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Game 69 Preview & Thread: Hornets at Nuggets (7:30pm MST)

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80542_nuggets_hornets_basketball_medium_mediumWhen the Hornets play at Denver on Thursday night they'll be playing the second of a back-to-back, their fourth game in five nights and will be flying in from the Pacific Time Zone. Can you say "Nuggets blowout"?!

Didn't I just preview these guys? Oh, right, I did. When I covered the Hornets game last Friday night, I pointed out how rookie point guard Darren Collison has been an exceptionally bright spot in an otherwise dark season in New Orleans. But in spite of their numerous injuries, a major coaching change and the need to work in some young players, the Hornets are clinging admirably to an almost-.500 record, currently sitting at 33-36.

As of the writing of this preview, I have no idea if the Hornets will beat the Golden State Warriors at Oakland tonight. What I do know for certain, however, is that the Nuggets are going to destroy them at Pepsi Center tomorrow night and the game will be over within minutes of the second half.

I don't have the numbers handy, but the Nuggets are virtually unstoppable when a team comes into Denver from the Pacific Time Zone on the second of a back-to-back. Making matters worse for the Hornets, they'll be playing their fourth game in five nights (all on the road). As I've ranted against all season, games like this shouldn't even be scheduled because, ultimately, it's the ticket-paying fans like you and me who get screwed with an awful performance. And I guarantee that the Hornets performance at Denver Thursday will be god awful. In fact, if the Nuggets don't win this game by at least 15 points, I'll be beyond shocked.

As a note to the readers, due to a confluence of circumstances neither Nate nor myself can cover the next two Nuggets games (and no, we won't be partying somewhere on spring break, although it's fair to say that I'll be somewhere that has a sports book in it). So in our stead we're going to have two guest game recappers and I'm thrilled to announce that they'll be GoldenNugget for the Hornets game on Thursday and Beefy Swats for the Bucks game on Saturday. Both GoldenNugget and Beefy Swats will post their game recaps as FanPosts soon after the games are over, and I'll do my best to publish their recaps to the home page so Denver Stiffs readers can comment on them.

SCOUTING THE HORNETS (AGAIN)...

Hornets Stiffs

-Emeka Okafor: When I snagged Okafor in the middle of my fantasy basketball draft I was convinced I had a steal on my hands. Amazingly, Okafor played pretty damn well with Chris Paul but has been completely lost with Collison at the helm of the offense. So lost, in fact, that Okafor airballed two consecutive free throws against the Thunder recently.

-James Posey: Remember when this former Nugget was an integral piece to the championship puzzle in Miami and Boston? Now Posey is just another example of why guaranteed contracts ruin the NBA. Averaging a career-low 5.1 ppg on a career-low 35.3% shooting from the field, the now 33 year old Posey is due $6.9 million...two seasons from now!

-Peja Stojakovic: Due a mere $15.3 million next season, the soon-to-be 33 year Peja is averaging near career lows in all categories and will be out for a few games with a lower abdominal strain. Because, you know, what's an NBA season without Peja getting hurt?

Hornets Non-Stiffs

-Darren Collison: Many are ranking Collison as the NBA's second best rookie (I'll take Stephen Curry over Collison any day of the week, but still love what Collison is doing). The question facing the Hornets, however, is what to do with Collison when CP3 returns?

-Marcus Thornton: When you're the first second round pick to score at least 37 points in a game as a rookie since Sherman Douglas did it in 1990, you've got game.

-David West: On a team being forgotten by most who follow the NBA, West is quietly having yet another solid season. His scoring and and rebounding is down a tad, but his field goal percentage is up and he's had a slew of monster games recently. Notably a 40/10 game to lead the Hornets to victory over the Magic a few weeks ago.

Opposition's Take: At the Hive

Photo courtesy of AP: Bill Haber