(Photo via Joshua Gunter/cleveland.com)
With a win the Nuggets would have their best start since their first NBA season in 1976-77.
The Denver Nuggets take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland Friday night looking to carry over their hot start into November. The Nuggets come in with a record of 6-1 while the Cavaliers are coming off their first win of the season against Atlanta on Tuesday night.
The Cavaliers have been decimated by the loss of LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers, an injury to Kevin Love, as well as distractions regarding the team’s current state relating to the firing of Ty Lue as head coach, Larry Drew’s reluctance to accept the interim role, and J.R. Smith’s recent request for a trade. When the list of distractions is that long for a team just seven games into the season playoff contenders like the Nuggets need to make quick work of them no matter the situation.
Denver’s situation is that they are currently on their longest road trip of the season so far (two games) and that they are closing out the back end of a back-to-back for their third game in four nights. Additionally, this will be the second time the Nuggets have faced a struggling team coming off their first win. The first just happened to be LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, so the circumstances are more than a little different.
In this one the Nuggets will have to be prepared for a revolving door of six guards in the rotation, not including J.R. Smith, who will all get some form of minutes. The problem for the Nuggets in the past hasn’t been defending Cleveland’s guards though. Other than LeBron James, Larry Nance Jr. had a nice game in the last March’s matchup. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Nance get the start to match up better with the Nuggets on both ends and see if they can test the Nuggets down low again and hope they can stay hot shooting the 3 (52% on Tuesday night).
Tonight’s game tips off at 5:00 p.m. (MST) at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The game will air on Altitude TV and NBA League Pass.
Cleveland Cavaliers Projected Starters
PG – George Hill
SG – Rodney Hood
SF – Cedi Osman
PF – Sam Dekker/Larry Nance Jr.
C – Tristan Thompson
Denver Nuggets Projected Starters
PG – Jamal Murray
SG – Gary Harris
SF – Torrey Craig
PF – Paul Millsap
C – Nikola Jokic
As easy as the Bulls game was supposed to be for the Nuggets it clearly didn’t turn out that way because the Nuggets weren’t mentally focused for the entire game. Although the Bulls and Cavaliers are in vastly different stages of rebuilding their teams, the Nuggets have to make sure that they avoid another let down in their energy tonight.
In fact, it should be the Nuggets focus to try to put this one away early like they did with Phoenix and Sacramento so that they can get their starters some rest and start to prepare for their home game against the Jazz on Saturday.