Saturday, December 30, 2006

This is Just a Warning

(Boulder-CO) I will be traveling north for the New Year’s festivities and am not 100% sure if Big Elk Mountain will have Altitude Sports and Entertainment on the satellite dish. I think it might, but… you never know. In any event, I will not have internet access except for on my smart phone so any Nugg Doctor updates, if there is any, will be short and sweet. I wish everyone that has read, and or continues to read, The Nugg Doctor a very healthy, happy, and above all safe New Year with nothing but well wishes from yours truly. It has been a special run in 2006 and 2007 promises to be even more amazing.

I will post a game recap upon my return and business will return to usual. Go Nuggets!
PS- If you look right in the middle of the moutain there is a small tan rectangle that I am pretty sure is where I'll be!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Too Little in the Tank

(Boulder-CO) What can I say? I know these Nuggets and had the foresight to see that they would not be victorious tonight against the Hornets. Nuggets succumb to Orleans/Oklahoma 99-89, and as predicted didn’t have much left in the tank after two previous wins.

Allen Iverson looked tired due to playing nearly every minute of the last two games. In another marathon session 45 minutes long, AI managed to prove that he is human by scoring 21 and handing out a meager three assists. He shot 6-22 from the field, thus indicating that he didn’t have his legs underneath him.

Same goes for Earl Boykins. Earl has been playing lights-out basketball in the last few games, but appeared to be tuckered out late in this game as his jumper was repeatedly short. The Mightiest Micro finished the game with 26 points on 10-22 shooting.

Yakhouba Diawara obviously isn’t a Nugg Doctor reader because once again he went a dismal 2-7 from downtown and shot no free-throw attempts in 33 minutes. And as soon as I give DerMarr a little credit he goes and does exactly what I said he wasn’t doing! He also shot 2-7 from downtown and tried to do too much offensively for the Nuggets. Combined the pair was 9-24 from the field.

Tonight the Nuggets looked, honestly, like they should without the type of players not available to them. They were discombobulated on offense, played shoddy defense, and despite winning for most of the game were just not mentally focused in the second half as they retched out 30 points in the final 24 minutes. The good thing is that this team needed a reality check to snap them out of the Iverson honeymoon and allow them the chance to put their feet back on the ground. I have felt that the last few games have been extraordinarily fortunate, but now it is time to really assess this team and how they are going to realistically survive the next two to three weeks without J.R. and Carmelo.

The Nuggets need a couple of intense practices in the next few days to cleanse the champagne out of their system from the Iverson welcoming party and regroup as a team. Putting in some blood, sweat, and tears in the practice facility should be just what the doctor ordered before meeting up with the Mavericks on New Years Eve. It will be the last time they ever have to play with the new/extinct microfiber ball before the old/resurrected leather ball is reinstated and one more game closer to having a complete team back on the floor.

This predicted loss wraps up my victory over Nick at http://www.thefullcourtpress.wordpress.com/ in our match-up of foresight. I am 3-0 while he is 1-2 in the psychic abilities department. It’s been fun, but seeing as we both have the Nuggets losing to the Mavericks… That should just about wrap it up!

Nuggets vs. Hornets Preview: Condensed Version

(Boulder-CO) The Nuggets will be flying into the hive tonight to face the Hornets of New Orleans/Oklahoma City.

Here are my points of emphasis:
  • AI+3=W’s, and don’t forget where you heard it first!
  • The Hornets will be without Chris Paul, “Don’t call” I’ll Peja Stojakovic, David West, and Bobby Jackson.
  • Earl Boykins is 5’5”! Just in case you forgot…
  • Nene is questionable, but Jamal Sampson proved that he can contribute with his showing last night (7 points and 9 rebounds in 17 minutes).
  • Yakhouba Diawara needs to stop shooting the ball until he regains some confidence in his offense. He is still shooting the three without first getting himself to the rim and the free-throw line.
  • DerMarr Johnson is a quality defender and deserves some credit for stepping up and accepting the role that the Nuggets have asked him to while not trying to do too much at the same time.
Know thy enemy by clicking on these great sites:

Why We All Love Carmelo


(Boulder-CO) Have you ever wondered why Carmelo Anthony seems to get more and more popular with the masses while sometimes making "mistakes" on and off the floor? Well, I think that Ryan over at www.hoopsaddict.com is on to a few of the reasons why Carmelo's popularity continues to soar despite how some athletes with dingy pasts never fully bounce back after bad PR. It is a tremendous read and I strongly urge you to bang the link right here to check it out http://hoopsaddict.com/blog/?p=1476. I don't plug work unless it is right on point and this, Nuggets Nation, is dead-on-balls accurate in my assessment.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

An Abundance of Accolades and Snow

(Boulder-CO) The Sonics were met by the cold weather and the cold shoulder of the Denver Nuggets 112-98 in tonight‘s match-up. It was a night of accolades for many that participated and the list is long. For Starters, Coach George Karl recorded his 800th win of his coaching career and is only the twelfth coach to ever reach that mark with the 6th best winning percentage of all-time. Allen Iverson recorded his 77th 40+ point game of his career and third straight double-double for his new found NBA city. The Nuggets are currently the league’s best offensive rebounding team, shooting the most free-throws of any team in the league, and in addition have the highest nightly average of assists league wide. This is also officially the most snow that has ever fallen in the Mile High City in such a short amount of time.

I think that about covers it!

Oh, I might also add that the Sonics never even had a shot in this one and trailed 99% of the game. They did cut the lead to three points in the third quarter, but even that meager three point lead seemed like ten as the Sonics were just out matched in all phases of the game. Having Chris Wilcox get slapped with two technical fouls and consequentially getting tossed from the event was also detrimental to the Sonics campaign.

The o-so-scientific formula, (AI+3=W’s), that I came up with is also holding its form. AI ripped the Sonics for a stat line that reads 44 points, ten assists, three rebounds, and two steals. His three amigos were Earl Boykins with 24 points to help Iverson put points on the scoreboard, Reggie Evans’s 18 Herculean rebounds off the glass, and Eduardo Najera’s all-around hustle and willingness to do the dirty work (IE taking charges, recording the only Nuggets block, and chipping in nine points). It just seems to work ladies and gentlemen, I just don’t know how else to say it.

One thing that I keep hearing announcers shy away from is how the Nuggets are missing more than 60 points in average scoring right now and how extremely offensively explosive they are going to be at full strength. Other teams must be shaking in the locker room before playing the Nuggets because honestly, they might be embarrassed for upwards of 150 points once this team gets all of its stars back. Denver has defense in Diawara and Camby. Denver has offense in Earl, Iverson, Carmelo, and J.R. Denver has rebounding in Evans and Najera and a slew of other folks that can contribute in a variety of different ways. DerMarr is long defender that can cause certain players headache in one-on-one match-ups. Linas is a strong, basket-attacking small forward. And even Jamal Sampson showed some limited brilliance on the boards and flushing a couple of dunks down tonight as a reserve seven-footer.

The Nuggets are a stout 16-10 at this point and staying right on pace to win fifty games this year. The next two games are on the road and I am two for two in my match predicting this weeks games with Nick from http://www.thefullcourtpress.wordpress.com/. I got the lead by one game right now, but when the Nuggets hit the road they have been known to slip. Hopefully, that will not be the case, but right now things almost seem too good to be true. Not that I’m complaining! Oh, and thanks God, for not making me sit through another snow storm without a Nuggets game. I appreciate it.

Nuggets vs. Suns Rescheduled

(Boulder-CO) The rare snow out that occurred last week between the Nuggets and the Suns will be made up on Monday, February 5th. The game is not part of a back-to-back which is nice for the Nuggets.

Nuggets vs. Sonics Preview

(Boulder-CO) In tonight’s match-up both teams may be facing an adversary that there just isn’t any defense for. Said adversary is the freak weather that we in Colorado have been experiencing in the last two weeks. Just ask the Phoenix Suns, they had to spend a couple days in Denver after the last 30+ inches fell in about twelve hours last week. The Nuggets/Suns never got to play the game that night and now the Sonics are about to witness another winter blast that is expected to drop at least a foot of wet, heavy snow on the Mile High City.
This is my prayer, O’ Lord, please hear my voice.

Please, do not leave me with a blizzard outside and no game to watch tonight. I don’t ask for much, give so selflessly, and always buy Girl Scout cookies. Will you please intervene divinely and ensure that there is a game for me to watch?

Ok, enough is enough.

Tonight’s game has already been predicted by yours truly to be a win for the D-Town faithful in my week-long match up of predicting games with Nick over at http://www.thefullcourtpress.wordpress.com/, so I need this one. Snow or no snow. Go check it out sometime.

