DENVER — With the Utah Jazz close to calling check-mate on them, the Denver Nuggets are going with a little different strategy tonight in Game 5.
The Nuggets will start All-Star Chauncey Billups instead of defensive-minded Arron Afflalo on Deron Williams in hopes of taking the Jazz point guard out of his game a bit from the get-go.
"We want to just show him something different from the start of games," Billups said at Nuggets shootaround this morning. "I think you've got to change up how you play him."
Nothing the Nuggets have done has worked so far, including pressuring Williams, trapping him past half-court, being physical.
Williams has averaged about 27 points and 12 assists in leading the Jazz to a 3-1 first-round series lead, which Utah could close out with a victory tonight at the Pepsi Center.
Denver hopes the switch will slow down his productivity.
"I guard him maybe a little different than maybe Arron does, probably a little more physical than maybe Arron is," Billups added. "Hopefully they (the refs) allow us to play like that."6 comments on this story
Asked at Jazz shootaround about the defensive change, Williams said it won't alter his approach or mindset tonight. He's talked previously that he figured Denver wanted to keep Billups out of foul trouble so they've used him on Wesley Matthews to begin games.
"They both try to be physical with me," Williams said. "Their team goal is to trap me and try to get the ball out of my hands, so it doesn't change what I'm doing to do."
Williams admitted that it's always tough to close out a series, but the Jazz are still feeling good about having won in Denver in the 114-111 Game 2 shocker last Monday.
"It shows we can win here," Williams said. "It just gives us confidence that we can do it again."