Game 27 Preview: Nuggets at Blazers

We just played the Nuggets so I won't do a full preview again.  I'll just hit the high spots:

--The toughest thing about playing the Nuggets is the matchup problems.  Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony are pretty much built to exploit our weak points.  Chances of containing both of them are almost nil and either one of them uncontained can do a lot of damage.  Anthony has a nasty habit of drifting through games that he should dominate, which is our best hope.  Don't sleep on Marcus Camby either.  His jumper is usually a thorn in our side, plus he's quick and a very good rebounder.

--The Nuggets are a physical team and seem to really crank it up when they see us, possibly because they perceive us as week.  We need to correct that impression quickly.

--Their defense is all about forcing turnovers.  They also commit a ton of them themselves.  A chaotic game is to their advantage.

The keys to the game are simple and direct:

--Do not allow them fast break points.

--We need to stay close in points in the paint.

--We also need to stay close in free throw attempts.  Winning that battle would be even better.

--Other than Camby they aren't a great offensive rebounding team.  Don't make them into one.

--Take care of the ball, play your smart offense, rotate well in the zone, and keep your heads.  Their big advantage comes when you're discombobulated.

We did beat them in Denver, of course, and theoretically a home victory should be easier, especially on the free throw front.  On the flip side everybody but Iverson played lethargically when we faced them and we still needed one of the more incredible shooting displays in recent memory to pull it off.  We can't get away with throwing up so many jumpers against them and expect those results to hold.  It would be inaccurate to say we should expect a win but given the current circumstances I don't think anyone would be surprised by a win either.  This is the toughest game of the current lengthy homestand.  If we win it...wow, the streak possibilities boggle the mind.  If we lose it we've just mirrored our 9 of 10 losing streak with a 9 of 10 winning streak, which is more than anyone could have reasonably expected.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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