But there a couple of things not related to scoring that you should know about tonight’s game, and the cast of characters playing in it.
For starters, did you know that Carmelo is the Nuggets second leading rebounder right now? That’s right! Anthony is averaging 6.5 rebounds a night and is coming into this game on a four-game double-double streak that was started by ‘Melo grabbing a career-high 16 rebounds against the Rockets last week.
Another tidbit you may or may not be aware of concerns Marcus Camby. The Minister of Defense is currently second in the league in rebounding at 14.1 boards a night and is leading the league in blocked shots at a clip of 3.63 swats. Marcus is also coming off of his third career triple-double against the Bucks and as Allen Iverson said, "As he goes, we go."
And what about Big Brazil?
Nene is back, and he didn’t waste any time showing the Nuggets Nation just how important of a piece he is to this franchise. Whether he or Kenyon Martin starts is irrelevant really, but there are a few things you have to like about Nene’s first game back. His conditioning doesn’t appear to be a problem like in years past, his explosiveness is there evident by his first touch of the game being aggressively flushed through the iron, and he isn’t shy about crashing the boards as his seven rebounds would indicate. Plus, Nene brings another reliable low post scorer to this team whereas before one could argue that Carmelo Anthony was the only player reliably capable of scoring for the Nuggets with his back to the basket.
But for now, let’s get back to breaking this game down.
The Golden State Warriors (surrendering a league-high 106.2 points per game) play the worst defense of any team in the league. And while the Nuggets aren’t exactly the ‘89 Detroit Bad Boys themselves, they have the tools to keep a team in check if they choose to make it a point of emphasis.
For Denver to be successful tonight in Oakland they need to first disrupt the Warriors’ fast-break and there is no better way to do that than shooting a high percentage from the field. Whether or not it is by Denver fast breaking themselves doesn’t matter, but the Nuggets need to take high percentage shots, and make them, to stymie the G-State running attack. No team in the league can beat you with the fast break if they have to take the ball out of the net more times than not, so the Nuggets need to show they have some proficiency in their half court game.
After that, George Karl shouldn’t be afraid to play small ball with Don Nelson if my first prescription can’t be filled. Brush the dust off a guy like Yakhouba Diawara to harass Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, or the self-proclaimed “fastest man in the NBA” Monta Ellis. Bring Bobby Jones in to utilize his energy and length on D for the Warriors Kelenna Azubuike and Matt Barnes. And above all, don’t be afraid to give a few hard fouls when Warriors attack the bucket. I’m not saying do anything dirty, but there should be no freebies going to the rim now that Denver has a full frontcourt. Make the Warriors earn everything they get offensively. Trust me, Golden State won’t like that. From what I’ve seen, the Warriors buckle when they take a few on the jaw and they are not a team that can beat many folks in this league when the number of lay-ups they are accustom to scoring gets limited.
Get ready for a rubbernecking evening, Nuggets Nation! This one should be entertaining.