Friday, November 30, 2007

Nuggets Quote of the Week


(Boulder-CO) I think this one from long-time reader, Stumbleweed sums up what the vast majority of us are all thinking.

"My tolerance level has peaked... "-Stumbleweed

Go Nuggets!

Nuggets vs. Clippers: Game 17 Preview

(Boulder-CO) Just play like a team for once! There is no other prescription or deep analysis that needs to be said. Use your teammate's' strengths while compensating for their weaknesses and find a way to win against the Clippers. Oh, and like Stumbleweed said, "He (Anthony Carter) hustles well and has been shooting and finishing capably, but if he doesn't have control of the team, just put AI back in at PG and start LK or JR, because at least the younger guys seem to listen to AI."
Go Nuggets!

We’ve Got Serious Problems

(Boulder-CO) The Denver Nuggets were completely humiliated tonight at the Staples Center, 127-99. There’s no sugar coating a loss like this because Denver is a team in a rapidly accelerating downward spiral that is the direct result of some very serious problems.

The first half was cruising along nicely until the Nuggets completely abandoned the defensive intensity that at one point had them up by as many as 17. From there all their transition offense dried up, the ball stopped being shared in half court sets, and the assists all but ceased as all the Nuggets problems were seemingly put under the national microscope that is the NBA on TNT. And those problems, in no particular order, are no structured offense, no clear-cut on floor leadership, a coach that seemingly doesn’t coach, obvious selfish individual agendas, no consistent bench rotation, and an apparent lack of trust between teammates. Furthermore, I’m so disgusted right now with the kind of basketball the Nuggets are playing that I’m going to go into extreme detail of each and every pitiful aspect I just mentioned.

Right off the bat I have to question if the Nugget even have any offensive sets. It seems like every damn time they come down the floor they either watch AI dribble out the majority of the shot clock before taking some off-balance shot attempt or they pass the ball to Carmelo on the wing before complete inertia sets in as they gawk at Anthony. Seriously, I started counting the number of times one of the aforementioned two scenarios played out in the first half and into the second, and was asked to stop by the other people I was watching the game with because around the 15th time down the floor they felt I was jinxing it. The Nuggets don’t even seem to run a basic pick and roll that you can find at any local high school game with regularity at this point and that segways perfectly into my next point.

The Nuggets have absolutely no on-floor leadership.

Anthony Carter is such a far cry from the kind of floor general this team needs it’s comical. In fact, it’s so funny that he might as well have the last name “Dangerfield” on the back of his uniform because he gets absolutely no respect. Most times he might as well just bring the ball up to half court and then take a seat because the other Nuggets don’t listen or react to anything he says or does. It’s just thank you very much for dribbling the first 40 feet of the hardwood for us and now it’s time for you to get out of the way! Oh no, we don’t need you to set a pick or, God forbid, set up a play for us, but maybe you could go wake George Karl up as we blow this lead and while you’re over there see if Von Wafer is thirsty. Plus, this way you’ll already be back on the defensive end of the floor when the opposition gets the rebound and starts running it down our throats while we cry, complain, and pout to the officiating crew.

Honestly, I know I’m not the only one watching these games with a surround sound system and if I have to hear Carmelo yell out, “Ohhhhh” one more time as he blows a lay-up expecting a call from the refs I’m going to be sicker than I was this whole last week.

The next aspect of this team that is enraging me right now is how George Karl never gets up off the bench. Just once I would like to see Karl get up and throw a clipboard or something to prove to me that he actually is an active part of the game and this team. He never works the officiating crew, never directly calls out an offensive or defensive command, and never serves as the eyes in the back of his players’ heads on defense (a trait that the once fiery Doug Moe and, more recently, Avery Johnson are famous for). And without a floor general, Karl’s laissez faire style leaves the Nuggets like a small ship without an engine in the middle of the artic ocean as the storm of the century is barreling down on them with each crashing wave of their opposition’s will power being slammed into their port and starboard sides.

