Why is JaVale McGee's name in the headline above? Because we need to celebrate the new guy's debut just a bit more. McGee put up 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks in his Nuggets debut against the Pistons, including that exciting game winning put-back. McGee will have to continue to play well to give the Nuggets some strong interior play against one of the more underrated front-courts in the NBA ... belonging to Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, and the Utah Jazz. The suddenly surging Jazz have won five in a row after defeating the lowly Sacramento Kings tonight in California (103-102).
Denver: 26-21 (11-9 on the road)
Streak: Won 1
Utah: 25-22 (18-6 at home)
Streak: Won 5
Denver: Rudy Fernandez (back surgery) and Danilo Gallinari (fractured left thumb) are both out. Andre Miller (separated right shoulder) is probable.
Utah: Raja Bell (strained right abductor) is day-to-day.
Television: Altitude and ESPN
Season Series: Tied 1-1, final meeting of the regular season.
Opposition's Take: SLC Dunk
Last weekend was shaping up to be a very exciting one. I had tickets to go see comedian Bryan Callen at Comedy Works downtown for St. Patrick's Day and I would be celebrating yet another birthday just a couple days later with tickets to the Mavericks vs. Nuggets game (funny how those bdays come every dang year!). Then a couple things happened ... first, I got one of the nastiest flues of all time (Lob City? I was the Mayor of Puke City) and second, the actual Mavs/Nuggets game happened (Denver losing for the ninth straight time on my bday since 1982).
It would seem that my life goes just as the Nuggets season is going ... something good and then something bad. Yep, it's time for another "The Good" and "The Bad" preview ...
The Good: The Nuggets are playing quite well on the road this season.
The Bad: Apparently Ty Lawson and Jordan Hamilton hate packing, come to think of it - I hate packing for trips too!
The Good: C.J. Miles aka Nugget Killer #34 is only averaging 8.5 points per game against the Nuggets this season - that's actually under his season average of 9.2 ppg.
The Bad: Miles will now probably go for 25+ points against the Nuggets now that I've mentioned this and add that to the fact that he's now starting some games for the Jazz as well (four starts in 46 games so far) and he's sure to do some damage.
The Good: JaVale McGee looked more focused than I've ever seen him on the basketball court and that translated to 15 points and 7 rebounds and some great awareness on defense.
The Bad: New car smell doesn't last forever. Hopefully McGee can stay focused and help the team and himself. McGee did chase some blocks last night that resulted in, at least, one second chance bucket for the Pistons last night. You can't block every shot, but it seems like McGee will try. I also saw him pull his arm down on a block attempt that surely would have resulted in his second defensive goaltend versus the Pistons.
The Good: The Jazz only shoot 30% from three-point land this season as a team. That's second worst in the league (29th).
The Bad: The Nuggets continue to play, "show us" defense. That's where they beg their opponents to show the Nuggets that they can shoot as Denver sags off the deadliest of shooters. Results have been horrific. Utah shot 7-16 vs. the Nuggets in the two teams' first match-up and just 4-12 from deep in the second match-up ... hope that cold shooting from the second game continues.
The Good: Andre Miller will finally get some rest as his separated shoulder is healing ...
The Bad: Miller is playing through his pain! Might not be his worst idea to take a couple games off, but he is refusing to do so ... even if he can't shoot with that bum right shoulder. But he's still able to pass the ball and should be able to find McGee and Kenneth Faried for some easy lobs against the short and non-explosive Jazz big men (at least Jefferson and Millsap).
The Good: Lawson is averaging 15.2 points and 8.5 assists during the month of March.
The Bad: Ty started out super-hot after the All-Star break, but over his last six games he has put up some lowly offensive numbers too. In those last six games Lawson has put up four nights of 5, 9, 7, and 11 points and the Nuggets have gone 1-3 in those games.
The Good: Utah has a big front-court with Jefferson, Millsap, Enes Kanter, and Derrick Favors, but so do the Nuggets with Timofey Mozgov, McGee, Kosta Koufos, Chris Andersen, and Faried.
The Bad: George Karl has found ways to limit the Denver big man minutes with his small lineups. Andersen hasn't played in four of the team's last five games. And K2 hasn't played in seven of the team's last 10 games due to knee tendinitis and being inactivated by the team.
The Good: Denver is right in the thick of things for the 4-8 seeds in the Western Conference playoff push.
The Bad: There is nothing bad about being in the playoff hunt ...
Nate_Timmons on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Nate_Timmons