Nuggets Take on Unfamiliar Opponent for Home Preseason Game
The Denver Nuggets will face an opponent they’ve never played before: The Perth Wildcats. Perth hails from the National Basketball League of Australia. Perth is one of five NBL teams taking part in NBA preseason games. This will be Perth’s second preseason game against an NBA team as they lost to the Utah Jazz on September 29th by 58 points. Perth is one of the premier NBL teams, having won three championships between 2014-2017. The Wildcats have made playoffs every year since 1987.
For Nuggets Head Coach Michael Malone the focus of tonight’s game is the same as the previous two preseason games.
“In preseason my number one focus is on us. How do we get better? How do we improve? But we will give them all the respect they deserve when we play them tomorrow night,” Malone said.
What to watch for:
Physicality: Nuggets forward Torrey Craig played in the NBL for three seasons and expects the Wildcats to be a physical team.
“Those guys over there it’s as physical as it gets with the natural rugby background so most of the guys grew up playing rugby so they’re just naturally physical. I learned that over there as soon as I got over there,” Craig said following Thursday’s practice.
Malone echoed those sentiments: “In my experience the one thing I know about Australian players, one word comes to mind is: Toughness. Tough group of guys, they’re never going to back down. So, if you’re not ready to play expect the worst.”
Who will have the hot hand?: In the first preseason game it was Juancho Hernangomez lighting it up off the bench. In game two it was Mason Plumlee going 11-of-11 from the field. For the Nuggets it will be whoever the ball finds in their free-flowing offense.
“Each game will be different; we’ll have other guys will step up and if we feel that a guy has it going or has a mismatch we’ll call certain plays to get them open. But right now in preseason we’re not running a lot of plays for individuals, we’re working on our offense, our reads and then giving them the freedom to play within that offense,” Malone said.
Taking care of the ball: The Nuggets totaled 21 turnovers in their first preseason game against the Lakers and 25 in the second game. Coach Malone stated on Thursday that he would like to see that number be lower.
“Right now what’s killing our defense is one, the turnovers. 23 and a half turnovers, which puts your defense in a bind. We’re giving up 24 fastbreak points a night, a lot of those off turnovers or bad shots. We’re not being able to set our defense right now,” Malone said.
Tonight’s game will be broadcast on Altitude TV and the AltitudeNOW app. Radio broadcast will be on Altitude 92.5 FM.