|Game 49: 2014-15 NBA Season|
|Feb. 3, 2015|
|Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, PA
|5:00 PM MT|
|NBA LP/Altitude2/104.3 FM|
|PF||Luc Richard Mbah a Moute|
Michael Carter-Williams - shin (questionable)
|The Nuggets are 1-9 in their last ten games, giving up 104.8 points per game and losing by an average margin of 12.4 points, during that stretch.
||Etc ...||The Sixers are only 29-102 under coach Brett Brown over the past two seasons.|
The Denver Nuggets are hurting right now, they've lost nine of their last ten and are coming off two embarrassing losses, in which they were outscored by a margin of 203-155. The frustration in Denver is palpable, as the team continues to play with mixed effort and players clearly are not following coach Brian Shaw's lead. Add to the fact that after a majority of games Shaw openly criticizes his players effort and inability to listen to him, that shows clear disconnect between Denver's lead man and his players. The Nuggets will look to get something positive going, when they face the struggling Philadelphia 76ers on the road.
Like the Nuggets, the 76ers are no stranger to facing struggle having won only 29 games the past two seasons. This season not much has changed for Philly, as they hold the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 10-39 currently and are in prime position, to get yet another top five selection in this year's NBA draft. However, the team has played better ball lately and shown improvement going 2-3 in their past five games. They've held their opponents to 90 points per game, while allowing them to only shoot 42% from the field, during this stretch.
Denver has been abysmal over the past five games, going 1-4 and playing horrendous on both ends of the floor. The Nuggets have been plagued by poor interior defense, rebounding and have settled for way too many three point shots. During this stretch, the Nuggets have been outscored in the paint 252-208, out rebounded 257-213 and shot a total of 117 three's, while making only 37 of those attempts (31%).
Luckily for the Nuggets defense, they'll be facing arguably the worst offensive team in the NBA this season on Tuesday night. The 76ers rank last in points per game (89.6), field goal percentage (41%), three point percentage (30%) and points per shot (1.11) this season. Philly also leads the league in turnovers per game at 17.6 and have scored at least 100 points, only seven times this year.
On paper Denver appears to be the better team, but I expect a close game in Philadelphia. While the 76ers struggle on offense, they're still a very solid and active defensive group. Philly ranks first in opponent turnovers per game (16.6) and steals per game (9.8), while ranking third in blocks per game (6.0). Given the Nuggets inability to finish at the rim and tendency to get careless passing the ball, there is no question in my mind that the 76ers defense can capitalize on Denver's laziness offensively.
If the Nuggets continue to show poor effort with their interior defense and allow the 76ers to pound the paint, it could be a long night for the mile high crew. I expect rookie Nerlens Noel to be a shot blocking presence for Philly and I think they will have success, keeping Denver out of the paint. If the Nuggets can get both Jusuf Nurkic and Kenneth Faried going early, while having Ty Lawson attack the teeth of the 76ers defense, they will have a good shot to win this game. Denver's bench will also need to play well, as 76ers rookies K.J. McDaniels and Jerami Grant will both cause problems for the Nuggets in the transition game and on defense. Tuesday night's contest won't garner much attention or interest, but I expect a closely contested game between two teams in desperation for a win.