Coming off an effort that can only be described as “pathetic” against the Mavericks in Dallas, the Denver Nuggets look to reclaim their dignity in a rematch against the Memphis Grizzlies.

One can hope right?

Game: 31

17-13 (9-6 on the road)
Streak: Lost 1
Memphis: 16-14 (10-5 at home)
Streak: Won 2

: Timofey Mozgov (left ankle sprain) is a game time decision. Danilo Gallinari (left ankle sprain) is out. Nene Hilario (left calf strain) is a game-time decision.
Memphis: Zach Randolph (torn MCL) and Darrell Arthur (Achilles) are both both.

Television: Altitude 2

Season Series: Memphis leads 1-0

Opposition’s Take: Straight Outta Vancouver

I’m not going to spend too much time on the Grizzlies. We are familiar with their team. Marc Gasol is the fantasy of every Stiff at center. Rudy Gay is the scorer. Mike Conley is the slashing point guard. Marreese Speights is … ummm … a forward and doing pretty well from what I understand. Tony Allen is the defensive specialist (damn good at it too) and O.J. Mayo is the sharpshooter off the bench. That pretty much sums up the Grizzlies. With Zach Randolph injured they have actually done pretty well in holding together and forging a winning record so far.

Nuggets fans can point to a disappointing loss at Memphis on January 31st as the beginning of their current downward spiral. While the Nuggets recovered and defeated the Clippers in the next game, the poor execution down the stretch and the rather perplexing lineup trotted out in crunch time by coach George Karl all conspired to leave Nuggets fans with an uneasy feeling. This has, unfortunately, carried over through the various injuries the Nuggets have suffered the last two weeks.

Injuries are an easy and legitimate excuse for what’s going on with the Nuggets right now. Danilo Gallinari’s absence has been the most felt because the Nuggets creation ability on offense is severely lacking. It’s becoming more and more apparent that we are going to have to take the bad with the good in terms of Arron Afflalo. His performance in Dallas, along with Ty Lawson, was the anchor which dragged the Nuggets down in their last game. AAA is not a shot creator. Not a playmaker. He is simply a hard working wing player with occasional offensive bursts. The Nuggets need to work around that.

Ty is another story. His game against Dallas was disturbing because it was not only bad, it was timid. It was so timid that I was reminded of my complaints about Ty entering last season. He is a player who has to be reminded to be aggressive, constantly. Some people are just naturally that way, and quite frankly I don’t believe that Ty is wired that way. People come up with the convenient excuse that there’s always vets on the team (Andre Miller, Chauncey Billups) that Ty has to defer to. This is not true. Either you are aggressive or not, simple as that. Quite frankly stacking the lane only matters if you allow it to work.

Here at Denver Stiffs we are all about solutions, and with Gallo out for the foreseeable future … but with Nene, Timofey Mozgov and Wilson Chandler (who’s abilities have become mythical in stature) coming back in the next week/weeks this should start getting slightly easier on the offensive end. However, it will all be for naught if Andre and Lawson don’t drive to the basket.

My advice? Heed no stop sign, just get the ball and go to the cup. Draw as much contact as possible. Packing the lane only works if you let it. Simple as that. If you drive in every single time you have the ball in the half court set a couple things will happen. Fouls will be called on the defense, an offensive foul will be called, or someone will score or get an easy attempt at a layup. Three out of those four possibilities are good for the offensive teams. Keep doing it over and over and over. The hedging that the opposing teams are doing will only work as long as the point guard (Ty, Andre) get the ball out of their hands. Keep the ball and GO. That will loosen up the lane for more lay ups or mid range jumpers, which will in-turn make for easier three-point shots.

With Gallo out this is how the Nuggets MUST create. If you impose your will it wont matter what the other team does on defense. The Nuggets have the ability to do these things, they just need to follow through. There's enough talent on this team even with the injuries to get the ball in the basket. It starts tonight in Memphis. I'm getting sick and tired of having to say "go for it" but it seems like this team needs a kick in the butt sometimes. Not from me (of course) but from a coach who hasn't enjoyed his best stretch of coaching recently. Lets see if Karl heeds the words and gets the Nuggets prepared.

Remember, the Nuggets SHOULD have won the last time they were in Memphis. The team should be rested so there are no legitimate excuses. Pedal to the metal Ty!

Twitter: @jmorton78!/jmorton78

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