On the Nuggets:
Questionamelo. Anthony is sick with the flu, but wants to play. Per Chris Dempsey at the Denver Post:
“I still feel weak,” Anthony said afterward. “I have no energy. I tried to come out here today just to try to break a sweat, get loose a little bit. But I’m still trying to find my energy.”
Still, Anthony said he’ll try to play in the upcoming game against the Bucks.
Study in contrasts. The Nuggets scored 31-37-37-33 (138) in the four quarters of their last game.
The Bucks have scored 30 points in a quarter once in the past six games (31 in second quarter versus Charlotte).
On Sunday, former scoring champion Carmelo Anthony left the game after two minutes with the flu, the Nuggets went on to allow 133 points... and they still won. Denver is coming off a 138-133 win over the Suns in which Chauncey Billups went retro-Billups with 25 points 4-6 on triples, J.R. Smith made 6-11 threes of his own on his way to 30 points off the bench, and the Nuggets played like it was 1982.
And then there are the Bucks. The Bucks scored 88 points in Utah. They are last in points per game and last in scoring efficiency. Milwaukee has scored more than 91 points 7 out of 17 tries, which lends some perspective on why, even with a top five defense, the team has 6 wins as we open December.
The Nuggets are no great shakes on defense, but they are a whole lot better defensively than the Bucks are offensively.
Luc Mbah a Moute does not fit in offensively at small forward, but he does the trick defensively at the position. Superoffensive players usually get the better of superdefensive players, but Mbah a Moute did very well to contain Carmelo Anthony in their head-to-head matchups last season. Anthony averaged 30.5 points but also shot and shot and shot (19-54) just 35.2 % from the field and averaged 5.5 turnovers in the two-game season series.
Rocky road. Denver stands 7-1 at the Pepsi Center, tied for best home record in the NBA with Boston and New Orleans (two places Milwaukee has already lost this season).
Since the start of the 2007-08 season, the Nuggets are 107-24 (.817) at home.
At the rim. The Nuggest attempt the most shots at the rim per game, 27.6. It is never a good time to be without Andrew Bogut (and Drew Gooden to a far lesser extent), but this is about the worst time of all.
The Jazz ruined the Bucks on the boards, and Utah is a bad rebounding team. Denver is not particularly good at rebounding either (24th in rebound rate per HoopData) so far this season, and Nene is getting worse and worse on the boards over the past few years, but the Nuggets operate in the paint offensively, and they succeed in the paint (fourth in offensive efficiency).
Three Bucks. Milwaukee made 10-23 threes in Utah, and that was nice. Hopefully they are on the way to vastly improving on a 26th ranked 32.6 3PT%.
The Bucks rank 12th with 18.1 three point attempts per game, but they are last in accuracy among those in the top 12 in attempts. The (additional) bad news is that Denver ranks third in the NBA in three-point defense, allowing opponents to make just 31.0 % on threes so far this season. Then again, the Jazz are second best, allowing 30.3 %, and that is about the only thing that worked well in Utah for Milwaukee.