In the upcoming game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Denver should be looking at the last two games Portland played against the Rockets and the Thunder, specifically offensive rebounds and 3-pointers.
If you’ll remember, last year the Nuggets led the league in offensive rebounds, and it’s a skill the team would benefit from again this year. Right now the Nuggets are averaging 12.5 offensive rebounds per game. The Rockets are only averaging 11, but they were able to nab 17 against the Blazers this week, and the Thunder got 15. Clearly there’s a weakness there that the Nuggets can exploit, and they should be looking to do so. Get Manimal out there — last season he averaged 5.7 ORs per game.
Both the Rockets and the Thunder also dominated the Blazers from the 3-point line, shooting 48.5% and 66.7% from distance, respectively. Houston’s 3-point average is 34.6% and OKC’s is 34.3%, but Denver’s is even higher at 36.0%. Clearly Portland is having trouble defending from the 3-point line, and it makes sense for the Nuggets to be shooting more from there.
In the meantime, Brian Shaw has commented that he’s going to spend the next two practices before Portland working on defense. In the past four games, Denver has given up an average of 118 points per game and 37% from the 3-point line. In this week’s game against the Phoenix Suns, Denver allowed 17 fast-break points and 21 second-chance points.
It’s wise of Brian Shaw to focus on defense under these circumstances, but he shouldn’t forget about potentially exploiting the Blazers’ weaknesses from the 3-point line and around the hoop. This is a game that Denver can win. The Nuggets have the numbers to beat the Blazers on Thursday if they focus their efforts on ORs and 3-pointers.