Game 7: Hornets vs. Nuggets

2011-12 NBA Regular Season

Legngwiheii4eld1u0agakxhc_medium


5991_medium
2-4 vs
5-2
January 6th, 2012
New Orleans Seafood Arena Seasoned by Zatarain's
7:00 PM CST
TV: CST, NBALP
Probable starters:
Jarrett Jack
< Ty Lawson
Marco Belinelli
<
Arron Afflalo
Al-Farouq Aminu < Danilo Gallinari
Carl Landry
< Nene Hilario
Emeka Okafor > Timofey Mozgov

Your Pregame Moment of Zen

Logallinariphadolfofran_medium

Eric Gordon Out "2-3 Weeks"

Jim Eichenhofer:

The injury news continues to be a major negative for the Hornets early in 2011-12. After returning to action for just one game, Eric Gordon will now miss the next 2-3 weeks with a bruised right knee. Marco Belinelli will replace Gordon at starting shooting guard. "It’s part of the game," Monty Williams said of dealing with injuries. "We’d love to have (Gordon on the court), but right now he’s not right. … It’s unfortunate, but it’s (part of) the NBA."

Trevor Ariza is also out.

On the Nuggets

I love this team. It's deep, it's talented, and it does things so refreshingly differently from the majority of today's NBA.

Let's start with the depth then. Nene Hilario - recently re-signed to an extension - is a gametime decision for tonight, but their starting lineup normally goes something like this:

Ty Lawson - Arron Afflalo - Danilo Gallinari - Nene Hilario - Timofey Mozgov.

That's one of the NBA's brightest young lead guards (119 ORtg on 21.4% usage in the early season), one of the league's top perimeter defenders who also happens to be a career 40% three point shooter, a 6'10" forward that handles and shoots like a guard and just turned 23, and an All-Star level power forward in the starting lineup. But that's just the beginning. Their bench is comprised of:

Andre Miller - Rudy Fernandez - Al Harrington - Kosta Koufos - Chris Andersen.

That's a unit that, if it started, would have a decent enough shot at beating our starters tonight. Toss in "spare" pieces like Corey Brewer and rookie Kenneth Faried (who I love, but hasn't been given a big role yet), and Denver is the deepest team in the league. In this ridiculous 66 game, frenzied sprint of a season, coupled with Denver's mile high altitude, the Nuggets are going to destroy fatigued teams. And indeed, they've already begun to do so, sporting the Western Conference's best efficiency differential in the young season.

They're also a very intriguing team in another sense - Denver is the league's fastest team so far, by pace (99 possessions a night), which isn't all that surprising. But they're also the league's most efficient defense, allowing just 94 points per 100 possessions (New Orleans is allowing 103 for comparison). Sure, it's a figure that is perhaps a bit unsustainable. Team offense has been down tremendously in these first few games, and as both offenses pick it up league-wide and as Denver's own defense begins to regress, it's likely that Denver moves out of the top defensive spot.

Nonetheless, the Nuggets have a real shot at a top-10 defensive finish. Teams that run up and down the floor very rarely have elite defenses, so what's happening in Denver now is extremely unique.

Teams like Utah and New Orleans have begun their post-superstar eras with wholesale rebuilding efforts, opting to burn everything to the ground. As we saw the other night, the result is staggeringly poor basketball in the short term. The Nuggets have opted for a vastly different strategy, stockpiling current talent and assets and are poised to make a run during a huge transition season in the Western Conference. Will it pay off? We shall see.

Other Notes

- Your opposing team blog for the evening is Denver Stiffs. Some cool bros over there.

- Minnesota hosts Cleveland, and David West plays Ray Allen tonight.

- GO HORNETS

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join The Bird Writes

You must be a member of The Bird Writes to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Bird Writes. You should read them.

Join The Bird Writes

You must be a member of The Bird Writes to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Bird Writes. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker