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Game 22 Preview & Thread: Nuggets at Bobcats (5pm MDT)

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Larry_brown_mediumDenver boasts a 2-0 record on their current roadtrip with impressive second half efforts against the Spurs and 76ers. The Nuggets mission now is to continue with their impressive effort in the second-half of this four game road swing, starting tonight against an up-and-down Bobcats squad.

The particulars ...

Records:
Denver:
16-5
Charlotte: 8-11 (7-3 at home, 1-8 on the road) (key wins: vs. Atlanta and Cleveland)
Injuries:
Denver:
Kenyon Martin (dislocated left little finger) is a game time decision. X-ray following the game came back negative. Malik Allen (flu) is listed as day-to-day and was inactive last night against the 76ers.
Charlotte: None to report.

Opposition's Take: Rufus on Fire

The Nuggets will be playing their 7th back-to-back match of the season tonight in Charlotte where they will look to improve their 4-2 record on the second night of the sets. The Bobcats are well rested and last played December 5th when they beat Philadelphia 106-105.

The first intriguing matchup tonight boils down to two old friends ... Larry Brown vs. George Karl: The Carolina Boys. Karl has the early advantage because he gets to use/brag/drool-over UNC alum Ty Lawson while Brown is having to play a Duke Blue Devil, rookie Gerald Henderson. I'm sure some friendly conversation will take place with the rookies being the subject.

But Henderson isn't even the best Gerald on the team, that honor belongs to Gerald Wallace. The 6'7'' Wallace is leading the NBA in rebounding with 12.2 boards per game ... just ahead of Chris Bosh and Dwight Howard (12.1). When Wallace isn't pulling down boards, he's scoring. The ultra-athletic forward is the second leading scorer for Charlotte with 15.6 point per game.

Charlotte's leading scorer? The recently acquired Stephen Jackson with 17 ppg. The "I don’t want to be a role model. Being captain was overrated to me, anyway. You don’t do anything but go out before the game and talk to the refs. I don’t want to do that, anyway," Jackson will be playing in his eleventh game with the Bobcats and after dropping his first three games with the team, Charlotte is a respectable 5-2 with Jackson on board. But it's worth mentioning that one of those losses (Dec. 4th) came in New Jersey against an 0-18 Nets squad.

Another thing the Bobcats have in common with the Nets ... they are the second lowest scoring team in the league at 89.4 ppg just ahead of New Jersey (87.6). The trade for Jackson was essential because the Bobcats needed somebody to come in and take some of the scoring load. Many people thought the scorer coming in before the season was going to be Allen Iverson, but Charlotte chose to wait and trade for Jackson and his three-years and over $27 million left on his contract after this season.

In another salary dump move the Bobcats traded for Tyson Chandler. Yes, the same Tyson Chandler who has never developed a reliable offensive move other than the alley-oop and can't seem to stay healthy. Chandler has missed two games this season, but can still be a big time rebounder when healthy and the Nuggets must not allow him to be a factor on the boards since they'll already be worrying about Wallace.

A couple other interesting names that jump out ... Boris Diaw and Raymond Felton. Diaw is a versatile forward who can go into attack mode on offense unless you play him physically and K-Mart is the perfect cover for that. Felton is Brown's UNC connection at point guard. Felton isn't going to shoot lights out, but he does possess decent basketball IQ and will try to get into the lane where he can set up teammates or get himself in the scoring column.

If this game gets out of hand then there is a chance you might think you're seeing double. Joey Graham's twin brother Stephen plays for the Bobcats, but most likely wont see any action until garbage time or if one of the wings gets into serious foul trouble early.

Joey on the other hand saw some action last night as Melo was struggling to find his rhythm against the 76ers. Several comments in the game recap last night mentioned seeing Melo in a foul mood before, during and after the game ... some readers witnessing this from their living room and a couple seeing it first hand at the game. And reader BrianD pointed out the following sentence from the game story in the Denver Post:

After the game, Anthony slipped out of the locker room without talking to reporters, a rarity for the normally cordial star.

The Nuggets will definitely need a solid effort from Melo tonight if they expect to beat a Charlotte team that is loaded with wing players and keeps their opposition right around the 90 point mark. I'm sure I wont be the only one watching the body language and effort coming from Denver's superstar and the league's leading scorer.

The Bobcats are an up-and-down team and the Nuggets must make sure the Bobcats stay down tonight.

ntimmons73@yahoo.com
Twitter: Nate_Timmons

Photo courtesy of AP Photos: Gregory Smith