Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
As we recall from last season, a gassed Ty Lawson let rookie phenom Kyrie Irving drive past him to score what turned out to be the winning layup in the Cleveland Cavaliers win in Denver. The Nuggets cannot let this happen again.
|2012/2013 NBA Regular Season: Game 38|
|9-28 (5-16 on the road)||Series 0-0|
|January 11, 2013 - 7:00 PM (MT)|
|Pepsi Center - Denver, Colorado
|TV Altitude / 950 AM / 104.3 FM The Fan|
|Fear the Sword||Blogs||you are here
|Anderson Varejao (out)||Injuries||Wilson Chandler (out)|
|The Cavs won two straight games against the Atlanta Hawks (!?)||Stat|
Last years loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers woke up the echos of the Carmelo Anthony-led Nuggets losing to teams they had no business losing to. At home. It came during the most inconsistent stretch of Nuggets basketball last season and maybe provided the wake-up call that the team needed.
This year's Cavs are slightly less poor, but with Anderson Varejao (who was playing at an all-star level) going out with a knee injury you'd think that this Cavs team would be sunk. However, they still have last season' rookie of the year in Kyrie Irving (who is legit in all facets) and they are coming off of winning their second consecutive game against the Atlanta Hawks (Not to mention beating the Clippers in LA earlier this season). I'm not going to use the ridiculous "trap game" meme but I will say that this is a tougher matchup than one would think.
Everything begins and ends with Irving. He is just as spectacular as you have been led to believe by national media reports. Intelligent and an overall great point guard. The Cavs would be set for a long time if they had better overall talent surrounding him. While Varejao was playing at a great level, the Cavs weren't really winning games even when he was in the lineup. Much like the previous game's Orlando Magic, this Cavs team also struggles to close close contests ... a sure sign of a young, learning team.
The Cavs frontcourt features Tristan Thompson and rookie Tyler Zeller. C.J. Miles (he of the "I clearly stepped out of bounds in game 2 Nuggets vs Jazz in 2010 fame) is the shooting guard and can be best described as "competent". Byron Scott is the coach, and I've never really cared for him as a coach of overall talent. While he led the New Jersey Nets to consecutive Finals appearances (in 2002-2003) you always got the feeling his players hated him. Not sure he's the right coach for a young team.
Simply put ... memo to Ty Lawson: Don't let Irving go around you so easily again if this game is close. Nuggets should win, but I'm not expecting it to be easy.
Nuggets of Wisdom
So the Nuggets have won 7 of their last 10 games. Not bad considering there were those who predicted the world was ending shortly after their loss to the Timberwolves on January 3rd. Maybe that game was a wake-up call for the team? Who knows. At this point the Nuggets just need to take care of business and steal more games on the road. As I said to my colleague Nate Timmons a couple weeks ago, teams gain confidence from playing at home and that translates more to the road. While the Nuggets early schedule may have prepared them for what it's like to play on the road, playing at home and winning in a balanced schedule lends itself toward more road victories.
Hopefully my theory pays off.
In the meantime, one last statement from me. Upon excellent analysis from the a-fore mentioned Nate Timmons via twitter any trade for Rudy Gay that features Danilo Gallinari is most likely a costly error.
Twitter: @jmorton78 https://twitter.com/#!/jmorton78