Watch It! - Celtics at Nuggets
Here are five things to watch out for when the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets meet at 9 p.m. tonight at the Pepsi Center.
Into Thin Air
The Celtics are heading into the Mile High City Tuesday night to take on the Nuggets. While many believe that the notion of visitors struggling to play in Denver’s thin air is a myth, players and coaches swear that it is accurate.
Boston may be able to deal with the thin air better than other visiting teams simply because of its schedule. The team flew from Oklahoma City to Denver on Sunday night and has been there ever since. The Celtics held a practice on Monday that should certainly prep their bodies for tonight’s game at the Pepsi Center.
Bringing in Bayless
Tuesday saw the completion of a trade that lands point guard Jerryd Bayless on the Celtics roster. There is a strong possibility that Bayless will be available for tonight’s game.
The addition of Bayless could wind up being an important one for Boston. The Celtics did send out what may have been their best shooter in Courtney Lee, but they add a player who can be an electric scorer off of the bench. That’s an important addition considering that Boston has averaged just 90.3 points per game over its last four contests. Bayless should give the team a solid scoring punch off the bench.
Boston is 1-0 against Denver this season thanks in large part to its starting backcourt. Jordan Crawford and Avery Bradley torched the Nuggets during these teams’ first meeting of the season on Dec. 6.
Crawford finished that contest with game highs of 22 points and eight assists. He committed just two turnovers in the game. Bradley also notched 18 points in the contest while chipping in four boards, two assists and a steal. The duo combined to shoot an incredible 17-of-24 from the field.
Denver’s starting backcourt of Ty Lawson and Randy Foye seemingly match up well with Crawford and Bradley, but it didn’t shake out that way last month. The Celtics would love to see a similar result tonight.
C’s May Miss Hump
Kris Humphries suffered a mild left ankle sprain during Sunday night’s loss to the Thunder. He traveled with the team to Denver but did not participate in Monday’s practice. He is listed as day-to-day.
Humphries ironically broke out for the Celtics a month ago when these two teams met in Boston. He scored a season-high 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds during that contest. Since that date, Humphries has rattled off four more double-digit scoring games and three double-digit rebound games, all while coming off of the bench.
There is no doubt that Humphries has become one of the most important pieces to this team. He is oftentimes the first player off of the bench. His possible absence tonight would create a large void for Boston.
Denver’s Offensive Surge
Denver’s last three games have featured incredible offensive performances. The Nuggets have gotten better and better in each game while averaging 116.7 PPG. Their most recent contest featured a 137-point outburst, good for its highest point total in more than three years.
The Nuggets have been playing at a very high pace and with great offensive efficiency during this stretch. Compared to their season averages, they have increased their pace by an average of five possessions per game and increased their offensive rating from 103.2 to 113.9.
Balance has been the name of the game for Denver during its offensive outburst. Over the course of their last three games, they’ve had five, six and seven players score in double-figures, respectively. In their most recent game, a 137-115 win over the Lakers on Sunday, three Nuggets scored at least 20 points.