(Photo Via: Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports)
Nuggets are playing at the 4th slowest pace in the league and have the worst defensive rating during their four-game losing streak.
At this point it seems silly to mention that Denver started this season 9-1 because in their last four games they’ve shown to be a very different team. Fortunately, the Nuggets have an opportunity to finally get back on track against the 3-11 Atlanta Hawks as they come to the Pepsi Center.
Vince Carter is 33 points away from 25,000 in his career, so if Carter starts to go off you’ll know why. With that being said this Hawks team is about giving Trae Young opportunity and although he is coming off a rough game against Golden State, he has had a solid start to the season. It’s possible that if the Nuggets offense can’t get going that this could turn into a back-and-forth battle between Young and Murray.
As of writing this, Jamal Murray has been replaced by Monte Morris in the starting lineup for tonight’s game. Certainly something to keep an eye on to see if Morris can provide the spark that Malone is hoping for and if Murray is inspired to be a spark off the bench.
What you’d really like to see is the Nuggets recommit themselves to defense, especially defending the 3-point line. They’ve given up 12 or more 3’s in their last three home games and have been hurt by opposing offenses in either the first or third quarters.
Taurean Prince and Vince Carter are coming off their game with the Warriors shooting 7//12 combined on 3’s, so the Nuggets small forwards will have to perform. Whether that’s Juancho, Craig, or Beasley the Nuggets just need a steady presence that can be a threat of some sort on both sides of the ball.
Of course this is also a matchup of Paul Millsap vs. his former team, but it’s hardly the same team that Millsap left behind. Still, Millsap might take it upon himself to turn up the defensive intensity and have a game like he had in his 25-point performance against the Bucks.
Tonight’s game tips off at 7:00 p.m. (MST) at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The game will air on Altitude TV and NBA League Pass.
Atlanta Hawks Projected Starters
PG – Trae Young
SG – Kent Bazemore
SF – Taurean Prince
PF – Omari Spellman
C – Alex Len
Denver Nuggets Projected Starters
PG – Monte Morris (late addition)
SG – Gary Harris
SF – Juancho Hernangomez
PF – Paul Millsap
C – Nikola Jokic
With Morris into the starting lineup, this game has some additional intrigue and it will be interesting to see if the moves have an impact on how Denver plays. The Nuggets shouldn’t struggle with a 3-11 Eastern Conference team, but it just seems like this team is in a flustered state right now and anything can happen.
Hopefully Morris’ insertion into the lineup provides a steady presence so that gets Denver out to a quick start and ideally Murray will be fueled by the move and come in to dominate off the bench. If the Nuggets do rediscover their identity this one could be well in hand by the half. If not, we could be talking about yet another game coming down to the wire and as we’ve seen those haven’t gone the Nuggets way as of late.