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Game 37: 2013-14 NBA Season

19-17 (8-9 on road)
Series 1-1
12-26 (7-11 at home)
January 13th, 2014
Energy Solutions Arena – Salt Lake City, Utah
7:00 PM MT
Altitude / 950 AM

Ty Lawson PG Trey Burke
Randy Foye
SG Gordon Hayward
Quincy Miller
SF Richard Jefferson
Kenneth Faried
PF Marvin Williams
J.J. Hickson
C Derrick Favors
You’re Here! Blogs SLC Dunk
Danilo Gallinari (knee) is out, JaVale McGee(leg fracture) is out, Wilson Chandler (groin) is day to day, Darrell Arthur (groin) is day to day.
Injuries Gordon Hayward (strained hip flexor) is a game time decision
Nuggets are on their longest winning streak since winning 7 in a row back in December. Etc… Gordon Hayward has been earning himself a nice contract, particularly with 37 point efforts against the likes of the Thunder

The blatantly tanking Utah Jazz managed to beat the Nuggets the last time these two teams played. It came during a time where the Nuggets weren’t taking the same “approach” to offense that they are now. Also, this was before the infamous Festivus on January 2nd shortly after the airing of grievances in the wake of Andre Miller’s banishment/purgatory for blowing up at Brian Shaw on the bench.

I, for whatever reason, have signed myself up for all the Utah Jazz games that have been played this season. Either I'm a glutton for punishment, or I just should schedule myself better. Probably the latter. At any rate, the Utah Jazz pulled off a massive upset of the Oklahoma City Thunder just two days prior to the Nuggets beating the same team on National TV. So taking this team lightly would be a very large mistake.

I may differ with some of my colleagues, I like Gordon Haywards game. He has actually got better every season he has been in the league, and the inability of the Jazz to come up with a good early extension for Hayward is perplexing. He's had an up and down year, but if you take the team he is playing with into consideration it's actually very good. 17 points 5 rebounds and nearly 5 assists a game is not bad at all for a fourth year player. It seems to me that one team is going to back a dump truck full of money up to his door, and Utah may struggle to match. Maybe.

Outside of that. Trey Burke is impressive as a rookie. I like his game very much, and as he matures he may be a player to watch out for in the Northwest Division. Derrick Favors has a very large early extension that he just signed that is making the Nuggets ability to sign Kenneth Faried that much worse (seriously, Favors agent needs to win agent of the year award for signing that contract). and the team is struggling with consistency. The Jazz have an eye toward the future, and maybe they eye Jabari Parker with their inevitably high draft pick?

With any team that has gone the full tank, you look for seeds to plant for the future. Favors seems to be developing and Burke could turn out to be a good point guard. Is this enough to give hope?

Nuggets of Wisdom

Nuggets have won 5 games in a row after losing 8 in a row after winning 7 in a row. Got that straight? I sure don't!

Actually, the best thing I can say is that Brian Shaw likely understood the strengths of his current roster and finally decided to embrace fast breaks. While I'm almost certain this violates at least some of his core principals as a coach, this change has resulted in "fun" basketball being played again in Denver. Now, does "fun" mean winning or does fun mean fun? I don't have that answer. At the very least the Nuggets are showing that they love playing break neck basketball and are blowing teams out of the arena.

So is this something that Shaw will embrace long term? I have my doubts. This feels like a stop-gap "while I have this roster" kind of thing. There is some validity to the square peg, round hole principal we discussed earlier in the year. When the Nuggets won their 7 in a row, they were playing fast break basketball. When they lost 8 in a row they were going at a much, much slower pace and were trying to grind out victories. Now that they are on another streak, they are "averaging" 116 points per game. Astonishing. Yet, as I said before, this doesn't feel like a permanent thing.

Who knows what the future holds. With the Nuggets recent issues with injuries (Wilson Chandler and Darrell Arthur with groin pulls) the arrival of Danilo Gallinari to the Nuggets active roster will be a sight for sore eyes, even though the team has won 5 in a row.