The 42-29 Brooklyn Nets have already guaranteed a record over. 500 this season, a .500 record on this road trip, a spot in the playoffs, and a career month for Reggie Evans. The next challenge for them: a tough 49-24 Denver Nuggets team, one that recently won 15 games in a row and has an outstanding 32-3 record in Denver. The Nuggets will be without starting point guard and speed demon Ty Lawson, which will hurt their chances, but similarly the Nets’ Joe Johnson is doubtful after missing two straight games with a quad contusion.
Joining us to talk about the Denver Nuggets is the incomparable Matt Moore, senior NBA Blogger for CBS Sports and editor emeritus of Hardwood Paroxysm. Matt is notorious for both knowing everything about the NBA and absolutely nothing at the same time, and we argue often, because he argues often with everyone. One of the best NBA-related follows in the world.
Along with his Nuggets expertise, Moore recently conducted an interview with Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez, and he’s given us a sneak peek of what to expect in the questions. Really outstanding.
And, as always: The BK Game Streak is up. Get to playin’.
Devin: The Nuggets and Nets are probably as different stylistically as any two teams in the NBA. How do the Nuggets function on offense/defense, and how do they match up with Brooklyn?
Moore: FAST FAST FAST. The Nuggets push the pace relentlessly, and in the lofty confines of the Pepsi Center (the pre-game PA announcer actually has a video reminder of the exact altitude you’re at and how it can cause physical distress), that helps them considerably. The Nets have problems against teams that force them out of their pace, and Denver’s the best team at that. They force teams with careful, slow-it-down offenses to run with them, and play their game.
Oddly, they’re actually excellent in transition defense, too. Last I checked they were second in transition defense, which is difficult when you run like they do.
The Nuggets employ a dribble-drive offense in the halfcourt which only yields average results. However, the ability to spread out the Nets is going to hurt Brooklyn’s defensive principles. If the Nuggets’ corner shooters hit 3’s, they can run a team out of the building.
That said, without Ty Lawson, there’s a good chance the Nuggets will slow down because Andre Miller hates running and fun, so if Brooklyn can make this into a grind-it-out game, there’s no reason the Nets can’t steal this one.
Devin: True or False: the Nuggets have a real shot at making the NBA Finals.
Moore: False. They’re a good team, and I can see a scenario in which they win the West, but involves way too much help from other teams in upsets based off the serious matchup problems that exist for everyone. But in the end, George Karl is too reliant on Andre Miller who slows the pace down and gets them away from what they do well.
Devin: You talked a bit on Twitter yesterday about a recent analysis/interview you did with Brook Lopez. Can you give us a sneak peek of what’s to come?
Moore: Brook was fantastic for an interview. I spoke with him as part of my Behind The Screen series I did with Andre Iguodala and Larry Sanders, where I have players take me behind a play and their thought process. I talked about post moves with him, and then we talked for about ten minutes about comic books. (I’m a fan, so I could actually talk shop.)