The first place Denver Nuggets, thank you Orlando Magic, play the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight for the third time in their first 22 games. Thank God we do not see them again until April.
This may not be the best time to matchup with the Wolves as they are playing their second game under Coach Kevin McHale’s second stint guiding the team. Believe it or not, McHale has a higher career winning percentage (59.3%) than George Karl, who sports a very fine 59.0% career winning percentage (McHale also beats such greats as Larry Brown – 55.8%, Don Nelson – 57.5% and Jeff Van Gundy – 56.8%). In McHale’s first game back on the bench the Timberwolves gave the Jazz all they could handle. However, that game was in Minnesota and tonight’s battle is in Denver.
Denver also has a seven game winning streak against the Timberwolves and a four game home winning streak in Denver. That streak will most certainly end, but hopefully not this season.
After watching Denver and Minnesota matchup the key is simply for the Nuggets to take the Timberwolves seriously. Hopefully the coaching change will convince the Nuggets they have to play an intense and smart game because the Timberwolves are going to go all out. They know they can play the Nuggets tough, in fact they really have had the Nuggets beaten a couple of times during the seven game streak.
If you want to see signs of whether or not the Nuggets are taking this game seriously look to see if the front court is matching the intensity of Al Jefferson, Craig Smith and Kevin Love and if they are making things tough on Mike Miller and Rashad McCants on the perimeter.