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Preview: Nuggets Head to Boston for Showdown with Celtics

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The frustration continues to boil over in the Mile High City, as the Nuggets are 6-11 in 2015. Denver looks to avenge a 100-99 loss earlier in the season to Boston, when the teams face off Wednesday night.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Game 50: 2014-15 NBA Season
@

19-30 (7-17 on road)
Series 1-0 Celtics
17-30 (9-15 at home)
February 4, 2015
TD Garden - Boston, MA
5:30 PM MT
NBA-LP / Altitude / 104.3 FM

Ty Lawson PG Evan Turner
Arron Afflalo SG Marcus Smart
Wilson Chandler SF Avery Bradley
Kenneth Faried PF Brandon Bass
Jusuf Nurkic C Jared Sullinger
Notes
You're here! Blogs CelticsBlog
JaVale McGee - out and not with team (flu)
Injuries Kelly Olynyk - out (ankle)
Nuggets are now 1-10 in their last eleven games Etc... The Celtics are only 3 1/2 games out of the playoffs, in the Eastern conference

There is nothing new to talk about in Denver, as the Nuggets continue to struggle in 2015. Denver is 1-10 in their last eleven games and is coming off a 105-98 loss, at the hands of an 11 win 76ers team. The Nuggets will now look for a little revenge, when they take on the Boston Celtics in the second game of a back to back. Boston already defeated the Nuggets once this season, 100-99 at the Pepsi Center two weeks ago.

In that game the Nuggets allowed the Celtics to shoot 49% from the field and 43% from beyond the arc, while only shooting 29% themselves from the three point line. Avery Bradley gave the Nuggets all kinds of problems the first time out, scoring 18 points and shooting 4-5 from the three point line.

One of the biggest problems for Denver lately, has been their inability to score at the rim and tendency to live or die by the three point line. The Nuggets have shot a mere 49-148 (33%) from downtown in their last six games and are only 5-16, when they take 25 or more three pointers in a game. They need to take higher percentage shots, attack the paint more and STOP relying so much on perimeter shots. Denver should have success scoring in the paint against Boston, as they outscored them 44-32 in the team's first meeting. I expect Boston to look to force steals and pressure Denver heavily in this game, the Celtics average 8.0 steals per game (10th in the NBA) and are good at getting into passing lanes.

In the Nuggets first meeting with the Celtics, the team was without starting point guard Ty Lawson due to his recent apparent DUI arrest. Denver is gonna need more production out of Lawson, if they are to beat Boston as he has struggled lately. Over the past five games, Lawson is averaging 10.6 assists per game but, only 9.6 points per game on 34% shooting from the field and 29% shooting from beyond the arc. Denver will need Lawson to attack Evan Turner off the dribble, attack the rim, look to score and force the Celtics defense to collapse on him. Ty needs to be more assertive as well on the offensive end, teams have been taking the lane away from him lately and he needs to utilize his underrated mid-range game, to take advantage of that.

Prediction:

I think Brian Shaw will look to go more to the line-up of Jameer Nelson, Gary Harris (+14 in 18 minutes against the Sixers), Alonzo Gee, Danilo Gallinari and J.J. Hickson in this game. That was the group that showed some life in the fourth quarter against Charlotte (including Erick Green) and started the rally, late in the third quarter against Philadelphia.

I'm hoping to see Lawson attack Turner, who I think he can get by fairly easily and if he has a big game, Denver's chances to win are very good. I expect big games from Bradley and Jae Crowder offensively, while I think rookie Marcus Smart will frustrate Arron Afflalo for Boston.

Lastly, if he get the minutes watch out for Gary Harris to be an X-factor in this game. Harris has averaged 7.0 points, 0.5 blocks and 0.5 steals per contest over the last three games for Denver, while also shooting 50% from the field in 13 minutes per game. Ultimately, Denver will probably be sluggish given the natures of back to backs in the NBA and they will struggle against a young Celtics team, who's still fighting for playoff contention.