|Game 52: 2013-14 NBA Season|
|February 20th, 2014|
|BMO Harris Bradley Center - Milwaukee,WI|
|6:00 PM MT|
|Altitude / 950 AM
|Evan Fournier (?)||SG|
|Danilo Gallinari (knee) is out, JaVale McGee(leg fracture) is out, Nate Robinson (ACL sprain) is out, Ty Lawson (rib fracture) is doubtful||Injuries|
|The Nuggets have lost 5 in a row, and are 5-11 in their last 16 games.
||The Bucks are going for their first two-game win streak of the season.
At some point, the Denver Nuggets are probably going to win again. It may as well come against the Milwaukee Bucks, current owners of the worst record in the NBA by a comfortable margin. In fact, the last time the Nuggets won, way back on February 5th, was against these very Bucks in a harder-than-it-should-have-been 110-100 scraper at the Pepsi Center
Then again, nothing has been easy for the Nuggets lately. They'll stumble into Milwaukee on the heels of a 5-game losing skid, one that continued in excruciating fashion as the Nuggets gave away a 5-point lead late in regulation and lost to the Phoenix Suns in overtime on Tuesday night.
There were some positives to take from the last game. Evan Fournier played very well, leading the team with 25 points and snagging eight rebounds from the guard position. Kenneth Faried had a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. The Nuggets played with effort and lost by less than 20. However, the same old issues that have plagued them all season showed up big time at the end of the game. The Nuggets' inability to secure a defensive rebound allowed the Suns to tie it up and take it to the extra period, where the Nuggets never stood a chance.
This game arrives at an interesting time, as the team could look quite different by tip-off. The trading deadline ends at 1 p.m. mountain time and there are several possible trade candidates on the Nuggets. At this point, though, I think they're going to stay quiet. I do think the front office started the season with every intention of making the playoffs, but for a myriad of reasons that does simply not appear to be in the cards. Thus, unless you can unload one of the more unsavory salaries (i.e. Javale McGee or J.J. Hickson), or send off Andre Miller to try to recoup something for him, a trade wouldn't make much sense. There is nothing out there that is going to get the Nuggets into the playoffs this season, not with the injuries they have. At this point, it's all about draft positioning.
Even with the Nuggets' issues, it's going to take some serious ineptitude to lose to Milwaukee. The Bucks' season went off the rails fast, and they're in prime position to secure the number one spot in what should be a loaded draft. Off-season acquisition O.J. Mayo has played poorly, as has noted animal lover and gentle human Larry Sanders. After signing a four-year extension worth $44 million last year, Sanders' production has dipped significantly and now he'll miss up to six weeks with an orbital fracture.
A win would be nice to lift the malaise that's surrounded the team since Ty Lawson's injury. Still, would it really surprise anyone if the Nuggets lost this game? Nothing is certain with this team, and even a match-up against the worst team in the league is no guarantee of victory.
Game Predictions -
- Randy Foye has been struggling lately, and it might be because he's been playing out of position. Perhaps taking on point guard duties has made it difficult for him to focus on his shot. I think he breaks out of his slump tonight with 20 + points.
- If Jordan Hamilton gets the start again, I think he'll be more aggressive. The Nuggets need scoring, and Hamilton is capable of putting up numbers. He should get into double figures this game. (Update: Hamilton has been traded to the Houston Rockets for point guard Aaron Brooks.)
- The Nuggets have not been shooting the ball well as a team during the losing streak, but this game represents an opportunity to turn that around. I say they shoot over 50% tonight.
- Brandon Knight has been the best player for the Bucks this year, and without a true point guard to defend or be defended by, he's going to have a big game. I would look for something similar to Goran Dragic's 21-point, 14-assist performance from the previous game.
- Despite the fact it's a road game and the team's uninspiring play of late, I'm calling this one a 106-97 Nuggets victory.