The Denver Nuggets are coming off an impressive win against the Toronto Raptors and looking to expand on the good feelings with a follow up win on the Philadelphia 76ers. Despite their best efforts to lose the game in the waning minutes, Denver managed to pull out a victory against a playoff caliber opponent on the road on the second night of a back to back and that's nothing to sneeze at. To follow up the impressive victory, the Nuggets face off against the league's worst in the 76ers to close out a tough five game road trip. It's amazing to think that with a victory Denver could actually salvage this road trip with a 2-3 record.
Philadelphia is continuing down a rebuilding plan that seems to have no end game and the Nuggets will look to capitalize. The 76ers have the youngest team in the league, with a ridiculous average age of 23.3 years and thus the team is consistently subject to growing pains, this year being no exception. Yet, there is no denying the young talent within the organization. Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel make for an intriguing front court and add to that the still recovering Joel Embiid and perhaps Philly has built a front court which could become a dominant force in the NBA in the years to come. Another thing to mention is that Dario Saric is still waiting in the wings and he boasts an elite combination of height and shooting ability. Despite all this, for the matter of today's game, the 76ers are still a vastly undermanned roster attempting to compete in the NBA and regardless of the Nuggets' own inexperience, this is a game they should win easily.
|Philadelphia 76ers||Denver Nuggets||Advantage|
|PG||Isaiah Canaan||Emmanuel Mudiay||Nuggets|
|SG||JaKarr Sampson||Gary Harris||Nuggets|
|SF||Jerami Grant||Danilo Gallinari||Nuggets|
|PF||Robert Covington||Kenneth Faried||Nuggets|
|C||Nerlens Noel||Joffrey Lauvergne||76ers|
|Bench||Richaun Holmes, T.J. McConnell, Nik Stauskas, Hollis Thompson, Phil Pressley, Tony Wroten||Nuggets
Injuries: Jusuf Nurkic - out (knee), Wilson Chandler - out (hip), Gary Harris - questionable (concussion), Kenneth Faried - questionable (ankle), Jahlil Okafor - out (suspension), Tony Wroten - questionable (knee), Kendall Marshall - out (knee), Carl Landry - out (wrist), Joel Embiid - out (foot)
Key match up: Joffrey Lauvergne vs. Nerlens Noel
I wanted to make the key match up Faried versus Okafor but unfortunately Jahlil decided to put a Boston fan in his place and that has resulted in him getting a two game suspension of which the latter half will be served against the Nuggets. Therefore, the "marquee" match up of the day will be the battle of the centers. Noel is a ferocious defender in the paint but he has limited offensive ability. Meanwhile, Joffrey has been picking up steam coming off his back injury and should present a formidable challenge for Noel. Still, despite Joffrey's skills and hustle, the raw talent is in favor of Noel so it will be intriguing to see which young player gets the best one another.
Key thing to watch for: Consistency.
Many, whether here at Denver Stiffs or elsewhere, have harped on the Nuggets ability to be consistent. Far too many games have seen a commendable effort for one half and an atrocious effort for another. Even in Denver's win against Toronto there were several mental lapses that could have led to defeat, none more egregious than the final two minutes of the game. Against another young and inconsistent team like the 76ers, the Nuggets must play a complete game. They don't have to be spectacular but if they can consistently execute their game plan they should be able to walk away with an easy win.
The early bird gets the worm.
It's a bit of an abnormality for both teams to be playing so early in the day for this game. In the past the Nuggets have not fared well in early day match ups. Last year Denver got embarrassed when visiting Golden State for an early day weekend game. Rumors have it that the team spent far too much recreational time the night before which led to a lethargic performance and a complete blowout. Obviously the 76ers have nowhere near the talent of last year's Golden State team so it would be quite alarming if the Nuggets get blown out. One has to believe that even a close contest against a 1-19 team would be a bit disconcerting, especially if energy is an attributable factor to their struggles.
Prediction: You woke up all bright eyed and bushy tailed this Saturday, ready for a Nuggets day game win against the hapless 76ers. You headed over to Denver Stiffs (thank you for that by the way) to get your preview on and immediately your heart sunk as you discovered that none other than the preview curse, Zach Mikash, would be covering the game. Trust me Nuggets fans, I feel you more than you can imagine, but I have confidence that today is the day I get off the schneid, so give me the Nuggets handily, 104-88.