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Nuggets at Kings: Have cool, will travel... (8pm MDT)


The Nuggets face the Kings for the second time in three days in the bizarre home-and-away series. This time in Sacramento where Ty Lawson and Company are likely playing for the last time as the Kings are just about set to move to Anaheim. The Nuggets need to pack their "cool" for this game.

Face it and fight or turn high tail and run
'Til it comes back again just like the rising sun
Say they do all they can, it's just another lie
The answer's plain to see, nobody wants to try

There's no recess and no rules in the school of life
If you listen very closely you'll see what it's like
Have cool, will travel

-Dave Mustaine

Didn't we just play these guys?

Oh yeah. We did. Well there's not much I can add to Andrew Feinstein's preview from Wednesday. So I will just say that all the players for this game will be the same except Arron Afflalo is expected to play. I'm assuming that will mean he's a game time decision.

I'll spend the bulk of this preview focusing on the impending departure of the Sacramento Kings to Anaheim after this season. Nuggets fans – can you believe this will be the last time our team get's to play at ARCO Arena or as it's known know, Power Balance Pavilion? Why it seems like only yesterday that Chris Webber, Mike Bibby (and before him Jason Williams), Vlade Divac and a young Hedo Turkoglu came within one win or one horribly officiated game away from going to the NBA Finals in 2002. Everyone who saw that game knows what happened.

The Kings imminent departure from Northern California puts in boldface type the serious revenue sharing problems of the NBA. Specifically the local television money that isn't split equitably. The Kings owners, Joe, Gavin and George Maloof seem to think that the Los Angeles television market will provide them with equal footing to compete in today's game. Whether they can get that equal footing in the greater L.A. market remains to be seen.

The fact that the Maloof's feel they need to escape Sacramento (there's other issues such as needing a new arena and so forth) points to a serious problem the League has. NBA franchises seem to want to extort public financing of arenas in order to stay competitive – and this speaks to franchise value issues and small market imbalance. It's tragic that the great fans of Sacramento and Seattle had to see long-time basketball teams exit because of accounting issues that only the people of Arthur Andersen can understand (while the whirr of a shredding machine drowns out replies). It is sickening. Yet - it's the reality of the NBA as currently constructed.

Revenue sharing NOW!!

There's something intrinsically nostalgic about playing a team in their arena for the last time. I felt the same way the last time the Nuggets played at Key Arena in Seattle. It's sad and I hope there comes a day when small- to mid-market teams can stand on equal footing with the big markets in the NBA.

Nuggets of Wisdom

The Nuggets played a very rusty first half on Wednesday (March 30th). Shots weren't falling. Free throws weren't falling. Denver's defense was disinterested and Kenyon Martin went out due to the flu in the first quarter. All a recipe for disaster for the pre-trade Nuggets. However, the Nuggets turned up the defensive intensity and wore down the tired Kings in the second half.

The team won't get away with that this time. With AAA most likely coming back the Nuggets, his presence should put the clamps down defensively from the get go. For some reason Denver has trouble playing in Sacramento. With the Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Hornets right on their tails there's no margin for error. The Nuggets need to win these types of games. Any slip and they could find themselves in for a dog fight for playoff positioning.

To get the Nuggets through this game, I am counting on Ty Lawson and Raymond Felton (TyRay Felson) and J.R. Smith to be the key factors. The Nuggets need to play hard from the get go and leave no doubt by the third quarter. With the Lakers game on the horizon (Sunday afternoon) it's imperative that the team not get caught in a slug-fest. George Karl also needs to put an end to any bad run in the first half by either calling a quick timeout or just pulling ineffective players quickly. Al Harrington reverted back to old Big Al last night. Even though he finished with 15 points he was blowing layups (much like the rest of the team) and I think Karl relied on him far too much. Paul Westphal is a good coach and often out maneuvers Coach Karl. Lets see if the Nuggets can give the Kings the beatdown that they bestowed on us in January.

Goodbye Sactown! It's been a pleasure hearing your cowbells and your great fans.

Oppositions take: Sactown Royalty

Email: mortonagency@juno.com