Basketball is back! The Denver Nuggets came out strong for three quarters last night, then ran out of gas and nearly coughed up the game to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Denver doesn’t have a long recovery time but they do have six well-rested players who didn’t enter last night’s game, so expect some different faces tonight.
This game’s opponent is the Boston Celtics, who will bring their juggernaut forward combo of Guerschon Yabusele and Semi Ojeleye to the party. Let the next battle for NBA roster spots begin.
Who: Denver Nuggets (1-0) vs Boston Celtics (1-0)
When: 9:00 PM MT
Where: Cox Pavilion, Las Vegas, Nevada
How to watch: ESPN3
Who to Watch
Monte Morris - Last night was the Monte Morris Show for three quarters. He was Denver’s leading scorer, primary initiator, pace-setter, fast-breaker and in all other ways set the table. He said after the game that he wished he would have made some of the shots he’s been making in practice, but it was quite a performance as the best player on either team - until he ran out of gas along with the rest of the team. Denver’s offense stagnated without him for the first 30 minutes of the game, so he’ll need to find a way to keep that offense flowing with different teammates and some tired legs. It’s good training for the regular season.
Vlatko Cancar vs. Tyler Lydon - in the duel of distance-shooting forwards with questionable athleticism and projection, Cancar probably won the first round. Lydon shot well but not often, hit the glass and passed well which speaks to his commitment to Denver’s basketball style. Cancar stayed busy showing off his shooting touch, footwork, and court awareness. Plus/Minus loved Lydon’s minutes and hated Cancar’s, but I’m curious to see what round two brings in the future bench forward competition.
New faces - As I said in the opening, six players didn’t suit up in game one for Denver. I expect at least a couple of them to do so in game two. Petr Cornelie is the French version of Thomas Welsh (the Nuggets definitely like to pick up multiple shots at getting one good iteration of a preferred player type) and since Welsh got his shot last night I expect to see Cornelie tonight. Welsh already has his two-way contract signed with Denver, so finding time for a longer in-game look at Cornelie doesn’t hurt anything.
And with Denver going 4-for-21 from three-point range last night, I can see Andre Spight getting some run. Spight broke the Big Sky single season scoring record that had stood for half a century while playing for the UNC Bears this year and shot 40% from (college) three-point range on 320 attempts. He has a Lou Williams / Will Barton fearlessness in his game, and I’d like to see him make an impression.
It’s day two, Nuggets fans - enjoy it!