(FortCollins-CO) So I had to let the loss to Seattle sit for a minute or two before I got back on the keyboard. Why you might ask? Because, I predicted to Nuggets to lose and brought my six game prediction record to 4-2 (check my archives from about ten days ago), but there is a main reason that I am seriously concerned about the Nuggets playoff chances. In my assessment, they are looking bleak. Sorry to have to say that, but come on, sometimes as a doctor you have to give it to people straight. With the 109-98 loss to Seattle the Nuggets have now lost eight of their last twelve games. I’m not some cockeyed optimist that just puts on a Nuggets jersey and goes wild. I see grave danger lying ahead for the Nuggets. A possible first round bounce is very likely.
The main storyline for the regular season finale was all about Seattle. Ray Allen set the new NBA record for three pointers made in a season by edging out Dennis Scott, and are now owners of the longest winning home record streak in the league at 17 years straight. If there was any positive aspect of the game for the Nuggets. It was that they didn’t score less than 20 points in a quarter in the outing (yippee, while I twirl my finger around in a circle).
Management finally made a wise decision and sat Carmelo, Marcus, and Kenyon. With absolutely nothing to play for, it was about time that two of our three big guns got a rest. Andre Miller did start the game to preserve the games played streak, but only played 18 minutes.
I know what you thinking, “Enough already with the Seattle game, give us something in foresight for the Clippers,” so here it goes.
The Nuggets are going to have serious problems containing Elton Brand. In a season that the Clipper power forward is a legitimate MVP candidate, I don’t see anyone at the four spot on the Nuggets that can put up a fight. Let’s run down the list of Nugget options and why they will struggle. First, let’s look at Francisco Elson’s chances. Its real simple, ‘Cisco is too weak in the blocks, and doesn’t rebound like a seven footer. Offensively the Nuggets will be lucky to get ten points out of Elson on the other end. Next up is Kenyon Martin. Martin couldn’t stop Brand in his prime, what on earth could make me think that he is up to the challenge now? Not much, but maybe he can score a few more buckets than Francisco. Eddie Najera is about 70% healthy. Even if he can slow Brand down on defense, Najera is little to no offensive threat. Reggie Evans is the Nuggets best chance on the defensive end because of his commitment to the glass, but once again, I don’t see much offensive threat except for a few bunnies off the offensive boards. Marcus Camby is going to be guarding Petro and Kaman. Hopefully he can be assistance on the weak side help with some soaring shot blocking, but unless he swats about ten shots, expect Brand to average 22-26 points in this series.
That is the only glimpse that I can give my readers right now. I know it is the most obvious match-up that the Nuggets have to key on, but look at the box scores from the last three meetings between these two teams. As Brand goes, so do the Clippers. Stop Brand and the Nuggets have a chance. Easier said than done, but it is the only way.