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Game 81 preview & GAME THREAD: Nuggets vs. Kings

Records:
Denver 53-27 (32-8 at home)
Sacramento 16-64 (5-34 on the road)

Season Series: Denver leads 2-1
Dec. 6 in Sacramento: Nuggets won 118-85
Jan. 20 in Denver: Nuggets won 118-99
March 8 in Sacramento: Kings won 114-106

The Nuggets have a lot to play for tonight. A win tonight and Denver claims the Northwest Division (or a Portland loss at home to the Thunder tonight). A win tonight and a Houston loss at home against New Orleans and the Nuggets also guarantee themselves the #2 seed in the playoffs.

But after losing last night in the fashion the Kings did, with Michael Finley hitting the game winning three-point shot with an expired shot clock (basket counted by the refs) should have the Kings pretty fired up.

The Kings will be without leading scorer Kevin Martin (24.6 ppg) who had been averaging 19.7 points and shooting 69% from three-point land against the Nuggets this season.

Kings coach Kenny Natt has shut Martin down for the final two games of the season with an ankle injury.

I will once again be watching Francisco Garcia in this one. Garcia is averaging 13.7 points and 62% from distance against the Nuggets, who I still believe Denver should have drafted instead of Julius Hodge in 2005 at number 22 ... instead the Kings grabbed him at 23 and took the very shooter the Nuggets were in desperate need of.

In the Kings win on March 8th, Garcia outscored the entire Nuggets bench 19-17 on 6-8 shooting (2-3 from deep) and 5 of 8 from the foul line.

The Kings give up 109.5 points per game, which is the second most in the league next to Golden State (112.4). All the Nuggets have to do is play some defense tonight and they should almost surely get the win. It's been the same recipe all season. Pass the ball on offense, play with energy an focus on defense, then rinse and repeat!

Pregame notes:

  • The Kings have posted a 2-15 record since beating Denver in Sacramento on March 8th
  • Carmelo has averaged 24 points and 7 rebounds against the Kings in his two games this season
  • Kenyon Martin is once again a game-time decision and has only played in one game versus the Kings ... he scored 16 points, but grabbed only 1 rebound

Be a part of the Game Thread tonight and have a chance to win Quote of the Night. Still searching for partner to add a prize for Quote of the Night.

ntimmons73@yahoo.com