DENVER (33-20) at BROOKLYN (30-22) 7:30 P.M. ET
“If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball.”
- GEORGIAN PROPHECY: The Nuggets enter tonight’s game having won 8 of their last 10 games. The two losses coming in their last two games, one in overtime on Sunday against a very proud Celtics team and the other in the final seconds against Toronto last night. Before the season coach George Karl looked at the schedule and prophesied that his team could have 40 wins by March 1st. The Nuggets won’t get to 40 but they could get to 39 if they sweep their remaining 6 games.
- TORTOISE AND THE HARE: Brooklyn is still dead last in the league in pace averaging exactly 88 possessions per game. (Does anybody else think its odd that this team, which plans to win with superior offense, does not try to play more offense?) Nuggets are second in the league in pace averaging 94.9 possessions per game. They are 6th in pts/possession but most of that efficiency is a product of their transition game. They gamble for steals and leak out on defense which leads to a lot of fast breaks and a lot of problems on the defensive glass.
- MISS TO MAKE: The golden Nuggets are 24th in the league in defensive rebounding percentage. Part of this is by design given that coach Karl encourages steal attempts and leak outs. The other part of this is that Javale McGee can’t figure out how to get in position to clean the defensive glass despite his ridiculous anatomy. Brooklyn has the 5th best offensive rebounding percentage and should be able to track down a lot of their own misses.
- THE ROOKIE: Tyshawn Taylor’s emergence against Indiana on Monday night was encouraging for a lot of reasons but one specific reason for optimism was Taylor’s shot selection. His youthful explosiveness/fearlessness gives him an ability to get into the paint where he likes to throw up some not horrible looking runners and floaters. He took the same shots for 4 years at Kansas and the fact of the matter is that a lot of them don’t go in (he was 2-5 in the paint on Monday) but that’s okay, especially against the Nuggets. Those little floaters are the best shots for grabbing offensive rebounds and Reggie Evans could have a career day on easy put backs. (Unless the Nets want to boost Hump’s trade value by flaunting his rebounding prowess.)
- ROUND MOUND OF GROUND BOUND REBOUND: Speaking of Evans…he grabbed 22 boards on Monday night. That was his third game this season with 20 or more rebounds. He’s leading the NBA in rebounds per 48 minutes at 19.5. Kenneth Faried, The Manimal, is 10th on that list at 10.9.
- TIME TO BOMB?: The Nuggets have allowed the most 3 point attempts in the league. This is a consequence of pace, risky defense, and bad defense. With Deron Williams on the bench and Tyshawn Taylor lacking the range look for Joe Johnson and Keith Bogans to be open for spot up opportunities. Maybe they’ll even be some chances for Air McMirza.
-Dan Kelly @DanKelly_NBA