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Game Preview: What to Watch for In the Nuggets Game Against Philadelphia

by Christopher Dempsey
Nuggets Insider

The Nuggets return to action tonight at the Pepsi Center against one of the more interesting teams in the league – the young, but talented Philadelphia 76ers. Philly will not have burgeoning star center Joel Embiid, who has been ruled out as part of a series of prescheduled rest days.

But they still have a host of players the Nuggets must slow down in order to get a victory. The Nuggets are looking for their 13th victory at home, something that last season they did not get until Feb. 3 last season. So they could be more than a month ahead of last season in home victories, if they get this one tonight.

What are the keys? Start with these things…

Contain Ben Simmons: Simmons, the leader in the clubhouse for NBA Rookie of the Year, is a 6-10, 230-pound….point guard. That’s right. And he’s difficult to stop from getting to the rim once he gets a head of steam going. Yet, he does not shoot the ball very well and sometimes is apprehensive about putting up a shot. So the goal here for the Nuggets is to wall off the lane as best as they can and force him put up jump shots as his attempts.

Force the issue to the rim: The Sixers are a decent team at defending shots at the rim, but they do not do a good job of defending without fouling. So, being persistent about paint touches – whether they are drives or post-ups – could net the Nuggets a lot of trips to the free throw line.

Crash the offensive glass:

Philadelphia is a good rebounding team, but is playing without its best rebounder – Joel Embiid. The Nuggets are one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA, particularly on the offensive glass. Win the battle of the boards, and the extra possessions will help, especially if the Nuggets are having an off shooting night.

Christopher Dempsey: christopher.dempsey@altitude.tv and @chrisadempsey on Twitter