Well, it was fun while it lasted.
The Denver Nuggets looked to have things going in their favor. A four game win streak, their superstar, Carmelo Anthony back, road games against two of the worst teams in the NBA. But after losses to the Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings, Denver is looking to regain an identity tonight when they face the New Orleans Hornets at the Pepsi Center.
In the two recent losses, against teams who COMBINE for less wins than the 20-15 Nuggets, Denver looked sluggish and not completely together.
In the Clippers loss Denver shot 37.5 percent from the field and allowed LA to grab 57 rebounds. In the Sacramento loss, they played better, shooting over 50 percent, but they allowed guard Tyreke Evans to run all over them, scoring 27 and dishing out 12 assists.
If they allowed Evans to put on that kind of game, it might be worth watching just to see how Hornets guard Chris Paul can do against a now porous Nuggets perimeter defense.
On paper this one looks to be an interesting game. Denver is second in the league in scoring, averaging 106.1 points per game. New Orleans is third in the league in points allowed, giving up a stingy 92.4 a game. So what is going to give? Either Denver scores like they must in order to win, or the Hornets defense comes through and stops the Nuggets, forcing them into a defensive battle, which Denver can't win.
The Hornets are anchored by David West, Emeka Okafor and Paul. The three perennial stars lead the team in every statistical offensive category and shore up a hard nosed defense.
The Nuggets are looking for Melo, Chauncey Billups and Nene to find gaps in the D and take the ball to the rack. While New Orleans is tough, they aren't the most feared team on the interior, so Nene, Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen might be able to make some head room on the inside.
The game tips tonight at 7:00 p.m. MT and can be seen live at The Can or on Altitude.