Two streaking-hot teams will put each other to the test as they face off in Boston on Sunday evening. The Denver Nuggets are moving on all cylinders with an 8 game winning streak while the Boston Celtics, who seemingly are still “searching” are also winners of 6 in a row. This will be the Celtic’s biggest test yet amid the winning streak to try and keep pace with an offensive juggernaut.
The Nuggets are a top tier team in terms of offensive efficiency and are 26-11 when scoring 100 or more points. The new-found defensive intensity the Celtic’s are starting to find is going to be put to serious test, with several match-up disadvantages that give the Nuggets a lot of places to look for a lot of points. The Nuggets are just looking for attention, and with the way they’ve been playing as of late, they deserve it.
Kenneth Faried is having a season full of highlights and efficiency. The second year beast has turned himself into a dangerous walking double-double with plenty of intensity and freakish power at age 23. Most likely, the Celtic’s will have to rely on undersized but capable players like Brandon Bass and Jeff Green to try and slow down the “Manimal” in one way or another. Faried will be an interesting player to watch, and often makes life hard for whoever is in his way.
Andre Igoudala is having himself a a decent first season for the Nuggets. His scoring and shooting numbers have taken a slight dip, but loads of pressure have been removed from his shoulders simply by who’s surrounding him on the floor. He no longer needs to be the go-to-guy although he still has the ability to hit big shots in clutch minutes.
Most likely, this will be a prime time match up with Igoudala on Paul Pierce. The two faced off last year for seven games in a row in the second round of the Eastern Conference, and it’s one that had Pierce struggling. Igoudala’s defense is elite, and he has stepped up to be the leader on that end of the floor for the Nuggets, which they have been desperately seeking for years. The Celtics will again be forced to make in-game adjustments and try to find a match-up that’s even just slightly favorable.
Chances are among many intriguing match-ups, the most fun to watch will be Danilo Gallinari and Kevin Garnett. Garnett is going to have to find ways to score inside, as this is Gallanari’s weakness. Gallanari plays well away from the basket, but clogging up the paint and playing for stops or rebounds has never been his niche. The Celtic’s will need to feed Garnett early and often to try and open up some space for things to happen. Garnett will have to play cautiously, as any front line foul trouble will surely limit the Celtic’s chances at the opportunities available.
A win will speak volumes for either team as they each take a heat check. The game is a true chance for the Celtic’s to show off their newly discovered defensive urgency, while the Nuggets are still looking to turn some heads and win over whoever isn’t in their favor…yet.