Game Note: Nick Young looks likely to come off the bench tonight. No Andray Blatche or Rashard Lewis.
One of my bigger non-Wizards related basketball disappointments this season was attending the Nuggets-Wizards game prior to the Carmelo Anthony trade. At that point, the Nuggets had always bored me to death as their basic offensive philosophy seemed to consist of either dumping the ball out to Anthony so that he could work Iso and if that failed kick it out to Billups to shoot a three. Yes, it was an effective policy that spelled doom for the Wizards on that evening, but it bored me despite the brief moments of excitement generated by Ty Lawson and Nene. Everyone compares Melo to Bernard King, but I remember Bernard King during his tenure on the Bullets as being exciting.
But hey, when the grass is cut the snakes will show, so I guess I'm serpentine in nature.
Since the trade, however, most NBA pundits are acting stunned that the Nuggets have been rolling off wins at a consistent clip. Part of is the fact that they no longer have to play 4 on 5 on the defensive end (the Knicks now have to play 3 on 5) and another large part is that they have been able to set players like Lawson free. The Nuggets have always had a great bench consisting of the Birdman, J.R. Smith and the overpaid Al Harrington, but now they have added Raymond Felton and Danilo Galinari to the mix. What you have is a nice deep team that shares the ball and has a very large chip on its shoulder about being overlooked since Melo's departure. The attitude of the team is still there with both Kenyon and Nene and its certainly not a matchup I would be salivating for if I were one of the top teams in the West like the Lakers or Mavericks.
Following the Double OT loss to the Clippers, it will be interesting to see the type of fight the Wizards demonstrate in their matchup against Denver. There isn't any think particularly shifty about the way the Nuggets run their offense, they tend to run their sets in straight lines toward the basket. This means that denying penetration to Lawson and Felton is going to be key, while keeping an eye out for players like Rider and Harrington raining threes from the perimeter. Another key to success will be staying home on Nene who absolutely ate the Wizards up on the interior in their last meeting.
Your guess is as good as mine to how this one turns out.
Programming Note: I will be catching this one on delay so make sure to behave yourselves in the comments. Mike and BNE will be your hosts for the evening.