Game #15 Preview: Nuggets vs. Pelicans

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 30: Anthony Davis
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 30: Anthony Davis /

The Denver Nuggets have had almost an entire week to put their underachieving performance in Portland behind them.  Losses within the Northwest division always sting the most. Seeing Jusuf Nurkic walk off the court victorious adds just a little more salt to the wound. Luckily, tonight is a new game, and we welcome Boogie and AD to Mile High. Here are a few keys to watch for as the Nuggets look to rebound against the Pelicans.

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Rebounding Game

First off, the achilles heel for Denver this season has been their lack of controlling the defense glass. Sadly, 2 of the NBA’s top 7 rebounders are visiting us tonight according to ESPN Stats. Keeping track of Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins would surely help the Nuggets limit the Pelicans second-chance opportunities.  The Nuggets will have to look to Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee to grab those boards and keep Davis and Cousins at bay.

Get Gary Going

According to the Denver Post article via the Denver Nuggets Fan’s tweet, Gary Harris looks to return tonight from a sore shoulder.

Gary Harris is averaging just over 12 points per game while shooting 44% from beyond the arc according to ESPN Stats. The Nuggets will look to Harris to take on some more of the scoring load, something the Nuggets struggled with on Monday against the Blazers.

Consistent Hustle

Denver is known for their uptempo offense, as they use altitude to their advantage when other teams visit the Mile High City. With that being said, Denver sometimes is the victim of this strategy; however, Michael Malone may suggest it’s more of a hustle problem than an attitude problem. In Zach Lowe’s article, he discusses Malone’s outburst on Nikola Jokic for failing to hustle back on defense.

"“I don’t give a s— about the turnover, … Get your ass back on defense. If you don’t want to play, get out.”"

As a former player who played under a fiery, passionate coach, nothing stirs up the coach more than a lack of hustle. I commend Coach Malone for setting an example by not allowing the superstar get away with a lack of hustle. If Nikola and company do not take pride in getting back on defense, the Pelicans will run right through Denver to an easy W.

Next: Nuggets vs. Pelicans: Key matchup

Like I mentioned earlier, this game could not have taken any longer to come. The Nuggets desperately want to get the taste of that Portland loss out of their mouth. Look for the Nuggets to come out with energy and tenacity early in this contest.  With two all-stars on the opposing side, this game is guaranteed to be an exciting affair. Hopefully, the Nuggets will answer the bell and get back on the winning train!