The long awaited season opener is finally here. The Nuggets are in Dallas and ready to kick things off tonight against an aging Mavericks team that got their butts kicked yesterday against the Miami Heat. The second night of a back-to-back is rarely fun, especially not for an older Mavs squad, so the Nuggets must take advantage of Dallas' tired legs and run, run, run.
The particulars ...
Denver: 0-0 (0-0 on the road)
Dallas: 0-1 (0-1 at home)
Streak: Lost 1
Season Series: 0-0
Opposition's Take: Mavs Moneyball
The Heat took a 97-65 lead into the fourth quarter yesterday in Dallas. A fourth quarter 29-8 run by the Mavs made the final score (105-94) respectable, but it wasn't much of a contest. The Nuggets should follow the same blueprint as the Heat by running early and often and that shouldn't be an issue with Ty Lawson leading the way for Denver.
The Nuggets youth and fast-break style should prove to be a positive tonight. George Karl likes his team to use aggressive defense to set up a fast-break offense. The glaring difference between these two teams: age. The average age of the Nuggets starters is 25 years-old. The Mavericks start Shawn Marion, 33, Brendan Haywood, 32, Vince Carter, 34, Dirk Nowitzki, 33, and Jason Kidd, 38. And their main bench guys: Lamar Odom, 32, Jason Terry, 34, and Delonte West 28 aren't getting any younger. The two young guys who should see some additional minutes tonight for the Mavs: combo-guard Rodrigue Beaubois, 23, who played just over 8 minutes last night against Miami and backup center Ian Mahinmi, 25, who played 15 minutes against the Heat.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade exposed the Mavs with their ability to push the pace and their willingness to share the ball. The Nuggets showed in their two preseason games against the Phoenix Suns that they also want to push the pace and that they have the players on the roster to do so.
Chemistry could be a bit of an issue for the Nuggets as they have plenty of new faces. Timofey Mozgov is expected to make his first start for the team tonight alongside Nene, Danilo Gallinari, Arron Afflalo, and Ty Lawson. We should expect to see plenty of Andre Miller, Rudy Fernandez, Al Harrington, and Chris Andersen off the bench with perhaps a sprinkling of Corey Brewer, Kosta Koufos, and maybe Kenneth Faried.
Tonight we'll get our first look at Karl's rotation and what he'll use for a crunch-time lineup. Rick Carlisle spread the minutes around last night for the Mavs, thanks in part to being down 20+ points most of the night. And he didn't play a single player over 30 minutes ... and he used all 13 players in yesterday's game.
The start of the season is here and we'll get our first look at what this Denver team has to offer.
To parody one of my favorite screaming actors, "YES, THE MAVS DESERVE TO LOSE AND I HOPE THE NUGGETS PUT THEM THROUGH HELL!"
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