The Nuggets are on a roll, and playing a back half of a back-to-back against the Sacramento Kings. These things are true.
What we don't know is when Danilo Gallinari, Nene Hilario and Rudy Fernandez will play. With any hope they will be back tonight.
Denver: 21-17 (10-8 at home)
Streak: Won 3
Sacramento: 12-25 (4-19 on the road)
Streak: Lost 3
Denver: Danilo Gallinari (left ankle sprain) is a game time decision. Nene (left calf strain) is a game time decision. Rudy Fernandez (lower back strain) is a game time decision. Timofey Mozgov (left ankle sprain) is day-to-day. Kosta Koufos (knee tendinitis) is day to day.
Season Series: 2-0, Denver.
Opposition's Take: Sactown Royalty
This is the third time the Nuggets have played the Sacramento Kings this season.
There's not much to actually say about the Kings aside from the fact that this was one of the teams I most looked forward to watching this season - well - that was before the season started. You know, before their team devolved in to DeMarcus Cousins vs. Paul Westphal drama. Before Jimmer Fredette found out the hard way that the NBA is much different than college (although he seems to be regaining his footing the last two games). Before Keith Smart was hired as the Kings coach and ... well ... so forth.
One bright spot for the Kings has been Isaiah Thomas (don't call me Zeke). He has provided quite the spark and lift to this otherwise moribund team. (along with recent news that the Kings are most likely staying in Sacramento with MAYBE the construction of a new arena). His recent play along with Cousins "I'm troubled, most likely a jerk, but I'm talented" act make for a still intriguing mix. Albeit sketchy.
Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans. I would like to call them Chuck and Chucker....but I feel those names are stupid, so I won't. You get the point though. After a promising rookie year, Evans has devolved into a guy who likes to throw the round orange ball at said hoop with much frequency. Thornton has always been that way, quite frankly. No change there.
Both the Nuggets and Kings are coming off a game last night (Nuggets victory over the Spurs, Kings loss to the Suns) and so the "tired legs" excuse should be null. Yes, the Kings will be motivated to avenge two bad losses earlier in the year by large margins, but I have a feeling they are more concerned about the things they need to do going forward to get better and more consistent. Continue the development of Thomas, and hopefully get the "good" Cousins more consistently. The pains of developing a young team are many, and the Kings hope to get better bit by bit.
Nuggets "may" still be quite injured this evening. We won't know till close to game time who is playing and who is sitting out again. This may give the Kings some life this evening. Hopefully there's no letdown from the team and they come out and take care of business.
Nuggets of Wisdom
A calf strain.
A commenter in Nate Timmons' preview thread for the the Spurs game (a Spurs fan) pointed out that it took Spurs backup center Tiago Splitter just about a week to come back from that particular injury. I've pointed out before ... I'm not familiar with a key player on any team ever sitting out for close to a month with a calf strain. This is what Nene has done. It will definitely be interesting to see if Nene actually plays tonight. If Nene is held out again, I'd say it's fair to start questioning the Nuggets as to what they are doing. Hopefully Nene plays tonight and ends all question. I believe the brutal questioning of Nene's toughness has been quite unfair lately (particularly by Mark Kiszla, but ... come on, it's Kiz) and I'm convinced that there are two things afoot in this situation. Either Nene was/is more severely injured that publicly stated, or Nene is being held out by the organization for another as yet determined reason. At this point, I just hope he makes it on to the court tonight.
Danilo Gallinari has publicly stated that tonight is the game he wants to attempt to come back. Gallo's ankle injury was quite severe and I will be curious (if he plays) to see how he adapts after not playing for just about exactly a month. Even though the Nuggets have won their last three games, they really do need Gallo back and being productive. Hopefully the ankle lets Gallo come back tonight. Rudy Fernandez has been out for quite awhile with his back. I'm not anticipating him back on the floor tonight. Kosta Koufos suffered knee tendinitis against Houston and sat out the Spurs game. We shall see with him.
The emergence of Kenneth Faried has been great for Nuggets fans, as has Ty Lawson being consistently aggressive. It gives all fans a hope for the future. Now, Ty needs to STAY aggressive. I still have my doubts that he will, but I would love to be proven wrong. Lets see if he can turn on the blur tonight against the Kings once again.
Twitter: @jmorton78 https://twitter.com/#!/jmorton78