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Friday April 21, 2006 10:44 pm
2005-2006 NBA Playoffs – Denver Nuggets (44-38) @ Los Angeles Clippers (47-35), Game One
What the Nuggets Need to Do to Win: There is no question here… Carmelo Anthony will need to step his game up even more in the playoffs if he wants the respect he craves. I don’t think there will be anyone on the Clippers that will be able to stop Anthony from scoring a ton, but that won’t be enough for the Nuggets. Andre Miller needs to penetrate, pass, and steal the pill the way we all know he can do. Marcus Camby will need to establish a defensive presence and swat any shots within the vicinity of the paint and nullify Chris Kaman as a rebounding and scoring force in the box for the Clippers. Greg Buckner needs to continue to do all the small things that add up. Ruben Patterson needs to do his thing and get his name called out a lot by the announcer for making buckets. And, getting a Kenyon Martin sighting will be gravy on the meat.
What the Clippers Need to Do to Win: Dump it in to Elton Brand all day and wear down Camby, Elson, and whomever else they want to try to defend Brand and Kaman. Sam Cassell will need to be on his game and not get lax on Miller. Cuttino Mobley needs to be a perimeter threat, a three-ball threat even, in order for the perimeter defenders not to double down when Brand or Kaman have the ball. The Clippers haven’t won a playoff series and if this band of players can do that, it will go a long way in establishing the Clippers as a legitimate team.
My Prediction: Clippers 95, Nuggets 80; Brand shows off down in the post, Mobley hits five three-pointers, Anthony doesn’t do so well, and Shaun Livingston just plain puts on a show in garbage time.
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