|Game 4: 2014-15 NBA Season|
|Nov. 4, 2014|
|Sleep Train Arena - Sacramento, CA
|8:00 PM MT|
|Altitude / 950 AM
|Ty Lawson||PG||Darren Collison|
|Arron Afflalo||SG||Ben McLemore|
|Kenneth Faried||PF||Jason Thompson|
|Timofey Mozgov||C||DeMarcus Cousins|
|Um... You are already here...
|None (J.J. Hickson is serving game 4 of his 5 game suspension)||Injuries||None|
Denver's lowest scoring game of the season (Game 1, 89 points) is also their only win thus far.
If the Kings win this game, they are off to their best start in 13 years.
The Denver Nuggets are off to California's capitol with revenge on their minds, after a lackluster game in Denver on Monday night. Sacramento took 47 of the 63 foul shots called in the game, and made 40 of those to put Denver in a deep hole. Combined with the Kings vastly improved defense and a number of shots failing to fall for the good guys, and it's a bit of a miracle the Nugs only lost by five points (110-105).
The season has had a bit of a rocky start, with confounding losses to the Kings and Oklahoma City Thunder, and a sub-90 point victory against the Detroit Pistons. With players looking to find their rhythm and shots on the offensive end, and a few holes still to work through on the defensive end, Denver is not coming out of the gates as they'd hoped. This fact has Nuggets fans on edge early on, but rocky starts have also borne some pretty fun seasons along the way (our recent 57-win campaign amongst them). Though the first 144 minutes have left a lot to be desired, here's hoping that we might watch a few more games before deciding to strip the cupboards bare.
Denver comes into the contest trying to break out of a season-starting-slump, shooting 35, 44, and 39% from the floor in the three games, respectively. Even the high-percentage stuff has failed to fall early, and Stiff Stud Jeff Morton reported that shooting occupied a large part of the Nuggets recent practice, in hopes of breaking out sometime soon. One of the first 12 quarters the Nuggets have played have been worth celebrating, and that might be generous.
On the defensive end, there are glimmers of hope to be seen, with several more defensive-minded players on this season's squad. Alonzo Gee, Wilson Chandler, Darrell Arthur, and many more have shown early signs of what could become one of Denver's best defensive squads in years.
Surprsingly, Sacramento has started the season as one of the NBA's top five defenses, so the Nuggets need look no further than across the court for some unexpected inspiration.
From the Top...
Early on, Brian Shaw has called himself on the carpet a couple times, with a few head-scratchers along the way: letting an eight man crew from OKC dictate the pace, and not running straight at their only point guard when he had five fouls in the game? Tough stuff. Shaw admitted as much, recognizing Denver was ill-prepared for the Thunder's zone defense. He also lumped himself into the picture when discussing the offense and fouls from Monday night's loss to the Kings.
Though there were questionable moments, it was heartening to hear Shaw address his own growth opportunities along with those of the team. I'm admittedly a Nuggets optimist, but there's a lot of talent on this team, and the ability to identify issues and improve on them will be a vital cog in turning these close losses into close wins, hopefully carrying over to even bigger things.
What's your expectations for tonight, Stiffs? Can the Nuggets exact a little revenge and even up their record in one fell swoop? Will the scoring finally get on track? Can Brian Shaw find a few hot combinations and push the right buttons with this squad?
The road from here doesn't get much easier, so how our boys come out of the gates tonight could be an early indicator of how this team will respond to adversity this year. On our boards, I've seen a few early rumblings that could get seismic quickly if we don't put a few pieces together. Give me your barbaric yawp, Nuggets Nation.