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Nuggets vs. Timberwolves: Sweating Bullets (7pm MDT)


As the Nuggets attempt to rebound from another loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, what better remedy than a second night of a back to back, at home, with Minnesota Timberwolves.



Feeling claustrophobic
Like the walls are closing in
Blood stains on my hands and
I don't know where I've been
I'm in trouble for the things
I haven't got to yet
I'm sharpening the axe, and my
Palms are getting wet, sweating bullets

Dave Mustaine

After the Nuggets lost last night, I spent alot of time thinking about match-ups and different scenarios. Much time thinking about the Nuggets supposed deficiencies against the Thunder. Things of that nature. Then something dawned on me - Who cares? What we are seeing right now will bear little to no resemblance to what we will see in the playoffs. Now is the time for the Nuggets to get healthy and to limit the minutes of the starters while still trying to win the next two games to sew up the 5th seed in the playoffs.

So let the Thunder crow. They got a well deserved division title and beat the Nuggets in a season series for the first time since 2003 (when they were the Sonics). More on this later.

As for the T-Wolves what can be said? Another disappointing season and at 17-62 their main interests are playing out the string, trying to once again persuade Ricky Rubio to play on their team, and speculating whether Kurt Rambis' black rimmed nerd glasses from the 80's need to come back. I'm sure there's others. I'm not meaning to be disparaging of the T-Wolves, this is just the third time I've covered at T-Wolves game and coming up with new things to talk about has been vexing. Seriously.

Kevin Love is a tenacious rebounder who manages to always play above his head. He's like Nick Collison - if Collison actually had talent to couple with his energy. He always collects mounds and mounds of rebounds against the Nuggets and I'm sure it will continue tonight. Darko Milicic is still on the T-Wolves and he does a decent job clogging the lane and chipping in the odd point. Michael Beasley is a good small forward and would be part of an good foundational core with Love if the T-Wolves General Manager was someone other than David Kahn.

Ah David Kahn. The former sportswriter with the easily parodied name (KAAAAHHHHHNNN!!) who's 2009 draft will go down as one of the most bizarre in NBA History (drafting three point guards in the first round, then trading one away; Ty Lawson) it makes one wonder what this team would look like outside of that construction. It's a shame. Kevin Love is truly a player that any team would step over their grandmother to get. While not quite on the same level, you have Beasley who can score and create his own shot. Something that's a premium in this league.

Wesley Johnson is another interesting piece that the T-Wolves have. While not a great player, he's intriguing enough to wonder if he applied himself would he become that guy you can count on? I don't know enough about the Timberwolves to know this. Johnny Flynn is still trying to improve his game, and enough time has passed that I think an adequate judgment can be made that the Nuggets got the better of the point guards (Rubio excluded).

Sweating bullets arent you? Regular season is almost over.

Nuggets of Wisdom

I understand the knee-jerk reaction is to freak out over these losses to the Thunder. Yet, have hope Nuggets fans. Understand that the team that will be facing the Thunder in the playoffs (most likely) is not the team that they saw these last two games. I've made this point before, but Arron Afflalo and Chris Andersen do make a difference when it comes to playing the Thunder (both are questionable for tonight's game). Particularly because AAA is a tenacious defender and will gladly take his turn guarding Kevin Durant, and he also makes the Nuggets offense run more smoothly (thank you chantech). Bird annoys the crap out of Serge Ibaka, and his presence in the second unit in terms of energy is invaluable. When Birdman is in, rotations normalize and he contributes at an efficient percentage.

One last thing. Once again, the second unit - particularly Al Harrington - has been a black hole against the Thunder. It happened yet again on Friday night. When Harrington came in the offensive efficiency went in the tank and the defense suffered. Make no mistake that the Nuggets starters were holding their own just fine against the Thunder, but the second unit got killed. Big Al was the main culprit. I understand big Al will be part of the playoff rotation but I'm dreading his "weakest link" exposure will be too much to overcome.

Lets hope he figures it out.

Email: mortonagency@juno.com