My cohort and I, Mike over at http://www.nuggetsnoise.blogspot.com/, were talking after Tuesday’s win and I came up with a formula that I think is the key to the Nuggets success while shorthanded. The formula is AI+3=W’s. That’s AI being AI plus three other solid contributions in one way or another for a Nuggets victory. When Denver gets an effort that stretches four-deep they typically win because it indicates that their fast break is running. It starts with a good defensive rebound and outlet pass and usually ends with an easy bucket or trip to the line and a smiling George Karl.

The Sonics are riding the wave of two straight wins after bouncing back from a six game skid. Luke Ridnour is coming off a 27-point game performance against the Hornets and is always aided by Jesus Shuttlesworth AKA Ray Allen. The Nuggets can either run the Sonics out of the gym or make sure that Ray Ray doesn’t get hot if they want to win.

That is… if there is a game. Curse you snow storm!
UPDATE: Jesus Shuttlesworth is not going to play tonight due to his child being born! Congratulations, Ray Ray.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Got to Love the Nuggets

(Boulder-CO) What can I say? I love when the Nuggets make me look good. I’m talking about my heads-up match with Nick from http://thefullcourtpress.wordpress.com/, otherwise known as Defense Wins Championships, picking the outcomes of the Nuggets games this week. Head over there and check it out. I’m one for one so far!

This game tonight was a relief to say the least. Any games that the Nuggets can stash in the win column while they have so many players, ehhh hmmm, out of the line-up are certainly needed. Denver beat the Celtics tonight 116-105 being led by Allen Iverson.

AI torched the C’s for 28 points, 13 assists, four steals, and two rebounds. He is seeing the floor amazingly and once again was short changed in the assist column on a couple of occasions. Guys just need to keep their heads on swivels and their hands out of their pockets to fully utilized AI’s passing ability. This is Allen’s second double in as many game with the Nuggets.

One Nugget who is enjoying the open looks that AI’s penetration is creating is Earl Boykins. The Mightiest Micro, as I like to refer to him as, hit 4-5 three-pointers on his way to a 28 point-four assist evening of his own. With Earl and Iverson running the ball up the floor the opposition is looking winded and annoyed as they try and scramble back on defense.

And no game recap would be complete in which I didn’t mention the three, yes that is right, three double-doubles by the Nuggets front court. Eddie Najera banged the Celtics for 16 points and eleven big boards, Nene grabbed 14 rebounds and twelve points, and Reggie Evans went crazy for 14 points and just as many boards. Read ‘em and weep, Celtics fans. The Nuggets bigs exploded for 42 points and 39 glass-clearing snatches and were the difference in this game.

A side note to the game was Delonte West leaving the game after he attempted to block a shot by Earl Boykins on the break and came down very awkwardly after the play. The Celtics are a very banged up team and I hope that West does not miss any time for Boston.

An area of annoyance for me right now is how the Nuggets are shooting free-throws. Friday night was embarrassing, but tonight was just marginally better. Denver was horrible in the early goings and finished 29-43 from the line. Tonight it didn’t turn out to burn them, but in closer games with better opponents the Nuggets WILL get scorched if they do not pick up the percentage from the free-throw line. Mark my words.

Thursday night brings the basement-dwelling Sonics to town in a game that I predict the Nuggets will win. Without J.R. and Melo the Nuggets are 2-1 with twelve games still to wait before Anthony returns. Imagine this team with those guys back on the floor and tell me that you don’t love the Nuggets. I dare you!

Nuggets vs. Celtics in the Egg Nog Hangover

(Boulder-CO) When the Celtics come to Denver the day after Christmas let’s hope that the Nuggets aren’t suffering from a holiday hangover. The last time these two teams met the Nuggets took the L, 119-114. This time the Nuggets will be looking for pay-back. Only they will be short the combined averages of 60 points from Carmelo, J.R. Smith, and Marcus Camby. Tough game, but the Nuggets have a new secret weapon… AI!

Allen Iverson will play his second game as a Denver Nugget tonight and I expect him to be a touch more selfish on the offensive end. Last game he gave Denver ten assists, should have had upwards of 15, but tonight I expect him to take more off the dribble and look to get to the line more frequently.

Yakhouba Diawara needs to shake that sorry performance from Friday night, and come out with a different game plan. Yakhouba needs to also go to the rack tonight before letting fly any three-pointers. By doing this, he will hopefully get some easy buckets, some trips to the charity stripe, and get his other teammates involved. When this happens you will see Yak-em Smack-em hit his outside shot more because he will be more confident and be within the flow of the game.

The Celtics will be without Paul Pierce and should be a bit confused on offense. After winning five straight, the C’s have lost their last deuce and Denver needs to capitalize on their discombobulated state.

Hopefully, Nene will have laced up a new pair of risers for tonight’s game. I think the pair he was wearing on Friday night were wet and heavy, thus keeping him from jumping off the floor very quick, or high! Seriously, 60 million clams is too much money for a guy that gets his lay-ups swatted more than he flushes ‘em! Time to get a rise out of “Big Brazil” if the Nuggets are going to be successful. Go Denver!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Holidays!


(Boulder-CO) Happy Holidays from The Nugg Doctor! This Holiday has made me thankful for so much. A big thanks goes out to all the tremendously fast growing readership of Nuggets fans around the world.

Friday, December 22, 2006

What Did You Expect, This?

(Boulder-CO) Ok, so I thought the Nuggets would win. What do you want from me? I didn’t know Camby broke his finger/hand. So, here come the excuses: Yakhouba shot dreadfully, DerMarr wasn’t much better, the Nuggets missed 14 free-throws and missed 23 three-pointers. At least I was there, right? Thanks again, Matty for the memory and the lift downtown! Denver lost to Sac-town 101-96.

The Nuggets saw the dawn of a new era with about three minutes left in the first quarter. Allen Iverson played the remaining 39 minutes of the game, posting a double-double of 22 points, ten dimes, and two rebounds. Not bad numbers, but what I was watching for was his demeanor on the court. That demeanor tonight was one that was putting his teammates first, (he could have hoisted a lot more shots, and probably should have), and if Nene didn’t have his feet in wet concrete and Yak could have hit a three. He could have finished with about 15 assists on the night. Oh well, it was still a nice showing despite the loss.

Now this is where it gets ugly, Nuggets fans and I am sorry I have to do this. If you have small children near the screen I strongly urge you to shoo them away, or continuing reading this after they have left the room…

Yakhouba Diawara was absolutely regretful shooting the ball and finished the night 3-15 from the field and 0-7 from deep. You would have thought that he might have utilized a head fake and tried to attack the rim, but for some reason he just kept throwing brick, after brick, after brick. Much to my antagonization and dismay. I am a big fan of the Yak, but tonight he was a dredge that just wouldn’t stop digging this team into a hole!

Earl Boykins, despite being the team’s high-scorer, was also el stinko from trey-land. The Mightiest Micro was 2-7 from downtown, 8-23 overall, and finished with 25 points and nine assists. I mention these ugly numbers from beyond the arch because Sac-town was rooted in a zone, and until the Nugget proved they could hit the long ball, were not coming out of it for any reason. They were content letting the Nuggets shoot themselves out of this one, and that is exactly what they did. From the free-throw line, from down town, and overall this was one game that just needed a few more minutes of shoot-around prior to. Denver finished 36-97 from the field, 7-30 from three, and 17-31 from the charity stripe. Ouch!

Denver was also out rebounded (51-48), out passed (28-23), and out blocked (7-6). The loss drops Denver to 14-10 overall, and the good news out of all of this is Utah lost to Charlotte tonight 101-89. So, the Nuggets stay 3 ½ games behind the Jazz for the division lead.

The Nuggs were missing exactly 60 points in average scoring tonight when you total the missing components (Melo, Camby, and Smith) into account. This loss sucks, but what can you do? AI’s debut is a loss, but it’s still better than not having the Answer!

Nuggets vs. Kings Preview

(Boulder-CO) Aside from a playoff atmosphere, I don’t know if I have ever attended a basketball game that will have a more energized crowd than will be in the Pepsi Center tonight. With any luck, the Nuggets will have Allen Iverson in their starting line-up and a new era of Nuggets basketball will unfold. An era, that should be chalked full of wins for as long, and as soon, as Carmelo and the Answer are on the same team. Tonight, the Nuggets get to play host to the Sacramento Kings. Hopefully, they will not be so gracious and maybe even a touch stingy against Sac-town.

