Entering tonight’s game against the miserable Memphis Grizzlies the Nuggets are on a four-game skid and desperate for a win. Of the fifteen games Memphis has managed to win, one of those games came against the Nuggets. Point being is while all things on paper should indicate a Nuggets victory. Don’t be so sure. Denver has all the excuses needed for this team to slip up and allow a team like Memphis to beat them. I can almost hear the mumbling and grumbling now…
Things are getting serious in the playoff hunt too. The Los Angeles Clippers are now only a half-game back from the Nuggets who have slipped into the eighth and last seed in the Western Conference. And God forbid the Nuggets should lose tonight because the Clip-show are playing the almost-as-bad Bobcats, (another poor team the Nuggets have lost to), and could very well take over that final playoff spot in the event that the Nuggets continue to slide.
Now here are a couple of things that should be eye-opening for everyone in the Nuggets Nation. Since AI has been wearing powder blue Denver’s average scoring per game has slipped nearly a dozen points in this four-game skid. Trouble in paradise? How about the fact that Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson have not only been in a battle for the NBA’s scoring title, but have also been scrapping it out for the turnover crown too! Currently Iverson holds the title belt of sloppiest player in the league with an average of 4.2 giveaways a night, but Anthony isn’t going to let him just run away with it. Carmelo is right on his coattails with the third worst turnover rate of 3.9 miscues a game his own self.
Alright, now that the grim facts have been exposed it is time for an opportunity to be highlighted for one of the Nuggets to seize. With the injury to J.R. Smith it is high-time for DerMarr Johnson to be opportunistic and prove that he can play the point-forward position. Denver NEEDS DerMarr to step-up to the opportunity presenting itself and knock down a couple threes, distribute the ball, and play some suffocating defense. He has all the tools. DJ is 6’9”, lanky, quick, and fully capable of handling the rock. He should be able to post up opposing team’s point guards, while still being quick enough to slash to the basket when overplayed on the perimeter. He also possesses the length to be bothersome on defense, (as Allen Iverson got to experience firsthand last season), and if he will just box out and then hit the boards he will be a breath of fresh air for the Nuggets. So, if DerMarr can just play economic basketball he has the chance to prove he is an invaluable piece for the Nuggets during this stretch of games and that is if he can only find his way into the mix to prove to George Karl that he can be productive. “If” being the biggest pairing of one consonant and a vowel in the entire English dictionary.
Tonight is a real test for the resolve of this team. Win and turn over a new page. Lose and expect the headlines to be ridiculing. Come on now, Nuggets, hunt down the Grizzlies!