The Denver Nuggets will try to extend their winning streak to five while handing rival Utah their first home loss of the season.
|2012/2013 NBA Regular Season: Game 15|
|November 26th, 2012, 7:00 PM (MT)|
|Energy Solutions Arena - Salt Lake City, UT
|TV Altitude / 950 AM / 104.3 FM The Fan|
|SLC Dunk||Blogs||You're here!|
|Mo Williams (out)||Injuries||Julyan Stone (out), Wilson Chandler (out)|
|Jazz are one of just three NBA teams to be undefeated at home.||Stat||This is the first multiple-game homestand for the Nuggets this season|
Three weeks removed from blowing the Jazz out by 20 at Pepsi Center, the Nuggets pay a visit to Salt Lake City. I wouldn't expect another blowout tonight, considering that the Nuggets will be playing the second of back-to-back, their third game in five nights, the Jazz will have rested two days ... oh, and the Jazz haven't lost a home game.
When the Nuggets trounced the Jazz a few weeks ago they were able to do so defensively. Not only did the Nuggets force Utah into a bad shooting night (36.8% from the field and 17.4% from three-point range) but they baited them into 17 turnovers, a few more than Utah usually gives away on any given night.
And even though a 5-0 home record might look imposing, consider who the Jazz have had to play thus far: the three worst teams in the Western Conference (the Rockets, Suns and King), an ailing Mavericks squad and a dysfunctional Lakers squad. In fact, after losing at Utah the Lakers fired head coach Mike Brown after just five games.
Point being, even though we shouldn't expect a blowout tonight, a Nuggets victory is well within reach. After all, it was on Monday night just a week ago that the Nuggets upset the Grizzlies at Memphis - a far superior team than Utah. And the Nuggets are rolling with their second four-game winning streak of the season right now.
So what will it take to make it five in a row?
Three things to look for in tonight's game ...
1) Does Ty Lawson have four straight good games in him? A major factor in the Nuggets' recent four-game winning streak is the (finally!) solid play of their starting point guard. He has scored at least 17 points and dished out at least 6 assists in each of the last three games, and finally strung together two games where he shot over 50%. Had Lawson not been pulled early in the Sunday night blowout over New Orleans, he might have had a monster night. And he should have another one tonight with the Jazz's starting point guard Mo Williams out with a sprained foot.
2) Al Jefferson's revenge. "Big Al" made just one of his nine attempts against the Nuggets on November 9th. I can't imagine Jefferson shooting that poorly again, so the Nuggets will have to do their best to weather whatever is coming at them from the Jazz's starting center.
3) Making up for Corey Brewer's production. Brewer had the game of his life against the Jazz (5-8 from three-point range and two steals) and it's doubtful that his streaky nature will allow him to duplicate that. So another Nugget will have to fill that void, especially from three-point range. Could it be Andre Iguodala or Danilo Gallinari tonight?
Scouting the Jazz
-Paul Millsap: Millsap remains a bruiser at power forward and Nuggets' power forward Kenneth Faried will be hurting after tonight's game is over.
-Al Jefferson: As mentioned above, Big Al is having some off nights this year but still has to be respected in the paint.
-Jamaal Tinsley: Somehow, someway Tinsley found his way onto another NBA roster (and in Utah of all places!) despite his checkered history off the court. I'll give Tinsley this - he looked good physically when the Jazz came to Denver. But he can't shoot straight, connecting on just 26% of his field goals to date.
-Enes Kanter: The 20 year old Turk is still having trouble cracking the Jazz rotation - just like fellow teammate and fellow third overall pick Derrick Favors. Could Utah actually have two third overall pick busts in a row on the same roster? Time will tell.
Should the Nuggets win their fifth straight tonight, it might be time to start talking about this team's ceiling again instead of wondering aloud about how far they might fall in the Western Conference (and you know who you pessimistic Stiffs are!!).