Nuggets-Pacers Preview


The Nuggets will look to bounce back from a tough 108-104 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, when they face the also underachieving Indiana Pacers tonight. Tipoff is set for 5:00 PM mountain time.  The big positives coming out of the loss to the Hawks are the way Ty Lawson and Corey Brewer played in that game and are starting to play as of late.

Ty Lawson as we all know has been in a funk of sorts this season, especially on the offensive end. However it seems that someone woke up Lawson, as he is starting to regain his mojo so to say from last season. Over the past 8 games, Lawson is averaging 17.9 points per game, 7.1 assists per game, 2.o steals per game, while shooting 41% from beyond the arc. Lawson is being less hesitant, more aggressive, assertive and confident on the offensive end as of late, which is a great sign for the blue and yellow faithful. Ty is the engine of the Nuggets, when he’s not going usually no one else is and Denver tends to sputter especially on the offensive end of the floor. As long as Lawson continues to play like he should, looking to score, not being hesitant off pick & roll’s or picking up his dribble to quickly then Denver will be fine and hopefully show a bit of a revival in the next 15-20 games or so. Regardless of whether George Hill, D.J. Augustin or whoever Indiana plans on putting on Lawson, I expect him to perform well tonight and continue his resurgence this season.

Their will be plenty of key individual match-ups in this game but, I feel the two most important ones for the Nuggets to win are Kenneth Faried vs David West and Paul George vs Gallo/Iguodala/Brewer. David West has been the leader of this young Pacers team for the past two seasons, leading the team in points, rebounds and field goal attempts this season. Faried will have to try his best to take away that 15-18 foot jumper that West loves so much in this game, as well as matching his physicality on the glass if Denver is to be successful. Faried has only managed to grab 7.2 rebounds per game over the last 5 games, which won’t cut it tonight against the Pacers who are currently the best rebounding team in the NBA(Pacers are averaging 47.2 rebounds per game this season). The Nuggets will need Faried, McGee, Koufos and even Mozgov(who’s coming off of a 6 Pt, 13 Reb outing against Atlanta) all to contribute on the boards and match the physicality of West and All-Star center Roy Hibbert, as rebounding will most likely determine the outcome of this game(Indiana and Denver are the Top 2 rebounding teams in the NBA currently).

The other match-up to watch as I mentioned is the battle between Paul George and the Nugget’s wing’s. George is having a breakout year with Indiana, averaging career high’s in points(15.0), rebounds(6.7) and assists(3.4). George is seeing more minutes and thriving in a starting role with the Pacers, given the knee injury that will keep forward Danny Granger out for a good portion of time. George is a very good athlete and extremely versatile player who could cause a ton of problems for the shaky/inconsistent Nuggets defense. Gallo will need to attack the rim on offense, make George work on defense and try to get him in foul trouble, while Iguodala and Brewer will need to contain George. Corey Brewer has been phenomenal for Denver this season, scoring at least 12 points in four of the last five games and giving Denver a much needed spark on both ends of the floor off the bench. As for Iguodala he has struggled lately, averaging only 7.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.3 turnovers over the last three games. His defense also hasn’t been as good as usual, Iguodala struggled to stop DeMar DeRozan in the Nuggets last win over the Raptors. DeRozan shot 8-13 from the field, while finishing with 18 points and beating Iggy consistently, obviously this won’t be good for Denver if Paul George has a similar night against Iguodala tonight.

This game will simply come down to rebounding and who can control the tempo of the game. These are the two best rebounding team’s after all in the NBA currently and whoever can win that battle should win this game. The Pacers would also like to keep the Nuggets out of transition, they will try to slow down Ty Lawson and keep the game at a even-keeled pace. The Pacers after all are the 2nd ranked defensive team in basketball, only giving up around 91 points per game to their opponents this season. Expect Indiana to try to run most of their offense through post-up’s for David West and Roy Hibbert, while trying to keep Denver from getting out on transition the whole game. The Nuggets will need to hold their own on the glass, force turnover’s while scoring off of them in transition, rely on Lawson to control the tempo of the game and Iguodala to keep George in check for a majority of the game, if they are to win. Tonight should be a interesting game between two good, yet underwhelming teams and hopefully the Nuggets will be able to move to 1-1 on their current 5 game road trip with a win over the Pacers.

Tags: NBA Basketball Denver Nuggets Indiana Pacers George Karl Ty Lawson Kenneth Faried Andre Iguodala Corey Brewer Danilo Gallinari Timofey Mozgov Jordan Hamilton JaVale McGee David West Paul George Roy Hi