposite of an energy player right now.

  • Josh Hopp

    billups is doing a great job keeping the scoreboard ticking over

  • Josh Hopp

    4 fouls on billups. not good. and the rebounding situation is FUCKING UNBELIVEABLELY bad

  • sleepydog

    GO GREEN!! first time i can say that as a nuggets fan haha

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    I love the way Melo is taking the ball to the rim. He is not finishing a lot of them, but he is not settling for jumpers.

  • Kay

    First time I can watch a game in about a month

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    I do not understand why Denver looks so sluggish on D.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Good to have you around again Kay!

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Utah is playing like carp, but they are staying within striking distance.

  • jakester

    here comes Balkman

  • Josh Hopp

    11 point buffer. rebounding atrociously. defending poorly. shooting poorly. i’m not encouraged but, man a win would be sweet

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    I meant crap, but carp probably are not very good at basketball either.

  • runningdonut

    Naldo sighting!

    Birdman looks pretty tired.

  • Josh Hopp

    honestly, i’ve reached the point where a 11 point lead going into the 3rd means NOTHING for me in terms of confidence. we can make leads evaporate in no time at all

  • Josh Hopp

    i mean the 4th

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    The only good thing about Kenyon’s cartilage strain is Karl will have to give Balkman at least six minutes in the fourth. Birdman is gassed.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    At this point the Jazz will be in the bonus anytime now.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    LK has only attempted one three. I can live with it.

  • Josh Hopp

    I’m sorry but the Andersen blocks are good fun to watch but if the ball goes to the opposition backcourt each time its not worth a pinch of shit

  • Kay

    J.R. in coming hard

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Birdman can get $4 million a year if he keeps blocking shots back to the offense, but he could make $6 million a year if he would just control it back to a teammate.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Too many jumpers.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Karl is yelling “Rim!” Right on GK.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Those two threes by J.R. and AC may not have been good shots, but they sure were big shots.

  • Josh Hopp

    this shooting is incredible. i hope we dont get carried away with it.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    I do not understand why they are not just putting extenze in the water. What harm could it do? Everyone in the commercials seem to be really happy.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Thank God, finally Nene with the ball in the post. OK, maybe not…

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Is that at “Utah Sucks!” chant? Sweet.

  • Josh Hopp

    man, imagine a playoff series of THIS. I think I would die of heart failure

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    I cannot imagine all of Nene’s whining is attractive to his new bride.

  • Josh Hopp

    WE HAVE NO PRESENCE UNDER THE BOARDS WHATSOEVER!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Yea Josh, this is painful.

  • Josh Hopp

    I think Melo just got done for a T. if he did, what an idiot

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    I think you are right Josh. I do not know what he said, but it looked like a pretty quick trigger.

  • Josh Hopp

    Melo you moron

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Yep, 14 T’s for Melo. Two more and he sits out a game. Thank God they are wiped out at the end of the regular season.

  • Josh Hopp

    single digit lead

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Why is LK shooting a three there? Drive!

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Six point lead. Come on boys.

  • Josh Hopp

    And JUST LIKE THAT ladies and gents our lead is down to 6

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    AK-47 used to do a really good job on Melo. Not anymore.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Stop shooting Threes!

  • runningdonut

    Oh great were in chucker mode now

  • runningdonut

    Thank god for Bird

  • Kay

    It must be the worst feeling to get blocked like that

  • Josh Hopp

    I don’t like to see bird posing in a situation like this. just close out the damn game mate

  • jakester

    NENE!!!!!

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Thank you Nene!

  • Josh Hopp

    NENE!

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Bird is definitely back to supplying energy.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Back to attacking the rim and the lead is back up to 11.

  • Josh Hopp

    CARMELO ANTHONY!

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Did you guys see bird ask how many blocks he had as he left the floor. I bet Marlowe is loving the Bird is the word song heading to break. I can see him dancing around his living room in his underwear singing along.

  • Josh Hopp

    mel gibson is a hardass

  • Josh Hopp

    yeah marlowe mentioned a few weeks ago that birdman looks at him after each block to get a running tally. sounds the behaviour of a stat chaser to me

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Take it to the rim big fella! Sorry, I had to go Billy Packer there.

