Jazz vs Nuggets Preview: And Then There Were Three

Doug Pensinger

The end is near. Whether you read that sentence with relief, hope, or as if a dirty old man in a raincoat had it on his handwritten sign may tell you how you feel about this Nuggets season.

Game 80: 2013-14 NBA Season

@
24-55 (8-31 away)
Series 2-1
35-44 (21-18 home)
April 12th, 2014
Pepsi Center - Denver, CO
7:00 PM MT
Altitude / 1510 AM

Trey Burke
PG Aaron Brooks
Gordon Hayward
SG Randy Foye
Richard Jefferson
SF Quincy Miller
Jeremy Evans
PF Kenneth Faried
Derrick Favors
C Timofey Mozgov
Notes
SLC Dunk
Blogs You're here!
Salt Lake Tribune reports that PF Marvin Williams will not make the trip to Denver with a knee injury. Injuries Danilo Gallinari (knee), JaVale McGee (leg fracture), Nate Robinson (ACL sprain), JJ Hickson (ACL), Wilson Chandler (groin) are out, Ty Lawson (ankle) is questionable

As noted above, two of Utah's 24 wins have come against the Nuggets.

Stat

In this disappointing season, the Nuggets sold out a team record 35 home games (thus far), showing off their loyal fan base.


Three games left. At halftime of tonights' Denver Nuggets game, they will have three percent of their season left. Three wins in a row could come for the Nuggets tonight... for the first time in three months. Number three will be riding the bench, because he's still feeling like number two. Randy Foye is about to set the Nuggets single-season record for three-pointers made. Timofey Mozgov is coming off the third-highest rebounding performance in Nuggets history, and tonight's opponent, the Utah Jazz sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings with a winning percentage hovering ever so slightly above three... hundred (.304, to be exact). Threes abound for your Denver Nuggets in a season where one might look for meaning in every last possible nook and cranny because... let's be honest. There's been a little less to cheer for over the course of this transitional season.

In tonight's game, the Nuggets stare across the floor at a mere shadow of former division and conference rivals, the Utah Jazz. Utah has also had a rough go of this season, with promising backcourt duo Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke logging a lot of time improving, but with a lot of growing pains along the way. Utah will also play without power forward Marvin Williams, and we've recently seen what Kenneth Faried can do against a backup power forward.

As to the Nuggets, we know a lot at this point of the season. We know that we've had more injuries to key players than we'd hoped, producing more starting lineups than was ideal. We know that Kenneth Faried has been playing out of his mind since the end of the trade deadline. We know that the last time Ty Lawson was out for an extended period, the Nuggets had a meltdown of Cherobyl-esque proportion, yet this time we seem to be able to survive it, with a couple of gritty wins recently. We know that we have a lot of intriguing pieces on the team, but are watching for something cohesive to gel, and with good reason (see "injuries" above). We know that Brian Shaw seems to have kept his team engaged, long after they were playing for anything more than pride. We know that our team has a propensity for playing to the level of its opponent, and that makes we nervous about tonight. Ahem.

Poor grammar aside, no one seems to have given your Denver Nuggets the memo that there's "nothing left to play for", and they've continued to strive for better things game after game, notching two wins in a row. That they pick up one of the leagues' worst teams on the second night of a home-road back-to-back just decreases Utah's chances of a fair fight, especially at altitude.

THREE more things to go on:

- Let's not forget that the Nuggets were the youngest team in the league last year, and that with Andre Miller seriously screwing our average up (just in carbon dating). One more campaign has seasoned this team, but very few of our assets have reached the apogee of their abilities. Watching a young team start to gel and believe is fun. Ask the Colorado Avalanche.

- The Nuggets have a 3x3 of players available (I know, I'm beating this three thing to death. Just say nine, Mike). With that short a bench, Anthony Randolph still did not see time last game, and has had minimal minutes when minutes abound. Guessing this last three games is AR15's gangplank. We hardly knew ye, Anthony.

- A win tonight evens the season series for the Nuggets. A moral victory at best, but I've been enjoying watching us blow up our draft-level odds. Just the opinion of one fan, but I'd rather see a team with heart grab a guy five rungs lower in the draft, but with some team confidence going forward. Especially with what I hear of this years' draft depth.

To wrap up my last preview this season, I wanted to thank the guys and girls at Denver Stiffs. Not only the founders, but the new writers, contributors and especially the folks on the threads all through the season. I've learned a ton this year from all of you about my favorite team, and I watch them through very different eyes than I did when the season started. It's weird that such an odd season will end up being one of my favorites simply due to this experience. But, I kind of like weird.

Three more to go, our time is growing short. GO NUGGETS! What say you, Nuggets Nation?

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