Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nuggets/Mavs Preview: We're Getting Physical....Again

Could Wednesday's game against the Nuggets result in a win the Mavericks need to end their three-game losing streak?  Just at first glance, you could make the case for Dallas.  

The Nuggets are playing on the second night of a back to back, after losing to Oklahoma City in Denver on Tuesday.  It was actually Denver's first loss at home since February 7th.  They were 10-0 at the Pepsi Center since the Carmelo Anthony trade.  They had won six straight prior to the Thunder loss and are 15-5 since the trade. 

What's impressive is the way they've been playing. 

"Since trade they're best defensive team in the league, allowing 10 less points per game, which is staggering," Rick Carlisle claimed Tuesday at practice.  "They're doing it with great balance and are doing it with 10-11 man rotation."

In fact, prior to the Thunder game, Denver was allowing only 94.8 points per game in their previous 19 games, down from the 105.2 they were giving up before the trade.
Then Carlisle mentioned the "P" word which describes the Nuggets perfectly.  I'm channeling Olivia Newton-John. 

"They're physical and it's going to be a big test for us."

Oh Lord.  Another physical team (I still remember how the Mavs were pushed around in their 2009 playoff series against the Nuggets).  Another test.  How did Dallas do in its last test?   Need I remind you of last Thursday's game against the Lakers which has lit up the DFW airwaves and interwebs with "soft" talk? 


What's the focus for the trying-to-toughen-up Mavs tonight? 

"Transition defense is going to be big," Carlisle said.  "We have to compete for shots on offense because they stay into you." 

Denver has had a lot of success against the Mavericks lately, winning eight of the last 11 regular season meetings with Dallas and four of the last six at the AAC. 

I am personally stoked about this game, the first post-trade meeting between the two teams.  The Mavs said they worked on a number of things on Tuesday at practice: communication, defense and focusing on their flow game.  I'm anxious to see how they respond after playing poorly in those three straight losses and see how they react to Denver's aggressive, physical style of play which puts up a league best 107.2 points per game.
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