When you look at the Kings and how they have won their games, I think that it is not a matter of who is going to beat you, but more of how many of them are going to beat you. Their leading scorer is Kevin Martin, 22.1 ppg; however, the Kings also have four other players averaging in double digits that are easily capable of breaking twenty points on any given night. Mike Bibby, Ron Artest, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, and John Salmons are all dangerous despite a team record of 10-14 (3-7 on the road).

Taking this offensive perspective when scouting the Kings makes me believe that the Nuggets are going to need a solid team effort on their agenda to win. Sounds cliché right? No, what I am talking about is perimeter players hitting the glass with some fervor, a good scrape when the ball is in the post, and no easy cuts across the paint with out a strong chug or denial to keep the bunny looks at a minimum. If the Nugget can keep these defensive nuances fresh in their minds while offensively, with Iverson now in the mix, they should be ok against the Kings.

Marcus should, without a doubt, win the battle between he and Brad Miller and a solid effort in combination with the pumped up crowd and I predict the Nuggets should win. Not sure about the +/- for all you gamblers looking to fatten the holiday bill fold, but I think the Nuggets should get this one. The Kings are going to be off kilter due to flying in the day of a game and the air is electric in Mile High. I can’t wait to trek to Denver, GO NUGGETS!
Know thy enemy, Nuggets fans. Check out www.sactownroyalty.com.
UPDATE: Thanks for readers comments about Marcus Camby being a scratch for tonight's game against the Kings. Broken finger is the culprit.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Holiday Blizzard 2006



(Boulder-CO) The Holiday Blizzard of 2006 has come and went leaving most of Colorado scrambling in its wake. Here are a couple of pictures from around my place. About 24 inches of snow fell in total, but the wind kicked up pretty good and in some spots the snow drifts were as deep as my waist. It was pretty fun stuff!
The first picture shows a split-rail fence with the snow almost covering the second rail in the fence.
The second picture is my car with snow accumulating higher than its ground clearance and door openings!


Can History be a Crystal Ball?

(Boulder-CO) When all is said and done and the speculations about AI and Carmelo playing together make way for actual box scores and wins and losses. I think that we are all going to look back on this situation and smile. Some of us are going to be right in some respects, while many more are going to be wrong in others. What is interesting to me is how up to this point no one has mentioned the pairing of Walt Clyde Frazier, for our purposes ‘Melo, and Earl Monroe, Iverson, when trying to predict what will happen to this modern day pairing of All-Stars.

That is until now.

When I look back on the history of the NBA, no two pairings in my opinion are more similar than when Monroe bolted from Baltimore to New York to form one of the best back courts, arguably, in the game’s rich history. But is the story of Pearl and Clyde going to end with the same fairly tale conclusion as ‘Melo and the Answer? Time will tell the story on that, but when the numbers are scrutinized, and if history is any indication, I think that I might have ideas about what is going to transpire.

Please allow me to go out on a limb here (surprising, I know)…

When Monroe left Baltimore in 1971, he was averaging better than 23 points, nearly five assists, and three rebounds. Clyde was posting 23 points, coincidence for our purposes seeing as Anthony and Iverson are both averaging better than 31 points currently, nearly six assists, and almost seven rebounds. When the two were paired they formed a formidable duo. Much like our boys AI and Anthony. That 1971-72 season, the New York Knicks made it all the way to the NBA Finals before succumbing to Jerry West and the Lakers in five games.

NBA history had shown that when two players of equal prowess were paired in the middle of a season that based on talent alone, plus some other great players on that Knicks team-like the ones on the Nuggets, the Knicks were a better team than they were the year before. Monroe’s individual numbers dropped for the rest of his career, mainly because he was an individual superstar in Baltimore, but within the next calendar year he and Frazier would capture the NBA title!

Frazier’s numbers dipped for the remainder of the pairing too, but what needs to be taken from this post is that what was collectively accomplished on those New York Knick teams was much greater than what either man had accomplished individually. I expect Iverson’s individual numbers to drop slightly over the remainder of his career, but it will be the rise of his maturity and what he has learned from his previous defeat in the Finals that will take the Nuggets to the promise land. I also think that Carmelo’s scoring average will lower a touch too, and possibly give a guy like Gilbert Arenas or even Joe Johnson a shot at this year’s scoring title, but what should matter to the Nuggets is a post season improvement.

Is a championship going to materialize this year? Probably not. But if history likes to repeat itself… Next year could be the Nuggets year! Remembering the conflicting styles of Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Walt “Clyde” Frazier, and how both came together and put their individual personas aside and accomplished a feat that so few players throughout NBA history have accomplished. I think that the Nuggets have more than a sporting chance.

Also, for the record, I would like to point out that both Frazier and Monroe finished with near identical scoring averages for their careers. Clyde finished with an average of 18.9 points and Pearl finished with 18.8, respectively. Both men are in the Hall of Fame now, and are forever paired in hoops legend. Whether or not AI and Carmelo will conclude in a similar fashion is way too far in the future to ponder, but I like to compare history to the present. Could this be a similar pairing? Regardless of whatever happens; I will always have the memory of seeing Iverson’s first game as a Nugget.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

“Killer Duo”

(Boulder-CO) I just finished watching the ESPN Stephen A. Smith interview with Allen Iverson and I couldn’t be more juiced right now about Friday night. With any luck the Answer will get flown in tomorrow sometime after the snow stops, 20 inches and counting, and will be versed in the Denver Nuggets offense and out of bounds sets so he is quasi-ready for Friday night.

My take is that a guy with Allen Iverson’s resume will not need too long of a briefing, but rather just a play-book with a few helpful pointers. The rest will come with time and experience with his new teammates. I quote AI from his TV appearance with Stephen A when Smith asked him how he felt about playing with Carmelo Anthony. AI said, “We are killer duo.” Smith asked him to elaborate on that and Iverson replied with, “We are going to be hard to stop.” It was enough to make my blood pressure rise just thinking about being at the Pepsi Center for one of the greatest undersized players in the rich history of the NBA suiting up for the Nuggets.

Colorado has declared a state of emergency due to this wild snow storm. I will have some pictures up tomorrow of what could be the biggest blizzard I have ever lived through. Nearly 30 inches of snow fell when I was back in college in 2003, but the Christmas blizzard of 2006 is going to give it a good run for its money. If you are enduring this spectacle of Mother Nature with me I urge you to stay off the road, stay warm, and hang tight.

Big things are on the way!

Snowed Out!


(Frigid-Boulder-CO) The Denver Nuggets will have another back -to-back on the schedule this year because of a MASSIVE blizzard. Tonight's game will most likely be made up tomorrow night as neither the Nuggets or the Suns have a game scheduled.
I am in Boulder, and there is more than a foot already and the storm is not expected to stop producing snow until about noon tomorrow. Maybe Allen Iverson WILL play against the Suns on Thursday night, but if he doesn't... I will be at the game Friday night for his debut thanks to a very generous friend. Club level and AI. What else could I ask for as an early holiday gift? Needless to say, I got the first round!

The Numbers Game

(Boulder-CO) There has been a lot of speculation around the NBA Blogosphere as to what number Allen Iverson will be wearing when he suits it up for the Denver Nuggets. Well, after sleuthing around my contacts, probing the greatest minds that the NBA has ever known, and crunching numbers deep into the wee hours of the morning I think I have "The Answer" (sorry I couldn't help myself).
According to a source very close to the team, Allen Iverson will soon acquire his old number "3" from DerMarr Johnson. He may not start out wearing it, due to NBA paperwork and red tape needing to be handled, but it is the opinion of my inside source that he will end up lobbying and wearing his longtime number. The weather out side is frightful, Denver Nuggets fans. Let's hope that the blizzard that is upon us doesn't disable AI from making the game tonight. Does anyone know how long it takes to drive from Philly to Denver?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Wadayathink?

(Boulder-CO) Big thanks goes out to Jeff over at www.celticsblog.net and one of his readers who came through with the picture for me. I like it, wadayathink?

You Will be Missed


(Boulder-CO) As a long-time, die-hard fan of the Denver Nuggets, I feel that I am obligated to send Andre Miller off with a heart-felt message from The Nugg Doctor. He has been a pleasure to watch, a consumate professional, an iron man when it comes to consistency, and is going to be missed, while being remembered, by Nuggets fans.

Andre Miller is the epitome of a pass first point guard and one of the last of a dying breed. His mild mannerisms and soft spoken personality are not what our culture highlights, but he embodied everything associated with team concept. From his days being coached by Rick Majerus at the University of Utah, to leading the NBA in assists with the Cleveland Cavaliers, to his last gutsy performance as a Nugget, Andre Miller was, and is, one of my favorite players.

