What in the world is happening in Denver and Philadelphia? The Nuggets and 76ers have toppled superstar laden giants en route to impressive records as we near the midway point in the season. Al Dannity looks at these upstart franchises ahead of their games tonight, when the Heat travel to Philadelphia and the Lakers head to Denver.
Fear no more
Whatever questions remained about the quality of these 76ers was pushed to one side on Wednesday night. They were just dominant in a 98-82 win over the Bulls. Any arguments about grit or hustle don’t do this Philadelphia team justice. This unit plays an up tempo style and, while lacking star power, is particularly talented. Andre Igoudala is the nearest thing to a franchise name amongst a largely anonymous roster. They may not possess the swagger of the Heat but it’s not out of some faux-humbleness. This is a young roster but far from a ragged one. The beating they gave the Bulls put the NBA betting public on notice. Another big win tonight and they’ll have everybody talking.
Not that it’s going to be easy. The Heat have two first-team Eastern All Stars in LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. LBJ is having the best regular season of his career to date. In truth Miami should have a third All Star starter as Chris Bosh has been in imperious form. This is going to be a tough fight for Miami on the road but I like them to get it done tonight. The 76ers have the talent to break up the anointed Eastern Conference finals pairing of Miami and Chicago. Still I don’t see them knocking them both off this week.
Nuggets look for second half of LA double
By the end of tonight’s game, the Denver Nuggets may have recorded wins over four of the five starting Western Conference All Stars in two nights. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul couldn’t stop the Clippers from suffering a 112-91 defeat at home last night. Tonight it’s Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant in the firing line. The Lakers have been far from championship caliber this season but they remain one of the most talented outfits in the NBA. Not that the Nuggets will be intimidated.
Danilo Gallinari is starting to make the Melo trade look even more lopsided than it looked a year ago. The Nuggets got the bulk of the Knicks’ starters in that trade and the MSG outcasts have been top class so far this season. It doesn’t hurt that veterans like Andre Miller and Nene are both still delivering top class performances. I like Denver to get it done tonight.
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