Quite a few storylines unfolded on Tuesday night in Secaucus, N.J., but none were bigger than the Cavaliers winning two of the top four overall picks behind the fortuitous, and confident, 14-year-old Nick Gilbert, son of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and team representative for the night. (more…)
With the current Denver Nuggets squad far surpassing any expectations fans had following the historic Carmelo Anthony trade, it’s now time to start seriously looking at whether or not another 50-win season is approaching. With nine games left to play and our current record sitting at 44-29, you’d think 50 wins would be easily attainable considering how hot the Nuggets have been as of late, but like all teams not named the Miami Heat, the final stretch of games in the NBA season is almost guaranteed to be tough. (more…)
I honestly have nothing bad to say about Denver’s effort tonight. In the preview, I lamented how the Nuggets have refused to show up in big time statement games like tonights. They were so badly embarrassed by the Lakers and Spurs you just have to assume that when things aren’t going their way against quality opponents, the Nuggets are going to fall apart and just give up – that’s just who they are. Although the Nuggets lost tonight, they fought hard through their shortcomings and gave themselves a great chance to win a game that at times seemed far out of reach. In many ways we’re getting a look at the real Nuggets tonight – a team with questionable front line talent and mediocre defense despite their best efforts. Furthermore, they fall victim to their own emotions again and the lucky breaks just weren’t in their favor either. It’s no knock on the Nuggets, but they need that luck. When they don’t get it, they just don’t have that elite level mindset to execute and win anyways.
According to Chris Tomasson, Deron Williams will return tonight after missing four games with a wrist injury. Early in the season the Jazz were able to field a consistent lineup and took control of first place in the Northwest division. After injuries not only to Deron Williams but also Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur (both won’t play tonight) the Jazz have slipped and actually sit a half game back of the Nuggets currently.
The Jazz are a bit better than average on offense and slightly below average defensively. Jerry Sloan runs a well rounded team with more emphasis on consistency at both ends than anything. As the Nuggets know, what the Jazz do great is attack with plenty of movement. Utah is third in the league in assist ratio and with Deron Williams back they are a force to be reckoned with. Utah is only 2-8 in their last 10, giving up 120 to the Lakers and 115 to the Spurs in that span. Their game plan will likely be centered 100% around slowing down Denver’s attack and trying to keep them under 100.
These teams know each other well and it’s an important division contest for both. It’s likely to be a battle of wills between two teams with vulnerable defenses. Against a tired Blazers team we saw the Nuggets emphasize defense and half court execution versus getting their running attack going. I’d like to see the Nuggets win the rebounding battle again. Denver has fallen flat on their face in their last two “show-up” games against quality opponents San Antonio and the Lakers, where they were blown out and looked horrible. If the Nuggets want to be taken seriously they have to show up for this one.