The Nuggets will sorely miss his alley-oop passing and his never tiring motor that was the energy propelling this team for the last three and a half years. The number 24 will always remind me of Andre Miller and his classy years with the Denver Nuggets. Andre, you will be missed and never forgotten by the fans in Denver. Best of luck to you in what ever the basketball Gods have in store for you, your family, and friends.

The NBA is a business, and in business, things have to change. The optimistic way to look at this is that hopefully things are going to change for the better for Andre Miller, and his career, as well as for the Denver Nuggets.

The Answer Coming to Denver!

(Boulder-CO) The Denver Nuggets and the Philadelphia 76ers have agreed, in principle, to a deal that will send Andre Miller, (a tear drops from my eye), and Joe Smith, plus the Nuggets two first round picks in the 2007 draft to the Sixers for Allen Iverson. Denver’s answer to losing one thirty-point scorer is to supplement their offense by acquiring the only other thirty-point scorer in the league. Allen Iverson. This type of action still needs the approval of the NBA, but that should be no sweat in receiving.

These are the guts of the story, but to read more, I encourage you to go check out Marc Stein and Chris Sheridans’ article further detailing the situation at this link right here:

Andre Miller was one of my favorite players and I will still hold a flame for him, but I am excited to have Allen Iverson in Denver. Now things really get a chance to get wild in the Mile High City! Are you ready for this, Denver?

Don’t Call, Just Text

(Boulder-CO) The Nuggets have reportedly hit the snooze button, at least for now, on the Iverson trade deal. Not that they aren’t still interested, but Ben Maller is reporting on his rumors and notes site in a quote taken from The Denver Post that the Nuggets are on a text-message basis with Billy King and the 76ers.

Here’s the quote, “But in the aftermath of suspensions three Nuggets received for fighting Saturday against New York, the NBA source said the Nuggets have been communicating with Philadelphia general manager Billy King only via text message. If anything serious comes up in regard to Iverson, the Nuggets are expected to receive a call.”

I hope the Nuggets have a QWERTY keypad because this sounds like the kind of thing we used to tell each other back in college when a keg party was potentially in the mix on a Saturday night. It was also usually accompanied by, “If you know any females, bring ‘em. We aren’t trying to have a sword fight over here!”

Here’s what my text message to Billy King would look like, “Sup, if you want to dish AI to us for some picks, Nene, and a reserve of your choice hit me up. Also, if you send him over here, pick up a 2-litre of Coke. Somebody brought over some JD, L8rs."

Monday, December 18, 2006

It’s All About Team Around Here

(Boulder-CO) I don’t think anyone had this type of collective effort for the Denver Nuggets in their game preview. The proverbial slack was picked up by anyone and everyone that had “Nuggets” across their chest. Some more than others, but still, it was a welcome W in what is going to be the defining 15-game stretch for this franchise as far as this season is concerned. Denver simply just had more magic than the Wizards and are the victors 117-108.

First on the docket of the honorably mentionable is the job that Yakhouba Diawara did on Agent Zero. The Yak received his first starting nod of the season and did not disappoint in his performance. He, with help of his teammates, held Arenas to 23 points on 10-30 from the field with no free-throw attempts. Arenas fell two short of what I felt was the magic number that the Nuggets needed to limit him to for success. Yakhouba played 40 minutes in tonight’s affairs.

The MVP of tonight’s win was Marcus Camby. The Nuggets veteran big man had an impressive stat line indeed. Camby came through with straight-up nasty numbers that included 25 points, 17 rebounds, seven blocks, and five assists! Andre Miller was also a live-wire tonight with 27 points, nine rebounds, five assists of his own, and two steals in what was a prime example of a veteran guard doing what it takes to get a win.

Off the bench, the majority of the scoring assistance came from the “Mightiest Micro” Earl Boykins. Earl finished with 29 points, going 14-15 from the free-throw line, and cleared an amazing seven rebounds while dishing six dimes. This was the Earl Boykins that can just annoy the opposition to tears while being deadly as a dart frog. Oh, boy. Oh, Boykins!

But the real story tonight is the collective effort by every single player that entered the game for the Nuggets. Denver put the Wizards in a hole by coming out firing on all cylinders and opening up a 36-16 advantage after the first quarter. What was nice was the way that they didn’t let up in the first half and were cruising 65-43 at the intermission.

After the Wizards came back in the third quarter, I knew that they were either going to make this nearly impossible for the Nuggets to win or that the Nuggets would respond and put their lead back near double digits in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter. Luckily for the Nuggets Nation the more favorable outcome become reality and the Nuggets gave the Wizards the L. It was a gutsy win all the way around and was the best case scenario considering all the distractions and short handedness of the situation. Denver now improves to 14-9 with their next four games in the friendly confines of the Pepsi Center. Next up is the Phoenix Suns who have won an incredible 14 games straight.

And now for all of you who have endured till the finale of this game recap a short, true, story about hanging out with Antawn Jamison. Way back in the late 90’s I was an attendee of the famous University of North Carolina Basketball camp for those still in high school. It so happened that ‘Tawn was one of the players at the time that was in charge of watching us frisky fellas staying in the University’s dorms, and on the particular night that this story occurs, was in charge of selling us pizzas in the hours after camp and before lights out. Well, one of the perks of being in charge of the dorms that night must have been all-you-can-eat pizza because in the time that it took a friend of mine and I to eat one medium pizza. Jamison made short work of one by himself and a dozen of wings in a matter of about ten minutes. It was one of the most impressive eating displays I have ever seen and something that I will not soon forget. I have the UNC warm-up shooting shirt signed by Jamison and a hilarious picture of your’s truly, with braces, shaking the hand of the one and only Dean Smith to prove it. Good night and good win.

Huh, What, There’s a Game Tonight?

(Boulder-CO) That’s right, Jabrones! The Nuggets, despite catastrophic distraction, are actually going to be in action again tonight, at home, against the Washington Wizards. Gilbert Arenas is coming off a red-hot 60 point performance last night against the Lakers and will need to be shut down (ok, contained) if the Nuggets are to have any shot without the combined Anthony/Smith average of 48.4 points.

It is going to be a very interesting box score regardless of who wins. Where the Nuggets are going to find the type of scoring they will be missing should be a complex problem to figure out. Is it going to be Yakhouba, Earl, or Linas who steps up and scores the basketball? Or are we possibly just a couple hours away from a monster performance from Reggie Evans? There is just no way of telling how this team is going to react.

Another note to this game will be the defensive effort of Yakhouba Diawara on Agent Zero. Honestly, I think that if the Yak, with help from his teammates, can keep Arenas under 25 they have a real chance of getting the dubya.

Not having Nene available is also going to force Marcus Camby to play a ton of minutes tonight. Reggie Evans, Eduardo Najera, and Linas Kleiza are all going to need to have solid games for the Nuggets to have any type of shot in this one.

Limiting the three-pronged attack of Jamison (Who I have a funny anecdote about), Arenas and Caron Butler will be the key to this game. I think that if you can keep them under 60 the Wizards as a team struggle. But, then again, Agent Zero had 60 by himself last night!

Nice Job Stern - Mission Incomplete

(Boulder-CO) First let me say that I agree with all the suspension lengths for all those involved and applaud Commissioner David Stern for his strong stance on this situation. The only problem is that he left out the biggest goon of them all. Isiah Thomas. Carmelo will serve his time and I believe that he is truly remorseful for his actions, but to let Thomas off the hook is the most despicable action, or lack there of, that could have been concluded after all the video was analyzed. There was, and is now, not a doubt in my mind that Isiah is a classless individual regardless of his accolades as a player or his involvement with this league. Don’t ask me to comment further. Imagine the worst tirade you could go on and then multiply it by ten fold to comprehend the way I feel about Thomas. One thing for sure is that he will NEVER be an installment of Historical Glimpses!

The suspension lengths are as follows:
-Denver Nuggets-

Carmelo Anthony: 15 games*- Return set for January 20, 2007 vs. Houston
J.R. Smith: 10 games- Return set for January 8, 2007 vs. Milwaukee
Nene: 1 game- Return set for December 20, 2006 vs. Phoenix
-New York Knicks-

Nate Robinson: 10 games- Return set for January 10, 2007 vs. Philadelphia
Mardy Collins: 6 games- Return set for December 31, 2006 vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Jared Jeffries: 4 games- Return set for December 27, 2006 vs. Detroit
Jerome James: 1 game- Return set for December 20, 2006 vs. Charlotte
Isiah Thomas: ZERO games!!

*Due to stipulations in the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, Anthony can attempt to get his suspension of games lessened through arbitration because it is longer than 12 games.

