Denver Nuggets-New Orleans Hornets: Golden Stinger First Round Matchup

Bhavik DarjiCorrespondent IApril 17, 2009

In what was a furious last day of the regular seasons with many OT games featuring teams like the Cavs, Hornets and Spurs. With New Orleans giving up the lead in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter at San Antonio lead to a overtime, which than led to a lost.

Not only did New Orleans lose, but Denver put on a disgusting performance and lost by 28. By far as a Nugget fan i could not watch this at all, so many things went wrong, and probably blew away some confidence.

Now with both the Hornets and Nuggets suffering heart-breaking losses, their momentum has stopped at a dead halt. This could possibly be good, or bad. Both teams will have a fresh start come Sunday and would be looking to build off from there.

It could also spell another loss for either clubs, especially for Denver who got bulldozed and is probably hurting from that still.

Now you have Chris Paul and David West as the only two solid players for New Orleans going into this series. The Hornets are going to have to guard a healthy Nene, Kenyon Martin, try to hold down JR, keep Chauncey from going to work, and play the D on Melo.

The Hornets do not have a good third option right now and are plagued by injuries. Chandler hasn't played major minutes for this club in a while, and Stojakovic is always seeming to fade away because of his back problems.

Although Chris Paul in my opinion can be the guy to take over a series, there is just to much for him to do. There is pressure on him to rebound, score, pass and on the defensive end, guard Billups. How much can one guard do?

The regular season series was tied at two games a piece for both teams. In the two games that the Nuggets won, Anthony averaged 25.5 PPG on a combined 20 for 41 (.487). Carmelo Anthony is going to have to keep up the spectacular play against these Hornets, as they have nobody to guard him.

David West probably has enough power to push Kenyon around a little bit. As good a defensive player Kenyon is, West will probably be able to break him down. The Nuggets are going to have to watch the pick-and-rolls between Paul and West and switching defenders will hurt them as West can knock down the 15 footer.

The Hornets had Chandler play 20 minutes against the Spurs, and Marks and Ely split up the rest. Nene should be man handling these match ups no matter what even if its Chandler. He is simply much stronger than the above players.

Rasul Butler will probably not do much guarding of Dhantay Jones when, or if he starts. When JR comes on though, Byron Scott is going to have to change his strategy. James Posey and JR Smith would be an ideal match up for the Hornets. 

Posey has the gritty defensive mind that he got from playing with the Celtics last season, as well as the Height advantage. This would probably be a good match up but JR should have the advantage with his athleticism and speed.

Chris Paul VS. Chauncey Billups. Both are exceptional players with Billups a NBA champ and Finals MVP. Paul in his own right former All-Star and on a pace to break the assist record.

Now Chris Paul will have the advantage in this match up because of his youth and athleticism as well as his magical hands, he will probably try to work Chauncey alot but Billups is expected to put up a fight. The match up between these two should be one to remember, but with nobody to really help backup Paul, Billups will win in the long run.

Wild Cards

J.R. is thrown in there with Chris Anderson and Linas Klezia for the Nugget half because his play against the Hornets this year has been fantastic. He has been averaging 21.3 PPG and shooting 43 percent from the arc in the last four games.

Chris Andersen will bring energy off the bench and alter any shot that comes his way. He may not get a hand on the ball, but just his presence will be enough to scare away those slashers and drivers.

In the last five games Linas has really stepped up his game by averaging 14 PPG shooting 51 percent from the field. Klezia can explode on any given night as his shot is always on and off.

Peja Stojakovic if healthy will be very dangerous. In the three games he has played against the Nuggets he has put up 20.7 PPG playing 38 MPG and shooting over 50 percent in both the field and three.

Just like Peja, if Tyson can get healthy, he will be on the receiving end of Chris Paul's lobs as well as pulling down 8-11 RPG.

My thought: Nuggets in five.