Thanks to Aykis for pinch-hitting. -- TZ
Those Hot Tub Girls wish they were Nene right now.
Denver is coming off of two straight wins, a one point win against Golden State without Carmelo Anthony or Chauncey Billups, and a two point win against Cleveland in Chauncey Billups return. Carmelo Anthony will not be with the team today, but Billups will be. The question is, is Denver a better team without Carmelo, or without Chauncey? Carmelo is the 2nd leading scorer in the NBA, but Denver has seemed out of sync without Billups, and his arrival last year was what really propelled them to an eventual tough out in the Western Conference Finals.
According to 82games.com, the Nuggets offense is almost 7 points better with Anthony off the floor than without. Its only about 2.6 points better when Billups is on the floor. Without Anthony, the Nuggets lose their biggest offensive threat, and for the 3rd highest scoring team in the NBA, that isn't good news. Still, Billups is a force to be reckoned with, and without Anthony, he and J.R. Smith will be the Nuggets primary offensive threats. The Denver bench also will be better than last time since Ty Lawson will be coming off the bench to spell Chauncey, instead of Anthony Carter.
Denver is also not that great of a Rebounding team, so the Kings should have the advantage there, depending on how much we make Nene look like an All-Star. He seems to have some of his best games against the Kings, and for the Kings to win, they'll have to keep him out of the paint.
The first ever StR Night at ARCO was a huge success as the Tyreke-less Kings held off the Chauncey-less Nuggets 106-101.
THE KEY BATTLE
Without a doubt in my mind its Tyreke Evans v. Chauncey Billups. Neither of the two played last time, and both are keys to their team's success. I doubt Billups will spend much time guarding Evans (that task will most likely be left to Afflalo), but Evans will likely match up with Billups on the other end. Billups is a very good 3 point shooter (39.3% for the year), so Tyreke can't afford to let him roam tonight.
There will be less Peaches chants than the last time these two teams matched up.
Will the Brock Ness Monster devour the Bird Man? I think he'll have a bigger impact on the game at least.
Kings by 5.
Tip-Offs at 7 PM. Go Kings.