When the Nuggets face the Toronto Raptors at the Pepsi Center Monday night, the team must find their aggressive side they missed the last couple games.
You know your worth when your enemies
praise your architecture of aggression
Just an observation, but the Nuggets need to seriously find their aggressive mojo again. While they have been "in" both of the last two games, they have lost their edge. Teams have caught up with their penetrating style, clogged the lane (and in the case of Dwight Howard, camping in the lane for more than three seconds) and the Nuggets have resorted to shooting jumpers rather than moving the ball to attack the lane.
Monday night's game against the Raptors will provide the Nuggets with an opportunity go "get their act together" so to speak. Andrea Bargnani "leads" this Toronto team into Denver following a disappointing season after the departure of Chris Bosh to the Miami Heat. While Toronto was given a healthy trade exception, they are currently looking at the NBA draft lottery for another game changer. Bargnani is a good, not great, player with a solid jumper for a big guy. Of the Italians in the NBA, I'd take Danilo Gallinari, but that's just me. Bargnani tends to get his points against the Nuggets, but since he's Toronto's primary scorer (at least now) that's to be expected.
The guards, Jerryd Bayless and Jose Calderon are both quick and effective. Bayless is a slasher and Calderon is the three-point specialist. Since Toronto is primarily a perimeter team, it's imperative that the Nuggets do a good job covering Calderon and Bargnani at the arc to disrupt the Raptors offensive attack. DeMar DeRozan is a wild card. He is crazy athletic but he's streaky.
Lest we forget, this team has three former Nuggets. Reggie Evans is somehow still in the league, and from what can be seen is contributing solidly in a limited role ... so ole Reggie is who he is. I always thought he was a "locker room guy" but reading the posts on Raptors HQ people seem to like him. Sonny Weems is an interesting cat, who only seems to preform against the Nuggets (as far as I've seen) but I'm not sure how much we will see of J.R. Smith's dunk contest lobbing partner. Linas Kleiza (Josh Kroenke's friend) is out for the rest of the season after knee surgery in February. Too bad, I like Linas and I hope he does well. Get well soon!
Also, Alex English is an assistant for the Raptors, he's my all time favorite Nugget. Time for Denver to give Alex a call and give him a place in the organization.
The Raptors will be on the second of a back-to-back (after playing in Oklahoma City Sunday and winning) so there's literally no excuse for the Nuggets tonight. Get a win. Period.
Nuggets of Wisdom
As I stated at the top, the Nuggets have not been aggressive enough. Settling for jumpers and trying to out shoot the opponents. That's not going to work against the toughest opponents (both Orlando and Miami would fall into the "tough" category). With Raymond Felton listed as day to day and Arron Afflalo likely to miss tonight's game, the Nuggets must rely on J.R. Smith, Ty Lawson and Gallo to get into the lane as much as possible. Be aggressive.
Against a team with very little inside presence, now is the opportunity to work out the kinks. Particularly with Gallo back in the lineup, George Karl needs to figure out how to rotate both he and Wilson Chandler. I'm of the personal opinion that Gallo works better as a starter. With AAA out maybe this is the opportunity to start both Ill-Will and Gallo together and give the Nuggets a taller starting lineup for a change eh? How about it coach?
Looks like Nene has lost some of his mojo recently. He could be a bit run down? Maybe limit his minutes and use Timofey Mozgov more? Split the difference with Chris Andersen's minutes and Nene's and give MOZGOV! some run? Rest Nene up for the San Antonio game on Wednesday? I thought MOZGOV! did well in his limited minutes on Saturday.
All in all, the Nuggets MUST return to being the aggressive team they are. With a tired team on a second night of a back-to-back coming in, it's time to work out the kinks and for the Nuggets to find their architecture of aggression.
Oppositions take: Raptors HQ