Sixers-Nuggets: 5 things you need to know

Sixers-Nuggets: 5 things you need to know

Brown on Sixers' D: 'We know our sickness'

December 7, 2013, 12:30 pm

The Sixers (7-13) will attempt to salvage the second half of a back-to-back set when they host the Denver Nuggets (11-8).
 
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (CSN) at the Wells Fargo Center.
 
Let’s take a closer look at the matchup:
 
1. Come and go as they please
The Sixers will try to turn around their season-long issues on defense when they get back on the court against the Nuggets.
 
Their defensive woes continued on Friday night against the league’s lowest-scoring offense in Charlotte. The Sixers allowed the Bobcats to score a season-high 105 points and shoot 46.2 percent in a 105-88 loss (see story).
 
The Sixers particularly had trouble slowing down Charlotte in the first half, when they gave up 62 points and watched the Bobcats shoot 54.3 percent. The Sixers allow an NBA-worst 56.8 points per game in the first half.
 
“I feel like that whole first half was not good defensively,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. “We scored, but we have to find ways to individually and team-wise improve defensively or it is going to be a really long year.”
 
Things don’t figure to get better right away against a Nuggets squad that is tied for fifth in the league in points per game (104.0) and tied for ninth in three-point percentage (37.7).
 
2. Missing the point
The only thing that could possibly hinder the meeting between these two high-octane teams is a pair of injuries to both point guards.
 
Michael Carter-Williams missed his fifth game of the season on Friday with a sore right knee and his status is unclear for Saturday’s matchup.
 
Tony Wroten filled in nicely against the Bobcats with 21 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. He is averaging 19.8 points and 6.2 assists in the five games he has replaced Carter-Williams in the starting lineup.
 
On the other side, Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson left Friday’s 106-98 loss to the Boston Celtics in the third quarter with a left hamstring injury. His status is also up in the air for Saturday night’s tilt.
 
Lawson is off to the best start of his career this season under new head coach Brian Shaw. Lawson is averaging career highs in points (19.3) and assists (8.2), while also ranking 10th in the league with a 2.92 assist-to-turnover ratio.
 
3. Board meeting
With each team dealing with injuries at the point guard position, this game could be decided on the glass by two of the league’s best rebounding squads.
 
The Sixers rank fourth in the NBA in rebounding with 46.4 per game, just ahead of the Nuggets’ 45.7. The Sixers and Nuggets also both rank in the league’s top 10 in offensive rebounding and rebound differential.
 
Whichever team wins the rebounding battle should have an inside edge toward winning the game.
 
4. Injuries
Carter-Williams (knee) is day to day.
 
Nerlens Noel (knee), Arnett Moultrie (ankle) and Jason Richardson (knee) are all out.
 
Lawson (hamstring) is day to day.
 
Danilo Gallinari (knee) and JaVale McGee (leg) are out for the Nuggets.
 
5. This and that
• The Sixers are 1-4 without Carter-Williams this season. The Nuggets were 8-1 without Lawson last season, albeit with a much different roster and head coach.
 
• The Nuggets are on the fifth game of a six-game road trip.
 
• The Sixers allow a league-worst 110.6 points per game, while the Nuggets are tied for 22nd with 101.7.
 
• The Sixers are 29th in the league in turnovers with 18.0 per game.
 
• Denver is sixth in the league in blocks per game with 5.8.
 
• Spencer Hawes averaged 16.5 points, 12.0 rebounds and 4.5 blocks on 63.6 percent shooting in two games against the Nuggets last season.
 
• The Sixers are ninth in the NBA in assists (22.8) and seventh in steals (8.7).