Nuggets at T-Wolves: Love channeling Kerry Kittles (6pm MST)

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I don't recall any college or NBA player rocking the high sock/low sock combination before or after former NBA player Kerry Kittles did it with Villanova and with the New Jersey Nets ... that is until now with Kevin Love. The 22 year-old power forward has not only been sporting the high sock/low sock look, but he's knocking down threes like Kittles did as well.

The particulars ...

Records:
Denver: 
 17-13 (4-10 on the road) ... Streak: Won 1 and 4-6 in last 10 games.
Minnesota:  8-24 (6-7 at home) ... Streak: Won 2 and 3-7 in last 10. 
Injuries:
Denver
: Carmelo Anthony is questionable (still with family after the passing of his sister), Al Harrington is questionable (dislocated right thumb). Kenyon Martin is out (rest on the second of a back-to-back).
Minnesota: Anthony Tolliver is out (sprained right MCL). Sebastian Telfair is questionable (plantar fasciitis).

Opposition's Take: Canis Hoopus

 

Since these two teams faced off in Denver on Dec. 18th (Nuggs won 115-113); the Nuggets are 1-3, while the T-Wolves are 2-2. Minnesota had lost seven games in a row before going on a mini-win streak by beating the Cavaliers in Cleveland and then beating the 18-13 New Orleans Hornets at home Monday night. Like most NBA teams, the Wolves play a bit better at home then they do on the road, so tonight's game should be a close one ... just like the previous meeting between these two Northwest rivals.

In that last game in Denver, Kevin Love had arguably his best game of the season with a career-high 43 points on 14-23 shooting including 5-5 from downtown. Love also pulled in 17 rebounds (7 offensive), had 3 assists and got to the foul line often where he was 10-12 on the night. During the Blazers vs. Nuggets broadcast last night, Altitude's Chris Marlowe mentioned that Kenyon Martin would sit out tonight's game to protect his recently healed left knee on the second of a back-to-back.

Denver will have a hard time not only shutting down Love, but the rest of the Wolves starting frontline of Darko Milicic and Michael Beasley can also do some damage. The Wolves frontline trio combined for 60 points and 25 rebounds against the Hornets and could have a field-day with Denver's small lineup without K-Mart and Carmelo Anthony.

Whoever the Nuggets decide to have defend Love, needs to pay attention to him out on the perimeter. Too often the Nuggets like to sink down into the paint and leave shooters alone on the perimeter. Love will make Denver pay if they leave him open, just as he did in the last game. On the season Love is shooting 43-99 from downtown (43.4%) ... to compare, J.R. Smith is shooting 44-114 (38.5%) from deep.

If the Nuggets can bring the same energy into tonight's game that they displayed against the Blazers they might get a win streak rolling again. Without Martin's defensive mindedness and his ability to get to the rim and again without Melo the team will have to play with energy, bring team defense and take high percentage shots to get a win tonight at the Target Center.

 

Views you can use:

  • In just 16 minutes versus the Blazers, K-Mart was 5-5 from the field for 10 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, had 3 assists and 1 block. It's nice to see his minutes limited thus far and even nicer in that limited time to see him producing.
  • Only J.R. and Arron Afflalo played over 30 minutes versus the Blazers with 37 and 40 minutes respectively.
  • When he wasn't huffing and puffing up-and-down the court, Chris Andersen was pulling down rebounds ... he led the team with 12 boards and 4 on the offensive glass.

Additional nuggets:

  • In his last four games Chauncey Billups has averaged 23 points per game on 56.2% shooting, 5.8 assists and is 29-29 from the charity stripe. Not bad old man ... not bad at all. I could still live without the Billups/Ty Lawson backcourt and some of Billups' shot selection, but he's been trying to hold the team together offensively in Melo's absence.
  • Lawson struggled against the Blazers, going just 1-7 from the field for 2 points, 1 assist and 3 turnovers. He didn't look very aggressive and when he's on the floor with Billups he continues to defer to the veteran. I'd love to see George Karl use Lawson more without Billups and more with Gary Forbes, Afflalo and J.R. who all like to run and thrive when they do so.
  • Birdman ... his game is built around his athleticism and if that is slipping then he needs to do the little things better. It starts with setting solid screens, focusing on grabbing rebounds and cutting to the basket on offense.
  • Nene has been getting double-teamed with regularity since he showed off his even more polished post moves these past few weeks. Against the Blazers, Nene allowed the double-teams early to push him out towards the perimeter and needs to realize that they will be coming quickly and make decisions almost before he gets the ball.
  • Shelden Williams will likely start tonight in K-Mart's place and being the professional he is, he should be ready to go. Williams saw 11 minutes last night in Al Harrington place and with Martin's limited minutes. Rebound and set screens big fella!
  • I'd like to see Forbes get 20+ minutes again and with them he's got to play aggressive and continue going to the rim like he can. Forbes has the ability to knock down the open three, but he's more effective when he's driving the ball. He can also get out and run, so if he's paired with Lawson he'll need to be ready to get moving as Lawson will look to push the pace if his teammates are running with him.
  • Afflalo ... like Billups we know what we're going to get with AAA, hustling defense, knocking down threes and some drives in the lane with layup finishes.
  • Melvin Ely and Renaldo "Crime Stopper" Balkman ... Ely might get some minutes again tonight with the injuries and Balkman might see some action again if Denver gets a big lead late. I'd still love to see Crime Stopper get some minutes when it counts, but that wont happen. Marlowe mentioned during the game last night that Balkman has been working hard, hopefully that'll start to show at some point and he'll be rewarded with some court time.

Melo update:

  • From Nuggets.com, Melo will be back with the team Thursday. So he'll be back in action Saturday night at the Pepsi Center when the Nuggets face the Sacramento Kings! 

    Anthony said he appreciates the outpouring of love and support from his Denver family during this time. He is looking forward to returning to the team and working with his teammates.  

 

 

ntimmons73@yahoo.com
Twitter: Nate_Timmons

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