George Karl had this to offer in today’s article on http://www.espn.com/, “It was directed by Isiah,” he said during a shootaround. “I think his actions after the game were despicable. He made a bad situation worse. I'll swear on my children's life that I never thought about running up the score. I wanted to get a big win on the road” The rest of the article is viewable here: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2701228.
Both teams also recieved a fine of half a million dollars for the classless display.

Good grief, gentlemen. Once again, it boils down to what is accomplished after people come to fisticuffs. Nothing!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Final Thought Before Suspensions

(Boulder-CO) Ok, ok the whole thing was a shame and so on and so forth, so I am just going to give one more "Jerry Springer-esque" final thought and leave it alone. That thought is that this whole thing wouldn't have even happened had Isiah Thomas not suspectidly instructed for, in a Tony Soprano like manner, his players or his team to act like goons and not take their loss like dignified professionals. It doesn't matter how many points the Nuggets were up. George Karl and his staff are entitled to play whoever they want at whatever juncture of the game they wish. This is a team that needs to work on finishing games and I believe that the point of leaving some starters in was strickly for the development of this team and not to run up the score on the Knicks (who had come back to shorten leads drastically a couple of times might I add and only were behind by ten entering the fourth quarter). Here is a little known fact; Mardy Collins was a player at Temple when his coach at the time, John Chaney, called for one of his players to act like a hit-man and consequentially caused a serious injury to an opposing team's player. Evidently, he has not learned his lesson from that incident, but what is shocking to me is that a coach, and Hall of Fame Player, would be suspected of considering such actions be implemented on the hallowed hardwood. The whole thing, for both teams, reeks like a grade school teacher in the summer time... NO CLASS! Is it going to fade the NBA's appeal to men and women of all ages? The answer my friends is an emphatic no! However, what it does accomplish is showcasing how professional athletes are capable of not acting accordingly just like anybody else. When all the dust settles, we still have each other and we still have the NBA. A game that for all its improvised beauty can still display such ugliness.

The Aftermath Podcast

(Boulder-CO) David Stern is certainly a busy man today. The spectacle that was at the end of the Nuggets/Knicks game last night has also affected writers and sports personalities across the country and I am no different. Today, I sat down and had a very serious conversation with Ryan McNeill of www.hoopsaddict.com of which I am a contributing writer for (See Historical Glimpses). Our conversation is recorded and featured on his site. Here is the link: http://hoopsaddict.360thepitch.com/index.php?id=70. Still trying to make sense of a senseless situation and as soon as punishments are relinquished from the top, you can get them right here on The Nugg Doctor.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Unfortunate Video Evidence

(Boulder-CO) Here is the video of the unfortunate events last night in New York. Thanks for all your comments and questions.
UPDATE: Due to seeing what happened at http://celticsbandwagon.blogspot.com/2006/12/taking-copyright-seriously.html, I have taken down the youtube clip of the scrap between the Nuggets and the Knicks. The last thing I need is the NBA cracking its whip on The Nugg Doctor. So, if you haven't seen it yet (have you been under a rock?) go get it for yourself at www.youtube.com. Kinda crazy when you think about it! Especially after the league completely ignores the incident on its official page...

Feelings Harden at the Garden

(Boulder-CO) Well, what happened tonight was nothing short of plain stupidity by both teams, just in case you're going to try and get it twisted, and nothing shy of embarrassing. With one minute and change remaining J.R. Smith was out on a break-away when Mardy Collins put an excessively hard foul on the streaking Smith. It was around the neck, on the rise of J.R.'s jump, and at a completely moronic juncture of the game. Shame, shame Mardy, and might I also add tisk, tisk.

What followed made me just as angry as the initial incident. J.R. reacted, understandably, and gave Collins a piece of his mind, instead of just acting with class, and gets tangled up with Nate Robinson (another genius) who came in pushing and shoving J.R.. Robinson and Smith then go tumbling into media and spectators while both men were throwing punches and grappling! And before you knew it, a full-scale fiasco broke out with all ten players on the court at that time being ejected by Dick Bavetta and crew. It got real ugly, folks and hopefully the kids weren't watching. Nate Robinson, Mardy Collins, Jared Jeffries, David Lee, and Channing Frye were tossed for the Knicks and J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Andre Miller, Marcus Camby, and Eduardo Najera were ejected for the Nuggets. Kudos to Dick Bavetta for handling the situation with poise and a full sense of command. I agree with his decision to eject everyone for the altercation.

Tonight, a valuable lesson was learned for the Denver Nuggets. That lesson was that when everyone chips in, in one way or another, the Nuggets will win. No one Nugget dominated the ball, or the game, but it was actually quite a pleasant surprise to take, hold, and close out a lead regardless of its fashion. The Nuggets got a much needed victory to close out this five-game road trip 2-3. With tonight's 123-100 trumping, the Knicks are win 13 for the Nuggets overall.

Carmelo finished with a game-high 34 points and rounded out his stat line with seven rebounds and four assists. Andre Miller was also impressive with his twelve points and ten assists for a nice double-double. The chairman of the boards and the block party coordinator was Marcus Camby. The Nuggets big man swatted seven shots and cleared a team-high nine rebounds.

This was a good win for the Nuggets minus the fracas. They extended to an 82-56 lead in the third quarter by committing to the defensive end and disrupting the Knicks offense. Give the Knicks credit though because they did battle back valiantly until about six minutes remaining in the forth quarter. However at that point the Nuggets put a couple of buckets on the scoreboard and shut the door on the Knicks efforts.

And boy did I wish that it could have ended like that. Now both teams are going to have to sort out short rosters for the next couple of games due to suspensions and are going to be the topic of every sports high, or more applicable, LOW-light real for the week to come. This mess brought back memories of the most recent brawl at the Detroit Palace and the most infamous Kermit Washington and Rudy Tomjanovich incident in its scale of chaos. The whole floor was disgraced with players chasing each other and coaches and trainers trying to stop them. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

Two wrongs don't make a right and I am sorely disappointed in both teams for tonight's ugly display.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Thanks for Nothing

(Boulder-CO) Well Denver, I try to set you up with a chance to make me look good and what do you do? You go ahead and let the 8-13 Celtics tighten their belt and beat you for their fourth home win out of twelve attempts! Thanks for nothing guys, geez… The Celtics played well and really exposed what I feel could be a fundamental problem for the Nuggets in their 117-114 win.

Carmelo Anthony finished with a season-high 42 points, but there was too big a deficit going into halftime for the Nuggets to overcome. After a dreadful 17-point first quarter the Nuggets rallied the troops, but were still down 64-47 at the break. The Celtics shot 57% in the first half as the Nuggets played matador-esque defense.

The fundamental problem that jumps right out at me is the Nuggets are not executing defensively on the other team’s first offensive option. They allowed Paul Pierce to finish 11-17 from the field and 6-12 from downtown. After he earned ten free-throws, Pierce finished the game with 38 big ones. Denver has to limit the other team’s best player to at least his average if they are going to be successful. Tonight, they let Pierce score 11 more points than his average, thus indicating to me that the first bullet of defensive objective was missed.

In the second half, the Nuggets did up their intensity, but the damage was already done. The closest they could shorten the lead to was three before the Celtics put them to sleep. When all was finished only five Celtics were in the box score with points (Ok six, but Leon Powe only scored one) and Denver was bettered in the columns of both shooting percentages, free throw attempts and percentage, rebounds, and assists.

A bright spot was Andre Miller’s jump shot. Miller finished with 18 points and six assists on 9-17 shooting. Miller sunk a couple of nice jumpers down the stretch that caught me by surprise and I whimpered out a couple of cheers. What else do you want from me?

Denver is now 1-3 on this five game road trip. They can at least salvage a win against New York, can’t they?

Never Fear, the Doctor is Here!

(Boulder-CO) I had the opportunity today to talk to Mike from www.nuggetsnoise.blogspot.com. He is a relative newbie to the Nuggets Neighborhood, but by no means new to the game. He has worked in some impressive media environments and it was a pleasure to be interviewed by him. We talked about the pending Iverson situation, J.R. Smith, and some other really good topics so head on over there and give it a look. Denver is about to tip-off with the Celtics, so until after the game, that should keep all you Nuggets fanatics busy!

Is AI the Answer?

(Boulder-CO) Let me start off by saying "sorry" for this post. I know I said that I wouldn't give into AI trade temptations again, but if anything I’m reading and hearing in abundance has truth to it the Nuggets are probably going to engineer a deal that lands big-fish Allen Iverson. Maybe even as early as this afternoon, seeing how as today makes Nene tradable along with a couple of other Nuggets too. But is the Answer going to make all the Nuggets questions disappear?

