This is why we watch sports. We hope and pray that we get a chance to root for a special team. As a Nugget fan that chance comes along only slightly more frequently than death so when there is any chance that we may be witnessing a season where the Nuggets might make some serious noise it is difficult not to get excited.
The Nuggets are 15-4 in games where Chauncey Billups has suited up, there were a couple of good wins mixed in there and the losses against the Lakers, Cavaliers, Hornets and Spurs are all understandable. Naturally we want to know if this was just a nice stretch of basketball with a favorable schedule or are the Nuggets for real.
Tonight the Nuggets start a difficult six game stretch. It starts off in Dallas before they move on to play at Houston tomorrow night followed by Cleveland at home, a trip to Phoenix the next night and after a day off it is a back to back with Portland. It all adds up to six games in nine nights all of them against playoff quality teams and great chance for the Nuggets to prove how good they really are.
The Mavericks appear to be a stern challenge as they are riding a streak of nine wins in their last 11 games. Look closer and the Mavs are not playing quite as well as that record would indicate. In their last two games they have struggled to beat the Thunder and Bobcats at home and it required a monumental effort by Dirk Nowitzki to pull those games out.
Dallas has not only been getting some very good play from Dirk, but Jason Terry has been a dynamo off the pine. He is averaging a career high 20.8 points per game, but over his last 11 he is putting up 24.5 points per game. Over those 11 games Terry is hitting 51.2% of his shots and 42.9% from long range.
It will be vital for Denver to rotate and cover Terry as he is primarily a catch and shoot and pull up jumper scorer although he does have a floater in his arsenal too. Terry can pass when he wants to as he broke into the NBA as a point guard for the Atlanta Hawks so it is important to cut off penetration before the interior defense has to collapse on him. He did have a season high seven assists in the first matchup between the Nuggets and Mavs. Terry is a very good matchup for Anthony Carter so you can expect to see a lot of AC tonight.
For the Nuggets the Mavs do not have anyone who can handle Melo, Jason Kidd is not able to stay in front of Chauncey and Eric Dampier and DeSagna Diop should be in constant foul trouble by trying to cover Nene.
This is one of the more winnable games for the Nuggets during this six game stretch. Dallas used to be a house of horrors for Denver, but the Nuggets have broken through in Dallas over the past couple of seasons and should be playing with confidence tonight.
Previous Matchup: Game 5
Mavs Moneyball - The Mavericks are Lou Holtzin' the Nuggets (talking them up).
"Now it's on to the big fish." - Jason Terry
"They really do some fancy stuff defensively, and they’ve got so many athletes. They switch, and they jump, and they’ve got great hands." - Dirk Nowitzki