The New York Knicks will travel to the Pepsi Center to play the Denver Nuggets in a game that will be greatly determined by the forwards and centers.
The big story is obviously the return of Carmelo Anthony, who will be playing in Denver for the first time since leaving the team to go to New York.
However, there is still a game that needs to be played. There will be a lot of focus by the media on Anthony, but all of the players will be focused on the game, and the frontcourt will be the key to watch as these two teams play.
For the Nuggets, the player to look out for is Kenneth Faried. He has been a sensational player for the team in his first two seasons, and will look to have some big plays against the Knicks.
Faried's numbers this season are really solid. He is averaging 11.9 points per game on 55 percent shooting, as well as 9.6 rebounds per game.
What will make Faried such a big key for the Nuggets is his ability to crash the boards on offense. According to Basketball-Reference.com, Faried has an offensive rebound percentage of 13.3, which is the seventh-best mark in the NBA. That kind of intensity on offense will lead to some critical second-chance points, and could easily shift the momentum of the game at any time.
For the Knicks, the frontcourt will consist mainly of Tyson Chandler and Anthony.
With the injury to Amar'e Stoudemire, Anthony will be asked to take on a bigger role at the power forward position. This will make it more difficult for him in the post, but likely make it easier create open jumpers throughout the game. As the team’s leading scorer, Anthony will need to keep the scoring up, even with his injured knee.
Chandler will be the biggest key to this game. He will need to dominate Kosta Koufos in the paint, and will need to do it often.
This shouldn’t be a problem for Chandler, who is the most efficient scorer in the country. He is shooting an amazing 64.6 percent from the field, which is nearly three percent higher than DeAndre Jordan who has the second-highest field goal percentage at 61.9.
In order for the Knicks to win, they will need to get the ball down low to Chandler early and often. Chandler can try getting Koufos in foul trouble early, which wouldn’t be too difficult. Koufos has 205 personal fouls this season, the fifth most in the league. Keeping Koufos out of the game would be big for the Knicks, and would make Chandler’s job a lot easier.
The frontcourt will be big in this game. There will be a lot of tough points scored in the paint, and a lot of big plays on defense as well. It will be an exciting matchup, and perhaps the play of these guys will make the announcers stop talking about Anthony returning to Denver, although probably not.