I have been crazed over all the AI talk! So many rumors have been thrown around it is enough to make your head spin, and that is just for the writers whose teams aren’t even involved! So, hopefully you can understand why I have been reluctant, yet still opinionated and even a touch bipolar, to make too many outlandish statements. But now that the Nuggets seem to be on the brink of the deal, I have had to really think about what could be in the cards for Denver with AI. I hate to say it, especially after I wrote, “To me, it just doesn’t seem like a fire the Nuggets should be playing with”, but I kind of like the idea. With my own stipulations mind you…

My stipulations are simple. Leave Marcus Camby, Andre Miller, and J.R. Smith out of it and let’s make a deal. If the Nuggets can trade Nene and any one or pair of either Joe Smith, Eduardo Najera, Earl Boykins, or DerMarr Johnson and a draft pick they should go ahead and pull the trigger. With that cast of characters some how producing Allen Iverson, the Nuggets look formidable with a starting five of Andre Miller, Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby, Reggie Evans, and of course Carmelo Anthony.

Now we are talking about bringing the young gun J.R. Smith in for either guard at anytime because either starting guard can run the point or shooting guard position (Andre does it all the time when Earl runs the show). It could also be good for the budding talent because he would have an amazing mentor in one of the best scorers in NBA history around him showing him a thing or two. If J.R. can just be a sponge and realize that AI is only going to have another three, maybe four years, in the league there is an unbelievable opportunity for him to grow and to emerge as one of the top scorers in the league at the peak age of 25.

Now calculate that we have a Yakhouba Diawara and Linas Kleiza, who can both play the two or three position, and depending on who got dealt in the deal, Jamal Sampson plus one. That’s nine deep, Nuggets fans, and I like that a lot.

The situation would take a masterful job by George Karl of arranging the right starters with the appropriate reserves, but as you can see by my updated and hypothetical roster it could work. That is, IF Allen Iverson can live up to his moniker and is truly “The Answer” to what will take the Nuggets over the hump of being a good team-to a great team because as I see it right now… They are not yet ready to bang with the Western Conference’s big boys.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Where is the Defense, Denver?

(Boulder-CO) Obviously, no one delivered the memo to the Denver Nuggets that to win a game in the NBA a defensive commitment is needed. I usually never stop watching a game, but this was so absolutely atrocious that I had to switch the channel. Tonight’s game reminded me of the last pick-up game at the rec center. You know, the one where no one plays any defense and everyone is pulling circus shots trying to get oohs and awws out of each other. It was that bad, seriously!

Denver was sluggish out of the gate and once again let a team get nearly forty off the bat (39 to be exact) in the first quarter. It was blatantly apparent that they had no aspirations of playing defense and were going to try and out score the Wizards in an attempt to find victory. Tough sell because, as they proved tonight, the Wizards have the offensive capabilities of scoring with nearly anyone in the league.

The three-headed monster in Washington, Gilbert “Agent Zero” Arenas, Caron Butler, and Antawn Jamison, combined for 79 points and got help from Brendan Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson, and Jarvis Hays who all scored in double digits. Contrary to Washington’s six players in double figures; the Nuggets only had four players break the ten-point mark.

Carmelo Anthony had a game-high 37 points, but in my opinion needs to pass the rock a little more to get other Nuggets involved. Marcus Camby evidently agrees with me and made this statement after the game, “That's our coach's job. If he's (Carmelo) taking the majority of the shots, who else is there to shoot the ball? There's no shots to go around, so Coach has to do a great job of figuring that out. That's a tough situation that he's in.” Camby adds, “ Carmelo is a great scorer. We all know he's our go-to guy, but we have to spread the wealth around to keep guys happy.” Well said, Marcus and Amen.

Thankfully, I didn’t make a prediction about this game. I hate to pick against the Nuggets, but some how knew that tonight was going to be a rough one. The Nuggets were out shot from the field 50-40% and from beyond the arc by a grotesque 32-10%. They were also out rebounded, out assisted, out stolen, out blocked, turned the ball over more, and shot a worse percentage from the free-throw line. There was not a bright spot to be mentioned in tonight’s loss. I just do not know how else to say it. The box score is a total abomination if you are a Nuggets fan.

Oh, and by the way, the Nuggets lost 120-91. A day of rest and right back at it is the only good news. The Boston Celtics on Friday and a prescribed win is all the doctor has ordered. The only bright spot of tonight’s game was James Earl Jones reciting the National Anthem in a fashion that I thought was absolutely amazing. I love that guy!

Tootin' My Own Horn!

(Boulder-CO) Sometimes as an aspiring writer you have to toot your own horn and when I was looking at my refering links today I found an opportunity to do just that! The good folks over at www.USAToday.com have linked my article on the bipolar disorder I have with Allen Iverson potentially coming to Denver. The link is http://blogs.usatoday.com/sportsscope/. Not much, but hey, at least someone in the main stream is acknowleging what is going on around here.

Iverson-Who Gives a Damn-Rumors

(Boulder-CO) There are all types of conflicting rumors circulating right now concerning the Allen Iverson trade circus and it seems to be getting even more complicated. Last night during the half-time show on Altitude, Bill Hanzlik said something to the effect that the Nuggets probably will not have a chance of having AI end up in Denver.

But now this morning I open up my day to Ben Maller saying that the Nuggets are offering up Nene in a package deal for the future hall of fame player!

Maller reports, “One front-office type said some calls to his colleagues had led to a conclusion that Billy King's asking price for Allen Iverson was too high. For the fourth straight day, King was unavailable for comment. The Denver Nuggets, however, were still at least on the periphery of the talks. A source indicated last night that Denver was willing to part with center Nene as part of a package for Iverson and that George Karl had expressed no problems with coaching Iverson. Karl has dealt with high-wire acts many times in his career, having coached a young Gary Payton in Seattle and an old Anthony Mason in Milwaukee. The Nuggets would also be willing to deal injured forward Kenyon Martin, but the Sixers have no interest in the surgically susceptible forward. Martin is out for the year following a second microfracture knee surgery in November and still is due $59.75 million after this season.”

The same quote was also on www.hoopshype.com and allegedly was pulled from the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Denver post is also reporting, “The Nuggets are still running in the race for Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson, according to league sources.”

To shoot back to the east coast for a final opinion on all this madness, the Boston Herald states, “Denver with an offer said to include Nene, Eduardo Najera, and J.R. Smith, and the Clippers with a package that may or may not include the much coveted Shaun Livingston- reportedly jumped to the front of what has been characterized as a very frustrated pack.”

Here is the last opinion that I am going to offer until he gets traded; I do not want to see J.R. Smith or Andre Miller traded under any circumstances. If the Nuggets want to deal Nene, Najera, Linas, or Earl that is fine with me, but not ’Dre or J.R.! And honestly, it wouldn’t bother me if the Nuggets just dropped out of the AI race altogether. To me, it just doesn’t seem like a fire the Nuggets should be playing with.

Robbing the Nest


(Boulder-CO) The Nuggets made me sweat after my bold prediction, but found a way to tighten down the defensive points of emphasis and beat the Hawks 100-87. Don’t let the final score fool you. This game was tight for about 30 of the 48 minutes with the Nuggets trailing the entire first half.

In the first quarter alone, the Nuggets gave up eight uncontested lay-ups and found themselves down by seven, 29-22. Denver was down at half 54-43 as result of not playing sound defense. The Hawks extending their lead by going on an eleven to zero run before the buzzer sounded at the break. The game was driving me crazy until the Nuggets went on a 29-4 scoring run that lasted the better half of the third quarter and stretched into the fourth. No, it wasn’t an offensive explosion, but rather a defensive commitment that led to such a distancing. The Nuggets hunkered down and with the help of the not-so-hotlanta Hawks missing 17 straight field goal attempts blew the game wide open.

The nicest surprise of the game was the play of Earl Boykins. The “Mightiest Micro” regained some much needed confidence against the Hawks and pulled out one of his gutsiest performances that I have seen in quite sometime. He finished 8-11 from the field and scored 19 points with four assists. Earl needed to break out of a funk that had been following him around like Pig-pen’s dark cloud so far this season. It was nice to see to say the least!

Carmelo had a tough go of it. He finished with 26 points despite shooting a dismal 10-25 from the field. Reggie Evans and Marcus Camby shared the majority of the boards with Evans grabbing ten and Marcus snaring 17. And my last game shout out goes to the Yak. He played great on defense and added nine points, with two threes, and four rebounds.

