The Denver Nuggets (21-16) are set to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers (9-28) tonight for the second of four straight home games.
The Nuggets are going for their fourth straight win while the Cavs are trying to win just their 10th game of the season. With Anderson Verejao sidelined with an injury, George Karl’s team plans to crash the boards and dominate in the paint, two things they’ve been doing very well as of late. Forward Kenneth Faried is averaging 11.7 rebounds in the last three games, splitting them almost equally on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. He grabbed 19 against the Magic on Wednesday. The Nuggets have also seen strong play out of Danilo Gallinari, who is averaging just over 20 points per game in his last three. That’s 4 points higher than his season average. The Nuggets guard play has been solid as well with Ty Lawson and Andre Miller both putting up extraordinary numbers as of late. The two have combined for 70 points, 32 assists, and only 3 turnovers in the past two games.
The Cavs are hoping to get some solid production from their young players with the loss of Verajao. Tyler Zeller, the rookie out of North Carolina will get the start in Verejao’s spot. He put up 11 points and 12 rebounds in the team’s last game. Tristan Thompson will also be an option in the post to take the pressure off of the injured Verejao. Other rookie Kevin Jones out of West Virginia will also likely see some minutes off the bench to help in the rebounding department. At West Virginia, Jones’ specialty was offensive boards. Defending Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, who is coming off a 33-point game, looks to keep being the one constant that the Cavs have this season.
Match-up to Watch: The Bigs
Look for Denver to try to take it Cleveland’s young frontcourt. Faried has been playing outstanding as of late, living up to his nickname, “the manimal.” I look for Denver to feed him the ball in the post and let him work. Also keep an eye on the young bucks from Cleveland. While young, they are talented and are just looking to get their footing. If they get comfortable and get into a groove, they could ignite a spark.
Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. MST (9:00 ET).