Daniel Wettstein previews NBA Playoffs Game 4 between the Nuggets and Jazz as the Nuggets aim to tie the series 2-2.
The Denver Nuggets enter game 4 in a 2-1 hole to their long-time boogeyman Utah Jazz. I was obviously fool hardy in my giddy optimism before the first 3 games. Thank you Utah, you have officially returned all of the Mile High City crashing to earth.
That youth I was hoping was scared into the shadows in game 2 were on full display in the limelight on Friday night. The adjustments that Malone made his name on were non-existent. The team checked out halfway through the 2nd quarter. Outside of an 11-3 run lead by Jamal Murray to close out the first half there was more energy in a bingo hall than Denver’s bench. Donovan Mitchell had another efficient afternoon, effectively dumping the rock to teammates with better looks whenever he wasn’t draining buckets and emphatic windmill dunks like this one:
I will not sit here like most and simply blame the Nuggets for losing this one. I will give full credit in this one to Utah winning it. They thoroughly dominated from the literal jump. They struck first with a Rudy Gobert dunk, the Nuggets lead 5-4 with 9:38 left in the 1st. Utah never trailed again. When listening to the telecast the announcing crew mentioned right before the aforementioned 11-3 run “Every team goes on a run. It’s just how it goes in the NBA.” And the entire broadcast was them trying to justify the sudden ineptitude of this Nuggets roster, including its stars, until they threw up their hands as I did in the 3rd quarter:
Regardless of the clouds in the sky, I will continue to believe in the sunshine to come. This is why I am elated to see the Nuggets as underdogs for the first time this series and have been given 3 points by FanDuel:
Yes, I stated last time that it could not get worse than game 2. Well, again I will admit I was wrong. The most “efficient” Nugget not named Bol Bol was Michael Porter Jr. Speaking of Bol he was the only Nugget with a positive +/- at +2 and lead the team for a second straight game in that metric with a total time on court of 12:53. In that minute amount of court time he has contributed 13 Pts., 3 Reb., 1 Stl., and 1 block. That’s a pace of 36 pts., 8 reb., 3 stls., and 3 blocks if he was to get 35:00 mins.
Of course, most will point that this was in garbage time against mostly the Utah bench. I will point to him breaking Jarell Brantly’s ankles in about 5 places with a move that would put the best on skates:
I know I’m just some small-time writer but hear me out. Take Milsap’s aging game and 8 or less points a night to the bench. Replace him with Bol Bol, because this is 2020 and we don’t need antiquated positions. That gives you a starting 5 of:
C Nikola Jokic 7’0”/”250”
F Michael Porter Jr. 6’10”/210
F Bol Bol 7’2”/235
G Jamal Murray 6’4”/207
G Torrey Craig 6’7”/215
As I stated in my last article this gives you the ability for Joker to continue to rise up with Rudy Gobert to combat his screen happy ways without sacrificing size and defensive prowess in the paint. This would be the best way to combat the spacing and ball movement that the Jazz is using to dismantle the Nuggets D. The hidden advantage to this lineup is another high efficiency shooter who can score from any part of the floor. This also lets you unleash Milsap as an enforcer using that nasty demeanor of his to bully in the paint on a shortened workload. Bol Bol is the tallest player to ever sink a 3 for the Nuggets in both the regular season and playoffs. Take off the kid gloves and let the young man ball!
Ok, I’m off my soap box. Now into the reason I am sure you all came, more picks! DraftKings also has a great underdog spread for the Nuggets at +3.5:
DraftKings has the highest Moneyline I have seen at +130:
Like last game, expect Bol Bol to get an uptick in mins. as he doubled his court-time from games 2 to 3. After not a single second in Game 1, this time though, it will not take garbage time. He will not get starters minutes, but expect him to be in the regular rotation going forward as he shows out every time he gets a chance to bounce the rock. He is no longer a secret, the world knows what the kid can do, so let him. This also means that my prediction of Denver in 5 is officially dead, but this team is not. They will just need a mix-up, some locker room damage therapy, and some reinvigoration by a youthful talent dripping with potential left to wither on the bench up to this point. Malone can no longer justify Bol being a spectator any longer.
This lends me to believe in a much more competitive game and a possible massive bounce back for the Nuggets lending me to lean on the Over with FOXBet:
This should be a good day to take advantage of some skewed lines due to back-to-back performances well below the ability level of a budding NBA Super-Team. One bucking the trend of “small-ball” to create spacing by just being quicker and more athletic than the other team. They have size but can space like even the smallest of teams (Rockets). Look for a much better performance in Game 2 coupled with more of the 7’2” wunderkind leading to a bounce back win for the desperate Nuggets. So, I will leave you with this sweet 3 from the gentle-giant: