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Game 44 Preview & Thread: Nuggets vs. Bobcats (7pm MST)

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Bobcats_tonight_medium The Nuggets will be without Carmelo Anthony tonight, but J.R. Smith will play (according to Chris Tomasson via Twitter). The Nuggets "eclectic" guard will not face suspension, but could still face disciplinary action.

The particulars ...

Records:
Denver:
29-14 (20-3 at home, 9-11 on the road)
Charlotte:
21-21 (18-5 at home, 3-16 on the road)
Denver Current Streak: Won 6. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games.
Charlotte Current Streak: Lost 2. They are 7-3 in their last 10 games.
Injuries:
Denver:
Carmelo Anthony (sprained left ankle) is out tonight.
Charlotte: Tyson Chandler (stress reaction in left foot) is out tonight.

Opposition's Take: Rufus on Fire (preview is up!)

When these two teams met back on December 8th, the Nuggets were without Kenyon Martin. At the time Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace was the league's leading rebounder and he pumped up his numbers by grabbing 16 boards (5 offensive) as the Nuggets were helpless against his assault.

Along with grabbing every loose ball in sight, Wallace aka Crash matched Stephen Jackson's team-high in the scoring department by dumping 25 points on the Nuggets. Denver was being beaten up on the glass a bit, but they were still able to remain in the game thanks to Carmelo Anthony's 34 point effort and J.R. Smith's 16 points off the bench.

With the game tied at 87-87 with just 5:56 remaining ... the wheels fell off. Charlotte utilized a 20-8 run to close out the game and defeated the Nuggets 107-95 on their home floor. Well, Denver gets a chance at payback tonight at the Pepsi Center. Charlotte has been one of the hottest teams in the NBA since 2010 started by going 9-3 in January. The Nuggets have been just as hot going 9-2 so far in 2010.

Charlotte's issue has been playing on the road. At home the Bobcats are one of the best teams in the NBA, but away from Time Warner Cable Arena they are just 3-16 and two of those wins have come in January (in Miami and Cleveland).

It's baffling how a team can be so good at home and so poor on the road. Tonight's match up features one of the NBA's best home teams versus one of the poorest road teams, but as it stands now the Bobcats are the 7th seed out East as they sit right at the .500 mark. Just bizarre, and frustrating for Charlotte fans, how a team can be so Dr. Jeckll and Mr. Hyde, but we see it quite often in the NBA (Utah Jazz anyone?).

The Nuggets will need some strong rebounding tonight if they are going to pull off a win without Melo.

I've been refreshing my Twitter feed since 11:30 a.m. to see about some J.R. Smith news ... Chris Tomasson Tweets that J.R. will indeed play tonight (or be in uniform anyway) and will not face suspension. This is really the big news of this game and it will be very interesting to see how much J.R. will be on the floor and how he is received when/if he checks into the game by the Pepsi Center crowd.

I will be in attendance tonight and will give Smith my full support. The Nuggets are gunning for a championship and Smith plays an integral role with the team. Denver cannot afford to trade Smith in my opinion, but he also has to get on board and stop worrying about his playing time and just make the most out of the time he's given. I'm not ready to give up on him and it appears the team is not either.

The only reason Smith's playing time is even an issue is because when he's on the floor he does not demonstrate that he's helping the team at all times. The only person who can change that is Smith and until he gets that and starts playing the right way his playing time will be inconsistent.

A little soap opera will play out tonight at the Pepsi Center with the Bobcats playing the role of distraction to what we really want to see ... J.R. Smith's response to the Hornets game.

Views you can use:

  • Seeing double? In the two teams first match up on December 8th, twin brothers Joey and Stephen Graham combined to play 30 minutes and registered 12 points and 7 rebounds for their respective teams. Joey will presumably start again tonight for the Nuggets in place of Carmelo Anthony, while Stephen will again see limited minutes (if he plays at all) for the Bobcats.
  • In Denver's win against the Hornets on Jan. 23rd, Arron Afflalo jacked up a season-high 9 three-pointers and he sank a season-high 5 of them.
  • Chauncey Billups' three-point shooting has been getting hot! Check out his monthly percentages from beyond the arc:
    • October (2 games): 38.5%
    • Nov: 37.8%
    • Dec: 41.9%
    • Jan: 48.1%

ntimmons73@yahoo.com
Twitter: Nate_Timmons

Photo courtesy of AP Photos.