After an impressive win over the Chicago Bulls on Monday, the Denver Nuggets have gone north of the border and will face some familiar faces in the Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors have made it a habit of collecting former Nuggets as Sonny Weems, Gary Forbes, Anthony Carter and Linas Kleiza have all played with Toronto. Weems is currently playing overseas and Carter was recently waived, but Forbes and Kleiza are each in the rotation for the Raptors. Forbes scored a career-high 21 points on Monday against the Orlando Magic, while Kleiza is averaging 9.6 points this season.
Toronto also tried to sign Wilson Chandler when he returned from China, but couldn’t free up enough money to lure the small forward to Canada.
The Nuggets have beaten the Raptors nine straight games and if the streak is to continue, Kenneth Faried needs to contain Raptors’ big man Andrea Bargnani.
Bargnani missed the first game between the two teams and is averaging 18.8 points – while shooting only .42 percent from the field. He isn’t a great post player and does most of his damage on perimeter – which is where Faried usually struggles on defense. Antawn Jamison (33 points), Josh Smith (33) and Dirk Nowitzki (33) have all taken advantage of the rookie’s inexperience on the perimeter and no doubt Toronto will attempt to do the same.
One matchup that should be in Denver’s favor is at point guard. Ty Lawson is coming off of a game in which he scored 27 points against the Chicago Bulls and will be facing a depleted Toronto backfield. Backup Jerryd Bayless suffered a season-ending injury on Monday, leaving Jose Manuel Calderon as the only true point guard on the roster.
Like the Nuggets, the Raptors are better against non-conference opponents. They are 7-9 against Western Conference foes, winning three of their last four against the West. Two of their wins were against the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies and earlier this month they nearly defeated the Los Angeles Lakers.
Tags: Andrea Bargnani Antawn Jamison Anthony Carter Chicago Bulls Denver Nuggets Dirk Nowitzki Gary Forbes Jerryd Bayless Jose Manuel Calderon Josh Smith Kenneth Faried Linas Kleiza Orlando Magic Sonny Weems Toronto Raptors Ty Lawson Wilson Chandler