Here are some numbers to digest before tonight’s game.
116 is how many points per game the Lakers averaged against the Nuggets last season, 14.6 is the Lakers average margin of victory against the Nuggets last season and 0-7 is the Nuggets record against the Lakers last season.
Needless to say things were pretty one sided. So far this season the Lakers have defeated the Trail Blazers by 20, the Clippers by 38 and knocked Greg Odeon out of action for two to four weeks.
The Nuggets have had a few feel good moments and are 1-1 after playing two road games without Carmelo Anthony. They do get Melo back tonight, but the rejoicing will be kept to a minimum knowing the Lakers are in town.
The one thing the Nuggets have going for them is their new found defensive intensity and focus. They will not be able to get away with sleep walking through any portion of this game. They lacked intensity in the third quarter in Utah and the second quarter in Los Angeles. They cannot afford a similar stretch tonight and expect to have a chance to win.
What I want to see tonight is the Nuggets compete. They can win, but the way LA is rolling, there is no shame in dropping a game to them. There would be shame in rolling over and getting gutted, but I do not believe that will happen.
I also want to see how Melo contributes to their newfound defensive effort. I have seen him doing some of the little things in practice such as keeping track of his man at all times and making the proper rotations. Now I need to see it in a live game.
Nene and Kenyon have their work cut out for them with the front court of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. The guards will once again have to help crash the defensive glass. With Nene and Bynum matching up fouls will once again play a major role. The chances that one of the two will pick up two first quarter fouls, if Nene is the one to get those two fouls the Nuggets will be in trouble.
The Lakers will probably double Melo when he gets the ball so they will have to cut and move without the ball to take advantage of that. I also want to see more and more of the pick and roll with Nene and Allen Iverson, J.R. Smith and Melo.
If the Nuggets can pull this game out, there might be something special going on with this team, but even if they lose hopefully we will see a continuation of the style they played in the fourth quarter of their first two games.
Head on over to Forum Blue and Gold to find out what Kurt, who is definitely one of the best bloggers in the business, has to say about the game.