I am glad that I am not a total jinx to this team! Earlier in the season it would have seemed that every time that I opened my mouth in prediction that it came back to slap me in the face, but hey, maybe this road trip is going to kind to me and, more importantly, the Nuggets. Next up is the Wizards in a game that was too close for me to make a definitive tarot card reading on. Sorry, my crystal ball is down right now! Tip is set for five o’clock here in Colorado so don’t be late! Nuggets vs. Wizards, what else could you want?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bipolar Disorder with Allen Iverson


(Boulder-CO) As I have continued to keep an eye on the Allen Iverson situation it seems as if the Nuggets just can’t resist keeping their name out of speculation. I feel that the Boston Celtics and Sacramento Kings are the front runners in the deal, but I still can’t refrain from thinking about “What if” the Nuggets some how landed the Answer? With that in mind, I have decided to play a short game of “Bipolar Disorder” with the possibilities that Iverson could bring with him to the Nuggets. Let’s begin, shall we?

The game goes like this: I am going to think about the five biggest advantages and disadvantages, in a bipolar-ish fashion, of having a player like Allen Iverson on the Nuggets.

Advantages

1. He plays even if he is hurt and you never have to question his heart!
2. He was my best overall player by analysis at the All-Star break last year.
3. He could take some pressure off Carmelo in the scoring department.
4. He is averaging better than two steals a night.
5. He loves to push the tempo of the game.
Disadvantages

1. He would clash with ‘Melo for leadership duties on this team!
2. Having AI and Boykins on the same team makes back court rebounding non-existent.
3. He hates to practice, making a collision with George Karl inevitable.
4. He blames others for lack of team success.
5. Not shooting so hot from downtown this year (A major concern for the Nuggets).

These are just the obvious pros and cons of the Nuggets making a move for Allen Iverson. The not so obvious reasons, or should I say contingencies, are who the Nuggets would have to give up to land such a fish. I am strongly against the trade of Andre Miller under any circumstances because ‘Dre is just as durable, is averaging better than nine assists, and is scoring about 15 points a game. Not to mention the number of minutes he plays and the fact that he is the motor that makes this team run.

Nene is a base player this year so that makes only half his salary trade eligible and I doubt that anyone, even the 76ers, want to take a chance on Kenyon Martin. That leaves the Nuggets in a position that if they were going to make a serious push for AI they would have to have a yard sale of young players to make the numbers work. Not wise in my assessment, but sometimes the “What if” factor is just too great to not pay attention to. Even if it means acting a little bipolar!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Buh-Bye Microfiber Composite


(Boulder-CO) After a slew of NBA big-names have griped, complained, been cut, and cried over the new official NBA basketball produced by Spalding the NBA is going to switch back to the old leather ball! Such a change is set to take place on New Year’s day, 2007. Talk about a situation where something wasn’t broken and didn’t need to fixed! Marc Stein reports further at http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2694335.

Somebody must feel like a real grade-A, certified moron after this debacle (Insert Spalding exec name here), but maybe the “New-Old” ball can find work somewhere else? I’m thinking soccer. Yeah, soccer.

Week Eight: East Coast Road Trip

(Boulder-CO) It’s week eight and the Nuggets are a respectable 11-7 so far. With any luck they can be 15-7 after having four games in five days this week because every team they will face is below .500. Tuesday they should enact revenge on the Hawks for their first embarrassing display before facing the Wizards on Wednesday. One day of rest and travel and right back at it with the struggling Celtics on Friday and then more revenge against the Knicks after a second game loss to New York that still haunts me. It should be a good week.

Denver is still pacing to win 50 games this year. Remember the breakdown? Just in case you don’t, here is goes again. If you divide the 82 game season into eight, ten-game stretches and win six out of every ten you finish with 48 wins with two games remaining for the even fifty. The Nuggets just need to win one more to be on pace and can even gain one on the system by winning two straight. So all things considered, and when you consider the losses the Nuggets have accumulated it’s pretty mind-blowing, everything is looking pretty good in Denver. No rest for the wicked though, because the Nuggets need to make up three games to take control of the Northwest Division from Utah and I think that this week is the perfect opportunity to do just that!

Tomorrow, the Nuggets should need no pep talk. The Hawks came into the Pepsi Center last week and stunned the Nuggets with a 37-point fourth quarter which snatched victory. Carmelo only scored 24 (only…), but should have something to prove as should the rest of the Nuggets. I’m known for my bold predictions and this seems to be the perfect opportunity to not shy away from one. The Nuggets will win against the Hawks. How’s that for believing in your team?

The back-to-back with Washington is going to be tough. I can’t wait to watch the Yak match-up with “Agent Zero”. The Wizards game is too close to call however, because of being the tail end of a back-to-back and you have to always consider travel time. The Nuggets will most likely not get into Washington until extremely late which makes it the scariest game on this road trip.

Fortunately, the next two games are not so tough to predict. I know that in today’s NBA anything can happen, but if the Nuggets do not beat the 6-13 Celtics I might have a breakdown… Let’s be real, folks. The Nuggets are a team with a lot more options on offense and as long as Paul Pierce doesn’t go off for fifty they should be victorious. Bold prediction number two is Nuggets over Boston. How’s that for going out on a limb?

And finally is the Nuggets rematch with the New York Knicks. There is not a second look at a team that beat the Nuggets so far this year that I have been looking forward to more! Jamal Crawford scored 20 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter and no series of events were bigger than when he blocked a Najera pass, recovered the steal, and dropped a devastating three ball in Denver’s face to win the game. I was sour for days after the loss because at that point the Nuggets were 0-3. But I say, “Forget the past altogether”, because here comes payback! Bold statement number three is Nuggets over Knicks. You wanna get nuts? ALRIGHT, let’s get NUTS!

I’m going out on limbs for all to see this time, but only because I have faith in this team. These are four very winnable games for the Nuggets and I think that this road trip couldn’t have come at a better time. When a team is on the road they rely on each other and build character. I feel that at this point the Nuggets are still doing a little bit of identity searching and this road trip is going to be good for them. I can feel it.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Bullied Like Kids on a Playground


(Boulder-CO) The Denver Nuggets scored a season low for points tonight and were bullied like freshman on the first day of high school to the tune of 105-90. The Dallas Mavericks came out of the blocks hot and opened up a 41 point quarter, their highest mark of the year to start any game, and never even looked back. This game proved to me that the inexperience and youth of the Nuggets is going to be a major obstacle to overcome.

Everyone wearing Nuggets across their chest tonight played timid and overwhelmed as the Mavericks put it on ‘em. ‘Melo and J.R. both finished with 18 points falling well below what was expected out of the NBA’s highest scoring duo. Marcus Camby was the only other Nugget of note scoring 13 points and grabbing eleven boards for the double-dub.

When the teams’ totals are tabulated, the Nuggets were out rebounded 51-41 and out passed 22-15 in the assist column. Andre Miller alone had 20 assists last night, so what the hell happened tonight?

I tell you what I think happened… The Nuggets faced a team tonight that has one thing over them at this juncture of the season and that one thing is CONFIDENCE. The Mavs came out and knew what they wanted to do and executed. Not only offensively, but defensively as well. They held ‘Melo to a minimum and forced the rest of the Nuggets to beat them and the task was too much for Denver. It could have been the little sisters of the poor suited up to take on Dallas, but the Mavs would have treated them no differently than the Nuggets. What we saw tonight was a poised, veteran team that has been to the NBA Finals before taking on a team that is still wet behind the ears.

The Nuggets are still in good shape luckily, and will have a chance to regroup and refocus for a little revenge on the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday night. One last side note on this game before I file it in the, “Never to be reminded of again” folder; this loss makes the Nuggets one for their last eighteen games in Dallas and let me tell you that the other two teams in Texas are no joke either…

I expect a tenacious effort on the bird and truly believe that the Nuggets will be victorious!

Rocky!

(Boulder-CO) The Denver Nuggets mascot is a moutain lion know as "Rocky". He is known for his over-the-shoulder, half-court shots at halftime and hilarioius antics during Nuggets games. Here is a picture I snagged of Rocky at the Pacer game about a week ago. Luckily, he wasn't doing the old cake-in-the-face bit!

Heat Get Frostbite in Denver


(Boulder-CO) The Miami Heat entered a frigid cold Denver, Colorado and left with frostbite after the Nuggets put the chill on Dwayne Wade in a blow-out. Denver showed resiliency after losing a mind blower to the Hawks and made easy work out of the NBA’s defending champions 123-107. The Nuggets were without Reggie Evans (flu), Joe Smith (ankle), and Marcus Camby (throat lozenges) in the win, but it was the rest of the Nuggets that stepped up.


First things first, Marcus Camby was part of a fiasco that broke out with two minutes remaining in the first quarter that finished with Andre Miller being teched and the Camby-man being thrown out. I have seen chairs being thrown onto the court ala Bobby Knight, television monitors tossed out on the wood ala Tim Hardaway (in a Denver uniform might I add), but never have I ever seen a player thrown out for knocking over a tub of cough drops that incidentally ended up on the floor. Anyways, I digress because I don’t think Marcus did it on purpose, but rather just knocked the drops with the swing of his arm on his way to the bench.


