Different shade of blue: Denver Nuggets


  • Teams: Denver Nuggets (10-11) at Detroit Pistons (7-16)
  • Date: December 11, 2012
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

After losing in Philadelphia last night, the Detroit Pistons will look to rebound tonight when they take on a Denver Nuggets team that’s lost five out of their last seven games.

George Karl’s group will surely be looking to bounce back as well tonight when they take on the first team they defeated this season. Indeed, On November 6th, Denver returned home after a three-game road trip and earned their first win of the season against Lawrence Frank’s group.

The Nuggets’ two biggest strengths clearly manifested themselves in that first encounter and will undoubtedly be the key to deciding the outcome of tonight’s contest.

The Nuggets’ frontline is one of the most dangerous in the NBA because of the damage they create on the interior against opponents.

Danilo Gallinari is terrific at posting up smaller players on switches and bullying them on the block, while Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee are great at diving to the rim for catches and finishes.

In this respect, Denver’s big people are aided by the likes of Ty Lawson, Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala that can not only put the ball on the floor and get to the hoop, but also find teammates on the move as they cut to the basket.

Conventional wisdom would suggest to just pack the paint against the Nuggets, and most teams believe in that strategy against them; but Karl’s genius in creating offensive concepts shines through with this team.

The Nugs will run multiple pick-and-rolls in the same possession with different players to create mismatches and force their opponents into defensive rotations that eventually lead to high percentage shots. In addition, Denver does a good job of spacing the court to create passing angles as well as driving lanes for their perimeter players.

In a nutshell, that’s what makes the Denver Nuggets one of the more difficult teams to defend in the league and this was widely evident earlier in the season when the Pistons traveled to the Pepsi Arena and lost to them.

The Nuggets’ interior scoring was in full effect as they produced a staggering 56 points in the paint. It’s worth noting, that the points scored inside weren’t all necessarily a product of drives and post ups; Denver is also a great offensive rebounding team and Karl’s unit snatched 21 offensive rebounds in the initial meeting versus Detroit.

Those numbers would make any opposing head coach cringe, but the worst part about it all is that an argument could be made that Frank’s defensive strategy yielded the intended result as they pushed Denver to fire away from deep where they converted 10-of-30 shots from 3-point range.

But once again, keeping the Nuggets out of the paint is easier said than done and tonight’s outcome won’t be about completely shutting down the interior, but rather attempting to limit the damage on this front and also playing it tough on the boards to avoid getting beat in the second chance points department.

One wonders if the Nuggets start out the game with a big edge in the rebounding department if Frank will adjust and play a bigger lineup to help out in this facet of the game, but obviously adjustments lead to different challenges and making such a move could potentially shrink the floor offensively for Detroit and turn them into a completely inept offensive team.

Talent matters, but so does coaching.

Read about the Nuggets

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