Go West, young men – & get some wins. The Raps start their critical swing with a stop in the Mile-High City. The Nuggets have been rebuilding for a long time, & seemed poised to make a giant leap up the standings. Instead, they are bumping along below .500, having lost their last 3 games, all roadies. Denver has little difficulty scoring, but do struggle stopping their opponents. The Lakers torched them for 122 in their last loss. I’m sure veteran Coach George Karl was a treat to be around after that one.
The Nuggets’ scoring is unusually well balanced, with Power Forward Danilo Gallinari & swingman Andre Iguodala leading the way at 15+ PPG. Tiny speed merchant Ty Lawson starts at Point Guard. He’s backed up by Andre Miller, a capable veteran. Denver’s rebounding leader is the Manimal, Kenneth Faried. Selected #22 out of Morehead State, he’s another case in point (like Paul Millsap) of a pet draft strategy of mine; pick players who pile up big rebounding numbers in college ball. It’s a skill which seems to carry over well into the pros, & is greatly appreciated by coaches. Faried is a double-double producer in just his second season. Their Centre, Kosta Koufos, plays the fewest minutes of the starters, & should be exploitable by Jonas Valanciunas. If that happens, expect to see Javale McGee, the former Wizard head case who appears to have settled down in Denver. Corey Brewer will also bounce off the bench to score & defend. Wilson Chandler had some robust scoring years as a Knick, but is attempting a comeback from surgery to repair a torn muscle in his hip. If he’s fit, he may cause problems for the Raps.
The Nuggets have both shot & defended poorly from beyond the arc. If the Raps are to grind out a victory, Bargnani, Calderon, & Lowry (& Ross?) will need to shoot well from distance. Boxing out Faried everywhere will be critical – he’s Denver’s only threat on the offensive glass.
The Raps are healthy, and rested. This will be a tough game, but a win is not out of the question. What say the Raps spoil Denver’s return home by 101-99?
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.