Who: Denver Nuggets vs Charlotte Bobcats
What: NBA Basketball – Nuggets Home Game
When: 9:00 PM ET
Where: Live at the Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
|Denver||22-21||105.0 (11)||103.8 (17)||99.2 (4)|
|Charlotte||19-27||98.1 (27)||101.5 (7)||94.9 (21)|
Denver: Ty Lawson (DTD), Darrell Arthur (Questionable), Danilo Gallinari (OUT)
Charlotte: Kemba Walker (OUT), Brendan Haywood (OUT)
|PG||Ty Lawson||Ramon Sessions|
|SG||Randy Foye||Gerald Henderson|
|SF||Wilson Chandler||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist|
|PF||Kenneth Faried||Josh McRoberts|
|C||J.J. Hickson||Al Jefferson|
|6th Man||Nate Robinson||Anthony Tolliver|
- I speculated on Monday morning that Kemba could return as early as Friday and it sounds like that could be a distinct possibly, but Saturday is more realistic. Rick Bonnell reported yesterday that Kemba is now without a walking boot and running without a limp – he should go through a full practice on Thursday.
- The Bobcats starting backcourt of Sessions and Hendo have only given Charlotte 41 points, combined, in the past two games (both losses). The team is starting to feel the full affect of Kemba not being in the lineup and with Sessions having to matchup against Ty Lawson tonight, that tremor could be elevated into a full-blown earthquake.
BOBCATS @ NUGGETS PREVIEW
- After a 3-game losing streak, the Nuggets have had huge back-to-back wins against Indiana + Sacramento. A win against one of the better teams in the league (Pacers) will get any team back on track.
- Denver is 2 1/2 games back of the 8th seed in the west and are 12-9 at home on the season – tonight is seemingly a big game for the Nuggets due to the fact that it’s very winnable and one in which they could keep the positive momentum going.
- Ty Lawson makes the wheels turn for this group, averaging 17.9 PPG, 8.9 APG + 1.5 steals/game (leads team in all three categories). Ramon Sessions will garner the load of guarding Lawson tonight, who loves to push the tempo, so Ramon will have his hands full and must come with 100% defensive effort tonight – always a suspect category for him.
- The Nuggets have been a fairly steady team statistically this season and don’t make a habit of beating themselves in one particular area – Denver loves to play in transition, which is 15.5% of their total offense + they exhaust the pick-and-roll – 24% of total offense (per MySynergySports.com).
- Obviously, Charlotte will want to keep the Nuggets out of the open-court as much as possible, but when they do initiate their pick-and-roll sets the Bobcats will have to do the best job they can at corralling Ty Lawson. The PnR ball-handler (mostly Lawson) accounts for .84 points/possession (6th in the NBA) on their offensive sets, so it’d be smart for the Bobcats to force the second option as much as possible (per MySynergySports.com).
- The Bobcats backcourt of Sessions and Hendo will obviously need to be much better than they have in the past 2 games for Charlotte to have a chance tonight. And, of course my favorite stat – the Tolliver + Pargo combo needs to give that 20-point scoring boost off the bench for the ‘Cats.
- Al Jefferson could conceivably have a huge night tonight. On 3 nights of rest + going up against J.J. Hickson and Timofey Mozgov could be just what propels Jefferson further into the conversation of an all-star reserve slot.
4-GAME WEST COAST TRIP
- Charlotte encounters a crossroads with their season as they enter a 4-game road swing tonight that will define a lot in terms of whether or not this will be a playoff team – @ Denver, @ Lakers, @ Phoenix & @ Golden State await the Bobcats in the next 7 days.
- 2 of the next 4 opponents currently are in the western conference playoff table (Phoenix & Golden State), so the opportunity for wins away from home is certainly attainable. Most likely, tonight and Saturday night in Staples.
- I think it’s safe to say that Charlotte MUST HAVE one of these games during this trip.