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Game 4: Nuggets at Mavs PREVIEW/GAME THREAD

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Series: Denver leads 3-0
Tipoff: 7:30 p.m. MDT
TV: TNT

The Nuggets will have an opportunity to close out the series tonight in Dallas. But the Mavericks are not going to go down quietly and the Nuggets know that.

From Benjamin Hochman's article in the Denver Post today.

"I'm sure there are going to be moments early in the game where they're going to have tremendous toughness and intensity," Nuggets coach George Karl said at Denver's morning shootaround.

"You're at a stage in the series where everybody knows each other pretty well. There's going to be a lot of adjustments in the game, depending on who gets hot and who doesn't."

The Nuggets have a slew of adjustments to make after the Mavericks played their finest game of the series on Saturday.

Game 4 Adjustments:

  • Get back to finding the easy buckets. The Nuggets only recorded 15 team assists in Game 3 after notching 28 in both games at the Pepsi Center.
  • If Denver can get back to working the ball then I suspect the 14-44 (31.8%) combined shooting in Game 3 from Melo, Nene, and J.R. will be much improved tonight.
  • Rebounding. Denver was outrebounded 46-41 in Game 3, but more importantly gave up 11 offensive rebounds to the Mavs. Second chance points can ruin great defensive efforts and coincidentally give your opposition confidence.
  • On the flip side ... Denver grabbed 13 offensive rebounds in Game 3 with seven of them coming in the first quarter. Denver can thank their effort on the offensive glass in the opening period to knotting the score 20-20.
  • Cut down the fouls. The Nuggets sent the Mavs to the line 49 times in Game 3. The refs advised both teams before the game that they'd call a lot of fouls and they didn't lie. The Nuggets must adjust to how the game is being officiated ... 6 of Denver's 9 main rotation players finished with 4+ fouls with Bird fouling out in just 11 minutes of action. Johan Petro found himself on the floor for 2 crucial minutes in Game 3 and that's not a good thing for the Nuggets.
  • Attack like you mean it. Sort of a play on the Killers song, "Smile like you mean it." Denver needs to focus on dunking the ball when they are in the paint. Nene reverted back to his soft Hornets-esque self a bit in Game 3 and Denver needs to keep the Dahntay Jones vs. Erick Dampier mentality tonight.


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AP Photo/Matt Slocum

I expect an epic game tonight. The Mavs, again, are a proud team and a good team. The building should be on fire tonight in Big D and the Nuggets will have to earn every bucket they get tonight.

Dirk has been a killer in this series averaging 32 points per game off 52.5% shooting ... does this guy ever have an off night? I don't expect him to have one this evening with his team's season on the line.

Conversely, the Nuggets have Melo and Billups just for these kind of games and don't sleep on J.R. Smith.

ntimmons73@yahoo.com