|Game 39: 2014-15 NBA Season|
|Jan. 16, 2014|
|American Airlines Center - Dallas, TX
|6:30 PM MT|
|Altitude / 104.3 FM|
|Danilo Gallinari - knee (out), JaVale McGee - leg (out), Randy Foye - quad (out)||Injuries||Rajon Rondo - Left achilles soreness (probable)
|The Nuggets beat the Mavs on Wednesday night in Denver to extend their winning streak to five games.
||Etc...||Dallas has only played one home game since December 30th.|
We're going streaking!
The Nuggets are currently on a five-game winning streak, tied for their longest winning streak of the season. They are also tied for 10th place in the western conference, and just two losses behind Phoenix for 8th. Nearly half way through the regular season the Nuggets are still holding on to a glimmer of hope for the final playoff spot in what is arguably the most competitive conference race in history. A win tonight could place them in a tie for the 9th spot and help them make up ground on the red hot Phoenix Suns. It's crazy to say this in January, but every loss matters and can be the difference between making the playoffs or joining the lottery.
Same team but... different
Dirk Nowitzki, Rajon Rondo and Tyson Chandler took the night off on Wednesday when the Nuggets beat the Mavericks in Denver. All three players should be fresh and available for tonight's game. Monta Ellis did play against Denver but looked extremely tired throughout the contest and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said after the game that he probably should've held Monta out as well. Although the available players fought hard, the Mavericks all but conceded a loss by resting their players on Wednesday. Tonight's matchup should be much more challenging for the Nuggets. Adding to that challenge, the crowd at American Airlines Center should be extra loud tonight since the Mavs have only played one other home game in 2015.
Fast pace and high scoring
At full strength, the Mavs have been one of the best teams in the NBA this season and have had one of the most efficient and productive offenses. They have scored over 110 points 14 different times this season and their 113.1 ORtg is 2nd best in the NBA. Denver has scored 110 points or more 10 times this season. Both teams play at a top-10 pace so expect the game to be high schooling.
Denver has actually been a top 10 team in DRtg (points allowed per 100 possessions) since January 1st and much of that has to do with the rim protection of Jusuf Nurkic. Nurkic has been an excellent on ball defender and seems to improve his pick and roll defense every game. He's has had a few high profile battles with excellent low post scorers in Marc Gasol and DeMarcus Cousins but he will have a whole new challenge tonight against Tyson Chandler. Chandler is extremely effective as a screener and very good at working in open space. It will be a big test for Nurkic to keep up with the long and mobile Chandler while also containing Ellis and Rondo who are very crafty at attacking big men in pick and roll offense.
Introducing Jameer Nelson
The Nuggets filled a big void at backup point guard when they signed Jameer Nelson earlier this week. While Nate Robinson provided scoring and energy off of the bench, Jameer will be much more of a true point guard and will help maintain some continuity between the starters and the second unit. Nelson will allow coach Brian Shaw to be more flexible with his lineups since he can mix and match bench guys with starters now that his two point guards are much more interchangeable, at least stylistically. Jameer will also be going up against his former team, a team he played for less than one month ago.