February 19, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15, right) react toward NBA referee Gary Zielinski (59) during the third quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Kings defeated the Nuggets 116-110. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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Denver has a tough test at home tonight, but if they contain DeMarcus Cousins, they can sneak into the 8th seed.
Denver has a tough battle tonight at home in Denver tonight. With a game that may decide who will sneak into the postseason, the Nuggets will have to find a way to contain Kings superstar DeMarcus Cousins.
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The question is can the Nuggets slow the big man down? With the right rotations and proper defense, yes they can contain him a bit. Cousins is unbelievably talented, so he will still put up numbers. The key is to limit his production and not let him get to his averages giving the team a much better chance to win.
Jokic’s weakness is his defense, so it would not surprise me to see Jusuf Nurkic in a lot to help slow down the star big man. The team cannot let Jokic get into foul trouble, so don’t be surprised if we see a Nurkic sighting very early. Oh and it wouldn’t hurt to get the crowd hyped up early so the Nuggets can use the noise to their advantage.
Cousins is averaging 29 points per game this season along with 10.2 rebounds per game, so if Denver can hold him a bit below these averages, it will force the Kings to find other options. Guys like Gary Harris and Wilson Chandler will have easier match-ups on the perimeter, but they must not overlook Sacramento’s shooters. Aaron Afflalo and Rudy Gay can take the opposition by surprise at times.
The Nuggets will need to make sure they box out and play stellar defense in order to limit DeMarcus Cousins otherwise he will eat Denver alive in the paint. It is easy to bloviate about keeping DeMarcus Cousins at bay, but it is easier said than done.
However, the Nuggets can pull of this feat if they utilize their defensive tools correctly.