DENVER- Well, even after dropping three of the last four games, the Nuggets still have a chance to seal the deal for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Denver looks to close the game and a half gap as they visit Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, and the New Orleans Pelicans tonight.
The last meeting between Denver and New Orleans was less than appealing, as Denver lost in a huge blowout in the Pepsi Center and tied up the eighth seed with the Trail Blazers, who are currently the lone holders of the eighth seed.
Off of the bench, Mason Plumlee led the Nuggets with 16 points, 6 boards, and just one assist. Two other Nuggets followed Plumlee with 13 points–Gary Harris from the starting five and Jamal Murray off of the bench. Harris had 13 points and just one assist, while Murray had 13 points, 2 boards, and 2 assists.
Denver shot an unbelievably low 37.9% from the field, 24% from beyond the arc on 6/25 shooting, and 85.7% from the free throw line. Denver grabbed 50 rebounds, passed off 21 dimes, had 3 steals, and 1 block. Denver also had 9 turnovers to New Orleans.
Anthony Davis ran the show on March 26th, racking up 31 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 assists. There were five other Pelicans that scored in double digits that night. The Pelicans also played without DeMarcus Cousins.
The Pelicans shot 49.5% from the field, 33.3% from downtown, and 83.3% from the charity stripe. The Pelicans out rebounded the Nuggets as they grabbed 62 rebounds, 10 offensive and 50 defensive. The Pelicans had 29 assists, 6 steals, and 4 blocks. Just like Denver, New Orleans also had 9 turnovers.
One of the most disappointing stats of the night was that Denver’s starting five had a combined 40 points while the Pelicans’ starting five combined for 66 points. Denver’s bench didn’t do much better as they came together to have 50 points.
“It was an embarrassing loss… our bench came into the game and was awful tonight,” Michael Malone was quoted saying after the game.
Since that loss, the Nuggets dropped a game against the Trail Blazers and then the Charlotte Hornets before finally picking up a win in Miami on Sunday evening. With Portland losing to Minnesota last night, Denver is just a game and a half back of the eighth seed and to close the gap even further, the Nuggets need to get a big win tonight.
FG%: 46.8 FG%: 44.8
RPG: 46.2 RPG: 44.1
APG: 25.2 APG: 22.7
Last 10: 5-5 Last 10: 6-4
Keys to the Game:
Take and make smart shots: In our last meeting with the Pelicans, Denver shot 36/95 from the field for 37.9% on the night. Don’t just settle for shots, take your time and find the right shot.
Control the boards: On March 26th, the Pelicans out rebounded the Nuggets 62-50. Grab as many boards as possible and don’t allow second chance points.
Mason Plumlee and Nikola Jokic: The Nuggets Twin Towers will be huge in controlling the Brow and Boogie. Both need to be aggressive and the Nuggets need to use the passing abilities of both big men to throw off the Pelicans defense.
Jameer Nelson (calf) questionable
Will Barton (foot) questionable
Darrell Arthur (knee) questionable