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Grizzlies vs. Nuggets Preview: As The Schedule and Standings Begin to Shrink...

Tonight's game against the Nuggets is an important one. Having lost to the Suns last night, it's not in our best interest to head home this week having ended our road trip with back-to-back losses. Even as well as we've been playing of late, this is one game we need to win.

Not to get ahead of ourselves, but on Tuesday we not only welcome back a limited Zach Randolph, but we welcome in the Los Angeles Lakers to the Grindhouse. A Team who has, for creativity's sake, had our number. Right now the Grizzlies are a part of that bunched-up grouping of teams in the middle of the Western Conference. We sit 5th overall, with the Clippers and Lakers a half-game ahead of us in 3rd and 4th, respectively, the Nuggets one game behind us and the Rockets and Mavericks two games behind us in the final two playoff spots. Meaning, things can swing, either way, in a flash. That's why games like these, against teams who are in the same mix as we are, are so very important.

Tonight, it starts against the Nuggets.

Denver has been one of the hottest teams in the league of late, winning five of their last six games coming out of the break. Then again, we too haven't been all that shabby, as you know. It's being dubbed, by some, as a matchup between two of the "hottest" teams in the league. And, that only means, something has got to give.

The Nuggets are leading the league in scoring at 104.1 points per game. They're finally getting healthy, which coupled with a surge from guys like Arron Afflalo and rookie Kenneth Faried, has made them one of the toughest outs in the league.

A big key in tonight's game for the Grizzlies is to limit the speed of the game, to keep the Nuggets from maximizing possessions. They have the legs on the bench to keep the pace at one far too hefty for our taste. We need to grind, keeping them from getting us into a track meet. The other key going to be winning the battle off the glass. We have to watch for Faried, who is turing out to be a highly efficient player, and we need to wipe last night's rebound drubbing from our minds. No way we can allow another 17 offensive boards and expect to win the game. Glass. Glass. Glass.

Our hope is to be able to take this one and feel like all the hubbub surrounding Tuesday night's game doesn't have the words "get back on track" and "need to win" attached to it. With Randolph coming, the Lakers on the horizon and the schedule and standings shrinking, tonight's game becomes a tad bit more important. Especially since we let last night's game get away from us.

For more on the Nuggets: Denver Stiffs