Game #18 – Cavaliers (5-12) vs. Nuggets (11-6)

OPENING TIP

At least the Cavaliers can feel a little better about themselves. Just when it seemed everything was about to turn really miserable, the Cavs pulled together for a win Saturday over the Derrick Rose-less Bulls. The Nuggets, of course, are a different story. They’ve won seven in a row, throttling the Nets by a 111-87 count Tuesday. For a team with a first-year coach (Brian Shaw), they are extremely cohesive. The Nuggets play hard, smart and fast. If the Cavs can get this one, and they could, it would really be something off of which to build.

Venue: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland.

TV/Radio: 7 p.m. EST, FOX Sports Ohio/WTAM

PROJECTED STARTERS

DENVER NUGGETS (11-6)
C J.J. Hickson
PF Kenneth Faried
SF Wilson Chandler
SG Randy Foye
PG Ty Lawson

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (5-12)
C Andrew Bynum
PF Tristan Thompson
SF Alonzo Gee
SG C.J. Miles
PG Kyrie Irving

Pregame notes:

• Former Cavs forward J.J. Hickson is on his fourth team. He is averaging 9.9 points and 8.1 rebounds as the Nuggets center and overall, is off to a solid start.

• One-time Cavs lottery pick Andre Miller is also still with the Nuggets. He’s in his 16th NBA season and is still dangerous off the bench, particularly when it comes to keeping the ball moving, finding the open man and scoring himself.

• While the Nuggets are fourth in the league in rebounding, they’re not a great defensive team. They surrender 101.7 points per game — ranking them 21st of 30 teams.

• The Nuggets are also fourth in the league in points per game. They’re scoring 105.3 a night, but unlike last season, they’re more than just a running team. They’ve become very efficient in the half-court under Shaw.

• The Cavs are 27th in scoring (92.5 ppg) and only one spot ahead of the Nuggets defensively, surrendering 100.8 points a night. Irving leads the Cavs in scoring at 20.6 points, with Thompson the top rebounder at 9.5 per game.

Twitter: @SamAmicoFSO