clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Preview: Denver Nuggets at New Orleans Pelicans, 6pm

New, comments

The Denver Nuggets will face the injury-plagued New Orleans Pelicans tonight as they look to get back over .500 after their blowout loss to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets, in an attempt to remove the horrible taste in their mouths after their blowout loss to the Phoenix Suns two nights ago, will take on the New Orleans Pelicans tonight. The Pelicans will also be looking to have a bounce-back game after losing to the New York Knicks on Sunday, 87-95, despite a dominant performance from Anthony Davis in which he scored 36 points, brought down 11 rebounds and had 4 blocks.

Like the Nuggets, the Pelicans have also been plagued by injuries through the early season. Tyreke Evans, Norris Cole and Quincy Pondexter have yet to play in a game with various injuries, while Omer Asik, Jrue Holiday, Kendrick Perkins and Davis have been forced to sit out multiple games with injuries of their own. They won't get any sympathy from the Nuggets, however, as Denver has been without Joffrey Lauvergne, Jusuf Nurkic and Wilson Chandler throughout the majority of the season.

The injury storyline has been an unfortunate one for the Pelicans, as they were expected to improve in the standings this season after barely making the playoffs in 2015. Playing without multiple key players has not allowed them to get off to a great start, however, and their current record sits at 1-9 with their lone win coming against the Dallas Mavericks. The Nuggets will have to bounce back on the road against a team that is starving for a win, and with Davis back in the lineup after missing two games with a bruised hip and averaging 25.5 points and 9.3 rebounds, it won't be easy.

The Basics:

Who: Denver Nuggets (5-5) at New Orleans Pelicans (1-9)

When: 6:00pm MST

Where: Smoothie King Center

How to Watch: Altitude

Rival Blog: The Bird Writes

New Orleans Pelicans Denver Nuggets Advantage
PG Jrue Holiday Emmanuel Mudiay Even
SG Eric Gordon Gary Harris Pelicans
SF Alonzo Gee Danilo Gallinari Nuggets
PF Anthony Davis Kenneth Faried Pelicans
C Omer Asik J.J. Hickson Even
Bench Alexis Ajinca, Toney Douglas, Ish Smith, Ryan Anderson, Dante Cunningham, Jimmer Fredette, Luke Babbit Jameer NelsonDarrell Arthur, Kostas Papanikolaou
Will BartonNikola JokicRandy FoyeMike Miller
Even

Injured Players: Joffrey Lauvergne, back (out), Jusuf Nurkic, knee (out), Wilson Chandler, hip (out), Kenneth Faried, back (questionable), Will Barton, shoulder (probable), Jameer Nelson, SI joint (probable), Darrell Arthur, sinus infection (questionable), Kendrick Perkins, pectoral (out), Tyreke Evans, knee (out), Norris Cole, ankle (out), Quincy Pondexter, knee (out)

Key Matchup: Anthony Davis vs. Kenneth Faried (or whoever starts in his place)

This matchup will be a big factor in determining which team comes away with the win. Obviously, Davis is a top five player in the league when healthy and has always been a huge challenge for the Manimal. In the three games these two matched up in last season, Davis averaged 26 points, 11.7 rebounds and 4.3 blocks. The last time the Nuggets and Pelicans played one another (March 15, in a game the Nuggets won in double overtime), Davis went off for 36 points, 9 blocks, 7 assists and 14 rebounds...a monstrous performance to say the least. If Faried (assuming he even plays) and the Nuggets can somehow manage to keep Davis under control, they will have a good chance to come away victorious. If Faried is unable to play and the Nuggets are forced to go even smaller, then this matchup will be even tougher.

Thing to Watch: The Nuggets' offense: Field goal percentage and attacking the basket

The Nuggets had a disastrous performance from the field on Saturday night, shooting only 34.7% (this number actually seems too high) and an abysmal 17.1% from the three-point line (this seems about right). If the Nuggets want to win tonight, they will have to a) hit more shots and b) attack the rim when the shots are not falling. The biggest problem against the Suns was that the Nuggets seemed reluctant to attack the basket, whether in fear of getting their shots blocked or for some other reason, and so they continued to take jump shot after jump shot. Since they were missing a majority of these, they fell into a hole that they just could not climb out of the rest of the game. With Davis on the court tonight, it will be interesting to see if the Nuggets attack him inside or if they shy away and live on the perimeter. If they want to win, they have to get aggressive but also will have to hit a few more jump shots than they did on Saturday.

Key Question: Can the injured contribute?

Nelson, Barton, Arthur and Faried are all dealing with injuries/sickness, and the question for tonight's game is whether or not they will play and if so, whether or not they can contribute.