In the first quarter the game was paced at near breakneck speed and both teams scored more than thirty points after the debacle was sorted out. At this point the game was close, but it would be the last time that the Heat would be any threat to the Nuggets. J.R. Smith was getting ready to ignite in a fashion that was simply awe-inspiring to say the least.


In the second period, J.R. lit the scoreboard up at a dizzying pace. Smith hit five three-pointers in the quarter and added a jumper in the corner as he and the Nuggets scored 39 points! He hit seven threes in the half and tied a Nuggets franchise record for long balls in one half of play. The Nuggets went into halftime with an 18 point lead and were red-hot. Carmelo had 20 points in the first half and everyone was doing their part in shutting down the Heat.


In the third quarter, the Heat rallied to cut the lead down to eleven, but the Nuggets were just too smart to let them back into the game. Maybe this team is learning from its mistakes, but they tightened down the defensive screws and held off a surging NBA team and knew when to put the nail in the coffin. The fourth quarter was defensively stifling and the Heat comeback was deflated by the Nuggets only giving up 16 points in the last twelve minutes.


Yakhouba Diawara deserves some mention for his efforts defending Dwayne Wade. The Nuggets defensive specialist made life hard for Wade by drawing offensive fouls, denying him the ball, and contesting jump shots all night long. Wade did finish with 21 points and 14 assists, but the 21 is well below his average and the assists indicate that he and the Nuggets made other people try and beat them. This was exactly what I prescribed in my preview of the game and it proved to be sound advice. Props to the Yak, and the rest of the Nuggets, for doing a solid job on one of the most dangerous offensive threats in the league. Yakhouba finished with five points, two assists, two steals, and four rebounds.


It would be hard to not give the offensive player of the game to J.R. Smith, but if there was close runner-up it would have to be Andre Miller. ‘Dre tied Steve Nash’s league season-high assist total of 20 in the game by dishing early and often. Miller finished with five points, five rebounds, two blocks, and the 20 dimes! He was simply amazing distributing the ball to all the Nuggets offensive weapons.


And what would a Nuggets game recap be without a peek at what the NBA’s leading scorer’s final stat line? Carmelo Anthony quietly had 32 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and a blocked shot in 34 minutes of action. I like how ‘Melo can still be a dominant force even if he is not the star of the game because it shows how effective he can be sometimes without all the lime. He also moved into the 11th All-Time franchise scoring position by passing Reggie Williams.


J.R. Smith on the other hand was the game’s high scorer. Smith finished the contest with 37 points (a career high) on 12-18 from the field, including 7-9 from downtown, four rebounds, and an assist. The dynamic duo combined for 69 total points and continues to leave teams scorched by their offensive combination. What is nice to see is that the two love playing with each other. When J.R. was soaking wet in the second quarter, ‘Melo was the biggest cheerleader on the bench. And when it was time for the alley-oops-upside-your-head in the second half, Anthony threw the lob and J.R. slammed it home!


There is no time to rest on this great victory because the Nuggets face-off with the dangerous Dallas Mavericks in a match-up with two of the Western Conference’s heavy weights tonight at 8:30. The Nuggets are 11-6 on the year, while Dallas despite starting slow has been streaking wins together as of late. Get your cowboy hat ready. The Nuggets are in the lone star state tonight.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Welcome NuggetsNoise to the Blogroll

(Boulder-CO) I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Mike from www.nuggetsnoise.blogspot.com to the NBA Blogosphere and more importantly the Nuggets neighborhood. He is another resource for all of us fans and fanatics and keeps his blog fresh with news and interviews. Check him out!

Denver vs. Miami Preview

(Boulder-CO) After all the Iverson rumors have been read and either kept as valuable or thrown into the garbage, here is a short and sweet preview for tonight’s match-up with the Heat. The Miami Heat are on the tail end of back-to-back road games and should be tuckered out after it took overtime for them to win against Sacramento last night. They probably didn’t get into Denver until late and to sleep until even later. A well-rested Denver should take advantage with a hot start in the first quarter.

The Nuggets need to score at a frenzied pace to erase the Hawks debacle from their memory and I could easily see ‘Melo exploding for 40 tonight. The Shaq-less Heat are easy to figure out; you stop Dwayne Wade and you win. Let him run wild and anything can happen because the guy is just that good. I say sic’ the Yak on him and help on penetration. The late start should also be in the Nuggets favor as it will be near or possibly later than one o’clock in the morning out east when this game is finished. Let’s go Denver, bounce back time!

Sound the Alarm: Nuggets Shopping for AI!

(Boulder-CO) Hold onto your hats, Nuggets fans. Denver might be in the hunt for Allen Iverson, and this time it looks like he is getting out of Philly for real! Reports are flying off hoops writers’ keyboards so fast that I wouldn’t be surprised if AI already has his bags packed.

In today’s New York Post, Peter Vescey reports that, and I quote, “According to two agents whose clients play for the 76ers, Iverson went to team president Billy King this past Tuesday and demanded to be traded, something he professed repeatedly over the years he'd never do.”

Vescey adds, “According to two general managers King contacted yesterday, the 76ers are aggressively attempting to accommodate their forlorn franchise player, whose prohibitive salary (currently $17.1 million with $19M and $20.8M remaining) makes him a difficult sell despite a 31-point average - at least if the Sixers hope to harvest relatively equal value.”

Things continue to disintegrate further in the article when an undisclosed 76er’s player told his agent, “Iverson, indeed, gave up (talking about the last loss). “ If you know your leader doesn't care, how are we supposed to play with the guy?”

Finally, and most important to Nuggets fans, when all the Iverson-Cheeks mud was finished being thrown, the Nuggets were one of the teams mentioned as in the hunt for AI.

Vescey writes, “Denver's George Karl expressed interest at one point last season. Andre Miller, Linas Kleiza and Joe Smith might pique the 76ers' interest.” Let’s sure hope so because with Andre Miller potentially traded. The Nuggets would have to replace him and his near fifteen points and nine assists with some one of Allen Iverson’s caliber. Andre has been playing fantastic as of late and even though he missed the game winner against the Hawks. That game’s loss was not directly his fault. All the Nuggets should have a bad taste in their mouths after that one.

What is also exciting for Nuggets fans about all the Iverson hoopla is stemming from Mark Kiszla’s article in today’s Denver Post. Kiszla’s second sentence is, “What's the answer (referring to the way that Carmelo Anthony reacted after the Hawks loss and not getting the final shot)? Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers.

And what follows had my jaw swinging in the air! Kiszla writes, “Iverson is back on the trade block, according to a league source, who said the Nuggets are among the teams that have been contacted to measure interest in the 31-year-old point guard.”

The rest of the article chronicles the turbulent ups and downs of the previous Iverson/Denver trade struggles and points out that an injured Nene isn’t helping the situaton, but doesn’t rule out that the trade could go down. Some how, some way…

Kiszla also reports that Carmelo Anthony is not only an Iverson fan, but seems to have a kinderd understanding of where the 31-year old, former MVP and scoring champion, is coming from. Carmelo is quoted in Kiszla’s article saying, “I love playing with A.I.,” said Anthony, teammate to Iverson at the 2004 Summer Olympics. “I'm comfortable with him, because I come from where he came from.”

The rest of the article is a great read, and I encourage you to read it, but the question on my mind is if there is a way to land Iverson. Are the Nuggets willing to do what I takes to make it happen? They have two first round picks in the “loaded” 2007 draft, and the aforementioned names of tradable players, but is the money too much for the Nuggets to swing without including Nene will be the question that needs to be answered. Nearly 60 million bucks over six years is what the Brazilian big man is set to make, and without shipping off that kind of financial burden, I do not see how it could work.
I’m sure the 76ers would love to have a player like Andre Miller in their fold, but sometimes the NBA isn’t about player-for-player trades. The numbers have to work first, before names even matter. I would miss Nene and what he could potential bring to the game of the Nuggets, but this would be a chance of a lifetime to pair AI with ‘Melo. In my assessment, such a deal, any deal, would turn this Nuggets team from a strong contender to make it out of first round into a team that could compete for a championship. I’m rooting, hoping, and praying that this could happen, but I am not going to get too excited. Remember Nuggets fans; we have been down this road before.

The articles that I referenced are readable by clicking the following links. Both are tremendous reads and I suggest you give a glance.

Peter Vescey’s article in the New York Post here

Mark Kiszla’s article in the Denver Post: http://test.denverpost.com/sports/ci_4800661