Pregame Open Thread: New Jersey Nets @ Denver Nuggets

The New Jersey Nets try to rebound from their Friday night loss against the Sacramento Kings on the second half of the back-to-back against the Denver Nuggets. Of course the underlying storyline for this game is the continuously up-in-the-air status of Carmelo Anthony. Evidently, the Nets are still suitors for the services of the Nuggets’ small forward, and you can be sure he’ll get his fair share of questions from the media today regarding his satisfaction with the Nuggets and his trade status in the future.

Meanwhile, the Nets will look to capitalize on a 6-6 Nuggets team that just dropped a game to the Portland Trail Blazers, who were without the services of their All-Star forward Brandon Roy. Compounded with the fact that the Nuggets only mustered 83 points on the contest, and this isn’t exactly the worst time to take on Denver for the Nets.

A few opening  thoughts on the game:

  • Kris Humphries’ Anderson Varejao Impression: Over the past few weeks, Kris Humphries has been a huge shot in the arm for the Nets, picking up the slack of the team’s other power forwards. He’s scoring abundantly and efficiently, rebounding incredibly, and even playing very solid defense. But even more astounding than just the stats themselves is the way he has been accumulating them. Humphries has put on his Anderson Varejao cap of late, making all the hustle plays that make a team win, particularly on both the offensive and defensive boards. The value of such a player cannot be overstated, so hopefully Humphries can take advantage tonight with Kenyon Martin still out with an injury.
  • Perimeter Shooting: The Nuggets pride themselves on good interior defense, even with both Martin and Chris Andersen out of the lineup. If the Nets can get hot from the perimeter and hit a few three-pointers, it will help them on the offensive end. Points in the paint will probably be hard to come by, especially considering Lopez’s continued struggles to get good shots near the rim.
  • Containing Carmelo: The Nets have been great on defense so far this season, but containing Carmelo Anthony will be a tough challenge in tonight’s game. Travis Outlaw, who will start at the 3, will get the first shot at stopping him, but I don’t foresee that matchup going very well for the Nets forward. Figure that Quinton Ross will get some minutes on him off the bench, as will Terrence Williams and Damion James if they’re reactivated for tonight’s game.