When the Denver Nuggets meet the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday evening, both teams will be looking to end unexpected losing streaks. After dropping consecutive road games to the Atlanta Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies, the Pacers are facing their first set of consecutive losses in the 2011-12 NBA season. Meanwhile, the banged up Nuggets have dropped five straight games and are now 1-7 in their last eight games.
For George Karl and the Nuggets, injuries have been the major problem. As pointed out by SB nation's Denver Nuggets blog, Denver Stiffs, finding consistently competitive rotations has been the biggest problem:
The Nuggets rotations are out of whack and some could argue the rotations are just totally wacky. Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov are out. Big deal? Yes, it's a very big deal ... about 14-feet worth.
So far we've seen two guys try to replace Gallo in the starting lineup. Julyan Stone had the first crack at replacing the Italian Stallion, but the kid from Virginia was only granted seven minutes of playing time.
Next up against the Warriors it was Rudy Fernandez's turn to play Gallo for a night...Fernandez has been one of the lone Nugget who looks like he gives a damn no matter what the score is and Karl rewarded that play with the start.
...Karl has used Kosta Koufos, Chris Andersen, and Kenneth Faried to try to replace Moz and things just haven't been the same...Without the big man in there to help control the boards and protect the paint, the Nuggets defense has certainly struggled (can Moz defend the three-pointers too!?!).
Meanwhile, the Pacers have seen some less-than-stellar performances from Roy Hibbert, who was recently named a 2012 NBA All-Star as a member of the Eastern Conference reserves. Hibbert and the Pacers have been prone to second-half swoons over the past few years, but this time around feels different to Tom Lewis of SB Nation's Pacers blog, Indy Cornrows:
In the past four games, vestiges of one-month Roy uneasily lurk: 10.5 PPG, 8.8 RPG, and 40.5 FG% with three losses in four games. It hasn't been pretty. It hasn't been big-extension ish. It hasn't been all-star like.
Despite the rhetoric, I'm not worried, Big Roy. I don't think Pacer fans, collectively, are worried either. You're a new player with a refined game. You're a legitimate all-star center. You're quite possibly the Blue and Gold's most favored son since that gawky-looking #31 ventured around the cornrows of Indiana. You're NOT one-month Roy, you're beyond that.
Again, we need you. Four games, shmore games. All stars don't let stench-worthy play linger. All stars blast inconsistency into Pacer-induced oblivion. All stars get/eventually get big paychecks.
Here is some information to help you find the game on Saturday:
Game day/time: 5:00 PM MT, Saturday, February 11, 2012
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
TV: NBA TV
For more on the Denver Nuggets, including in-depth analysis and commentary, be sure to visit the SB Nation Nuggets blog, Denver Stiffs. Pacers news and analysis is available at Indy Cornrows. Head over to the SB Nation NBA news hub for more breaking news and notes.