Game Preview: Bucks vs Nuggets

Denver looking to close homestand strong against struggling Milwaukee
by Aaron Lopez

The Denver Nuggets have seen this speed trap before.

After beating an upper-echelon team, they face a struggling opponent who doesn’t necessarily inspire a sense of urgency.

The results haven’t often been pretty.

Coach Brian Shaw spent the better part of the past two days encouraging his players to maintain their intensity and focus as the Nuggets prepared to close a four-game homestand against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night at Pepsi Center.

The Nuggets (23-23) are coming off a dramatic victory against the Los Angeles Clippers, who are currently fourth in the Western Conference. The Bucks (9-39) have the league’s worst record and are 1-16 against the West.

“We have to do a great job of building on this win and get ready for Milwaukee,” Denver big man J.J. Hickson said after the Clippers game. “If you lose to Milwaukee, this game doesn’t mean anything.”

So far this season, the Nuggets have defeated Indiana (38-10), Oklahoma City (39-11), the Clippers (34-17), Golden State (29-20) and Memphis (26-21), only to offset the victories with losses to Philadelphia (15-34), Cleveland (16-33) twice, Utah (16-32) twice and Boston (16-32).

“We’ve been able to get up for the good teams,” Shaw said. “We have to bring that focus and effort to every opponent we play.”


WHEN: 7 p.m. MT
WHERE: Pepsi Center, Denver.
TV; RADIO: Altitude; AM-950

DENVER (23-23)

F Wilson Chandler
F Kenneth Faried
C J.J. Hickson
G Randy Foye
G Ty Lawson

F Khris Middleton
F Ersan Ilyasova
C Larry Sanders
G Nate Wolters
G Brandon Knight

Lawson (left rotator cuff strain) is probable; Danilo Gallinari (knee) and JaVale McGee (stress fracture, left tibia) and Nate Robinson (strained knee ligament) are out.
MILWAUKEE: John Henson (sprained wrist) and Ekpe Udoh (sprained ankle) are questionable; Caron Butler (sprained ankle), Carlos Delfino (foot surgery) and O.J. Mayo (illness) are out.

The Nuggets have won six straight against the the Bucks, with Milwaukee's last win in the series coming March 20, 2010 in Denver. The losing streak matches the longest in the series history between the teams . . . Denver has gone 15-5 overall against Milwaukee since 2003-04 . . . Milwaukee was the only team to sweep the Nuggets during the 2009-10 season (2-0) . . . The Nuggets swept (2-0) the Bucks in 2012-13 for the second time in the last three seasons . . . Denver has swept the Bucks five times in the last nine seasons . . . The biggest regular season loss in Nuggets team history came at the hands of the Bucks, losing 143-95 in Milwaukee on March 26, 1980 (48 points).