Mavericks @ Nuggets - 10:30 p.m. EST, TNT
Sorry, east coasters, it's going to be a late night. I feel your pain, but this one should be worth being a little bleary-eyed tomorrow, if only to see JaVale McGee's debut as a Denver Nugget. Benjamin Hochman from the Denver post is reporting that both McGee and the newly re-signed Wilson Chandler will be available for the Nuggets tonight.
The Dallas Mavericks come to Denver in desperate need of a win on the road. They've dropped seven straight away from the AAC, their longest stretch since 1999.
The Nuggets are a different team since the deadline, sending Nene to the Washington Wizards in exchange for McGee. Rookie Kenneth Faried's role has now increased and in a victory against the Boston Celtics on Saturday night, he showed why his front office believes in him.
Faried posted a line of 18 points, 16 rebounds, shot a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor and 8-for-8 from the free throw line in 24 minutes of action in the victory over the Celtics. He was phenomenal.
After that game, Faried played down his performance saying,
“I did all right by playing with my heart,” Faried said and when reminded of his 5-for-5 shooting from the field and 8 of 8 on free throws added, “I’m not content. I want to do better.”
Look for Faried to continue being aggressive against a Mavericks team that has struggled to come out with energy and intensity on the road as of late.
It's not all bad for the Mavs as they prepare to take on the Nuggets. There's just more bad than good, unfortunately.
The positives: Dallas comes into Denver fresh off of a victory against the San Antonio Spurs where Dirk Nowitzki was looking more like himself, finishing with 27 points. Jason Kidd had his first double-double of the season (feels strange, right?).
The negatives: Faried should feast on the Mavs up front with Brendan Haywood and Shawn Marion both expected to be out of the lineup.
The extra negative: According to Earl K. Sneed, Marion did not travel with the team and Rick Carlisle said he will have his sore left knee "thoroughly" looked at in Dallas.
A motivated Mavericks team taking on a Nuggets team that has unleashed Faried? I fully expect tonight to be a good one.
Really though, who am I kidding? I'd be watching even if the Nuggets were taking on the Bobcats. I'm dying to see how this McGee/George Karl player-coach relationship is going to work.
I consider Karl and Gregg Popovich my "NBA players in need of a someone to save them" whisperers. If they can't get through to you, you're probably in trouble.