The Nuggets take to the road tonight to face their Northwest Division rivals after blowing out the New Orleans Hornets last night. Tipoff is set for 7:00 PM mountain time.
The Nuggets were able to extend their current winning streak to four games after a cakewalk against the Unibrow-less Hornets, 102-84. It was a complete game, led by the always efficient Andre Iguodala, Kenneth Faried and a Ty Lawson that decided to play that night. The performance was enough to clear the benches in the fourth quarter and give some burn to the reserves. In that time Timofey Mozgov(!) was able to foul out in 16 minutes of play (Really?) and Jordan Hamilton was able to make a case for some more minutes in the absence of the ill Wilson Chandler (Still out indefinitely with hip problems).
The Nuggets will hopefully still have some left in the tank as they embark on a grueling nine game stretch that includes eight away from the Pepsi Center. Waiting for them will be a Utah Jazz team that has proven very tough to beat at home (5-0, home). The Jazz will be ready to avenge a 104-84 stumble back in early November and impose their will with their size and patience in the halfcourt.
Starting for the Jazz will be the ever reliable Mo Williams, wunderkind Gordie Hayward, Marvin Williams and the powerful frontcourt of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. In the last game Derrick Favors tallied 5 blocks against the Nuggets and did his best Andrew Bynum impression against the Nuggets’ dribble-drive offense. The Jazz were somehow beaten up on the boards 53-45 in the last game and will have to contain Kenneth Faried to keep the rebounds in their favor. Every time Paul Millsap (Led NCAA in rebounding for three years) and Faried (Division I all time leader) get pitted against each other, it makes for an incredible battle, so expect it to be a physical under the baskets.
The Nuggets will bring a four game winning streak to Salt Lake City after racking up wins against New Orleans, Minnesota, Golden State and Memphis. Ty Lawson has seemed to regain his form and Andre Iguodala has started to involve himself more in the offense (29 pts against Golden State). The Nuggets are still pathetic on the free throw line, but seem to be getting there more lately, which should help with their confidence (Please, please, please…). The Nuggets have not excelled at getting their high powered offense out, or been extremely effective on D, but they’ve been tenacious on the boards (2nd in the league) and have come out of the locker rooms after the half to rule the 3rd quarter. The Nuggets will need a full game effort tonight if they want to leave Salt Lake with a win. If the Nuggets can rotate defensively, rebound and run on the fast break, they can make like Will Ferrel in Old School and keep this streak going.