Payton/Miller & Boykins:
Gary is mad, this could be a good thing for us though. He may be more aggressive and score more points. It seems he is sick of losing, so if he wants to win bad enough, he should be able to go out there with the attitude we can't lose and give us a good game on the offensive end. Now defense is more what I am concerned about, he let Cassell have a big night, hopefully he can step it up and not let Miller and Boykins do the same thing. Neither of the Denver guards are big scorers, but that doesn't mean that they can't have a good scoring night if not guarded. Payton needs to look to score, but more from the inside, he should be able to do better against Boykins, because Earl is so small, Payton can back him down ad push him around; but Payton will need to keep up with him, because this little guy is very fast and is the best thing the Nuggets have going for them coming off the bench.
I think they will put Lenard on Kobe, because they want Melo to be able to focus on offense and not have to guard one of the best guards in the league, but that doesn't mean they won't be guarding each other on several possessions. I think Kobe is going to have a HUGE game. He knows what coming tonight, an arena filled with 19,099 people who will all be booing Kobe every time he touches the ball. I think this will fuel him and give him even more reason to destroy the Nuggets. Kobe said he expect a win tonight, let's hope he's right. For us to win, Phil has to let him play how he wants, something I don't think he did in the last game, since Kobe was a lot more passive early on, and didn't really score much. Kobe has to be given the green light, without this I don't think he would be aggressive or do much for us, and for us to win we need a big game from number 8 (at least 40+). Nothing would make Kobe happier right now, than to go into Denver, and single handedly take them out, and silence all the fans that will be booing him. Kobe needs to play good defense too, Lenard is by far not their best player, but can heat up and fast...and I would prefer if he didn't do that against us. Kobe has to guard him tight at the 3 point line, because that's where he likes to get going from
: George has to step it up, especially since he hasn't given us anything in the past couple of games. I don't care if he makes a single basket, but would much rather him have a big defensive game against Carmelo and prevent him from scoring very many points. Carmelo is a much better player than George and definitely wins this matchup. I just hope George can't stop him and if he can't, Russell must come in...we can't have a unproductive George in there if he isn't doing anything. I doubt George will do much for us, and he will let Melo get 25+ points.
Slava & Cook/Nene
: Nene is a lot more powerful post player than Slava. But this matchup should seem very easy after guarding KG. I know Nene will have a better game than Slava, and probably prevent Slava from getting some rebounds. I don't expect very much from Slava tonight. Cook will definitely be given a good bit of time tonight, especially with his big game against KG. I think he would have another good game tonight, he just needs to watch the fouls so he can be useful for us for longer periods of time. Good new for Slava and Cook, Nene isn't a very big offensive threat, so defense won't be as crucial tonight as it was last night, allowing both of them to focus most of their attention on offense.
Camby will have a better game than Grant tonight, he will outscore and outrebound him. Grant needs to try and prevent him from getting easy baskets, and needs to try and shoot better than last night, and if his shot isn't there, then stop shooting (because when he was forcing the shot, he didn't get us anything) and just focus on rebounds. He needs to try and get at least as many rebounds as Kobe.