  • Josh Hopp

    see what happens when you take it inside Melo? thats what god put you on this earth to do

  • Kay

    Come on….really? In the last 2 minutes

  • jakester

    gahhhhh!

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    How does J.R. not realize if there is any contact at all Williams is getting the call?

  • Josh Hopp

    hold up…6 point game

  • Kay

    Josh your comment made me laugh kind of loudly.

  • runningdonut

    I’ve been wondering why D-Will hasn’t just taken every shot himself. We need good possessions right now

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    As long as Utah does not get any closer than six I can live with it…I probably should not have typed that though.

  • Josh Hopp

    it is impossible to overstate how good it is to have a free throw guy like chauncey down the stretch in situations like this

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Melo ran at Korver and made him dribble the ball. Nice play.

  • jakester

    STOP IT WILLIAMS DAMNNNNNNN

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    I agree runningdonut. The Jazz were unstoppable when he was putting up 30 a night in February.

  • Kay

    Oh Lord

  • Josh Hopp

    we caught a huge break with that basket interference call. what a collapse that would have been. karl not happy

  • jakester

    wow, hitting our free throws at the end – much better than earlier in the game

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Nene and Bird hitting free throws down the stretch.

  • Josh Hopp

    Nene sure does know how to whine. he gets the same indignant snarl each and every time a call goes against him

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    As long as Denver beats the Clippers, Wolves, Thunder and Kings I think we are looking at the #2 seed in the western conference.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

  • jakester

    and … EXHALE

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    I hope Beefy is whooping it up at the Pepsi Center.

  • Josh Hopp

    NUGGETS WIN!!!!!!!!! WELL DONE BOYS!!! 10 OF 11!!!

  • Kay

    Yes!!!!!!

  • Josh Hopp

    This is the first time in NBA history we have had 50 win seasons back to back! :-)

  • runningdonut

    50 wins, 10 in a row, 2 games up in the division

    Pretty good time to get hot :)

  • king_couttsy

    Awesome win – sitting at work in Australia, watching the updates and having heart failure. Take care of business against the weak sides from here on in, and we’re looking good at the # 2 seed…

    GO NUGGETS!!!

    And btw, who cares if Birdman is a stat counter – if I could block shots like he does, I’d count ‘em too!!!

  • jakester

    I think we actually need to beat Portland and/or the Lakers in order to cement that #2 seed. I can definitely see the Spurs winning 7 of their last 8.

  • Josh Hopp

    king_couttsy! finally another Aussie nuggets head. I’m in Wagga \, NSW. where u at?

  • cessair

    As far as Anderson’s blocks go, I believe he has been fairly effective in keeping his blocks in play this year. I don’t have any stats to back me up, but Anderson seems to predominately make “barely” blocks (as opposed to dominant, or out of bounds blocks, which just give the ball to the opponent again).

    Personally, I believe blocks (as a stat) are generally insignificant. However, the more important effect comes from altered shots, and having a consistent presence in the paint. Anderson definitely provides this, and should be an amazing piece for the Nuggets, this year and beyond.

  • BeefySwats

    Thanks for thinking of me, Jeremy. :D

    I was at the game for the “Guys Night Out” deal – really, any Denver natives should take advantage of this; $25 gets you a beer and a t-shirt and a decent upper level seat.

    In case anyone was wondering, the chant was “UTAH SUCKS!!!” about 3 or 4 times. Nene was getting mauled in the post and had some really shitty ticky tack fouls called on him. JR was UNREAL tonight. I could not believe how on fire he was from beyond the arc.

    I am definitely a fan of the green jerseys, but my throat is not. I am hoarse as hell and going to bed.

    GO NUGGETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *wheeze*

  • BeefySwats

    Also, before I go to sleep, there was a section right up and behind me in 313 that had about 10-12 teenaged girls who screamed an ear-piercing shriek that I swear caused the Jazz to miss at *least* 3 free throws.

    I wasn’t even bothered. I was impressed.

  • king_couttsy

    I work in Melbourne – and live there too, I suppose… I swear, there’s only a few of us around… Have you ever gotten over there to watch them play???

  • Josh Hopp

    Nah man but I’m going to the US, probably New York late this year and early next year. I will definitely catch some Knicks games and hope to try to go to Denver for a few Nuggets games. Would be a lifetime dream for me. Good to know there is someone else in this hemisphere obsessed with the Nuggies!