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Keys to Beat Nuggets, Pistons

By Mark Kern
March 29, 2012

Gerald Henderson vs. Aaron Affalo

Henderson has done a good job taking advantage of recent matchups against smaller guards like Avery Bradley and Monta Ellis; however, this matchup features two players who are very similar in size and build… Henderson is averaging 14.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists on the season and is able to score in many different ways, making for a difficult cover… He can score down on the block, hit the jump shot and excels at scoring in the transition. His ability to score in different ways could be key in his matchup with Aaron Affalo… Affalo stands an inch taller than Henderson at 6-5, while weighing the same as Henderson at 215 pounds.. On the season, Affalo is averaging 14.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists and has earned the reputation as one of the better on-ball defenders in the NBA… Both of these guys are strong and like to play physical… The key in this matchup will be which player is able to play aggressive while avoiding foul trouble.

Bismack Biyombo vs. Greg Monroe
Throughout his rookie season, Bismack Biyombo has shown the ability to go up against some of the best centers in the NBA and more than hold his own. In four starts against All-Star centers Dwight Howard and Roy Hibbert, Biyombo has averaged 10.8 rebounds, 7.5 points and 5.0 blocks. He has shown great improvement throughout the year, especially on the offensive end, where he is starting to develop a couple go-to moves… On defense, Biyombo is averaging 1.84 blocks to rank eighth in the NBA and is second in the league in blocks per 48 minutes, trailing only Serge Ibaka… The thing Biyombo still has to work on defensively is staying disciplined and not falling for pump fakes. This will be a great test for Biz as he goes up against second-year center Greg Monroe… If it weren’t for the play of Jeremy Lin, Monroe might be the clear favorite for Most Improved Player of the Year while averaging 16.0 points and 9.8 rebounds… What separates him from most other centers is his ability to pass the ball, making it nearly impossible to double-team because of his awareness and vision to hit the open guy… Biyombo will have to contest every shot and not fall for the pump fakes Monroe will try and get him to bite on.

For the second-straight game, Charlotte competed to the very end against Minnesota on Wednesday, but was unable to get the victory… The Bobcats are a team that really likes to push the pace on both offense and defense… Head coach Paul Silas wants his team to pressure the opposition as much as possible, counting on his team to force turnovers they can turn into easy buckets… Charlotte’s bench has been playing well of late, averaging 42.5 points in the last two games and allowing the Bobcats to get after it like Silas wants to while allowing everyone on the court to stay fresh… The effort has been great the past two games, and if that continues and Charlotte shows that much intensity, then its confident the wins will start coming.

Even with the thumb injury to second-leading scorer Danilo Gallinari (15.2 points), Denver has plenty of players capable of having monster games… Point guard Ty Lawson is having an outstanding year for the Nuggets with 15.4 points, 6.6 assists and 1.4 steals and has emerged as a point guard on the rise.. When Lawson is going and using his quickness to attack teams off the dribble, it allows guys such as Affalo and Wilson Chandler the ability to spot up and get wide open 3-pointers… The Nuggets also might have the most athletic frontcourt in the NBA with JaVale McGee and rookie Kenneth Faried… Both of these guys can jump out of the gym and make the game-changing block at anytime… Faried has been so good, it allowed the Nuggets to trade longtime fan-favorite Nene… The Bobcats must block these two out as they go after the offensive glass as aggressively as any tandem in the league.

SCOUTING THE PISTONS (18-32 as of 3/29)
The Pistons are a young team but have a group of guards capable of putting up solid numbers… On March 21, Ben Gordon erupted for 45 points, including 9 of 9 from the 3-point line. That tied an NBA record he already shared with former guard Latrell Spreewell. However, Gordon may not be available, as he’s nursing a groin injury that lists him at day-to-day… Gordon isn’t the only Pistons guard dealing with a recent injury, as Rodney Stuckey left Wednesday’s game in Cleveland with a hamstring injury and did not return… If Gordon and Stuckey are both out, Detroit still has weapons in the backcourt with rookie Brandon Knight (12.6 points) and veteran Will Bynum (5.3 points)… Having guards capable of catching fire, allows Monroe to be so effective down low. His passing ability allows the perimeter players to hit open 3-pointers, as well as go back door for the layup… They do a great job of playing through their star, and if you allow the guards to catch fire, they become very tough to stop as an offense.

The Bobcats tip off at 7 p.m. Friday against the Nuggets at Time Warner Cable Arena. They then travel to Detroit to take on the Pistons on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. live from The Palace of Auburn Hills. Catch all the action on SportSouth, listen to us on WFNZ and join us for the live chat on

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