Moving right along, we come to an even more aggravating trend that I’m starting to see more and more of. It seems to me that there are players on this team that have blatant selfish individual agendas. I’m going to use AI as an example, but by no means is he the only one that is guilty. At least three separate times on fast break opportunities AI had a clear passing lane that would have resulted in a for sure basket, but instead he tried to do it all himself and failed to deliver. A couple of times he did get to the free-throw line, but in some kind of sick and twisted NBA version of Murphy’s law he would miss one of the free-throws as a subtle reminder that the correct play wasn’t made. Now I’m sure that there are a million excuses as to why he, and others, didn’t make the obvious fundamental play at the obviously fundamental instance, but none of them are going to satisfy me or provide any justice to the continuously disappointing results the Nuggets are producing in their last five games of which they have lost four of. Additionally, tonight the Nuggets only finished with 18 assists, and if that doesn’t illustrate my point that guys are playing selfishly I just don’t know how else to paint a clearer picture for you. Oh wait, on second thought, yes I do! The other night against the Rockets the Nuggets only recorded eight assists! Do you need any more proof or is that tasty pudding enough for you?

Next on the laundry list of problems the Nuggets are going through right now is absolutely no solid bench rotation or contribution. Sometimes J.R. Smith is the first off the pine, while other times it is Linas Kleiza or Eduardo Najera. Believe it or not, we are now almost a quarter of the way through the season and there is still no solid rotation of reserves which translates into no established and reliable minutes for the sixth, seventh, and eighth man on the roster; meaning unclear roles for all of the aforementioned. In tonight’s game, the Lakers bench badly out produced the Nuggets reserves, 63-37, and to compound things related to this team’s obvious lack of chemistry even further, the Nuggets are going to have an even bigger playing time quagmire to figure out when guys like Nene, Chucky Atkins, and Steven Hunter are once again available to play!

Then you add in the fact that the Nuggets have only won one game against a team with a winning record and that Carmelo was ejected in the third quarter when he tried to put a frustration fueled choke hold on Sasha Vujacic and I hope you can resonate with some of my sentiments. Hopefully, ‘Melo will not face further punishment for this latest episode because with the way Denver is playing right now I don’t even want to think about what could be a very grim reality against the Clippers tomorrow night at home.

Good grief and good night, Nuggets Nation!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

About.com's Divisional Reports

(Boulder-CO) I was on the bench for this week's About.com's Divisional Reports, but that doesn't mean that the team didn't assemble for quite possibly the most informative one-stop-shop for all of your NBA needs. Here are the Eastern and Western conference reports. A million thanks to the guys for pulling together without me!

Juicy Nuggets You Might Have Missed

(Boulder-CO) While I was not able to keep things up to date around here there were a couple of nuggets of note you might have missed. Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t, but it is my job to make sure that your Nuggets IQ is not deficient due to my negligence. So, here is a post (actually, more of a link dump than anything else) that gets everyone, including myself, caught up to speed.

-Kenyon Martin is going to be ok after scaring the bejesus out of all of us with what looked like yet another knee injury.

-The Nuggets signed Jelani McCoy to an undisclosed contract. Somewhere Chris Webber must be thinking that his days in the NBA have past him by.

-Veteran guard Mike Wilks was waived after averaging three points and a rebound and a half in eight games with the Nuggets. I think Wilks can help someone else in the NBA after showcasing his abilities for a brief stint with the Nuggets.

-Denver has added Stacey “The Plastic Man” Augmon to their coaching staff in a small but meaningful player development role. Maybe he can help this team get consistent on the defensive end too.

-Without a serious Houston Rockets blog to link to I am forced to just provide this box score from the Nuggets worst game so far this season. Seriously, only 13 points in the first quarter and a dismal eight assists for the entire game? You’ve got to be kidding me!

-As always, Indy Cornrows did a great job of breaking down the most recent Nuggets loss to the Pacers. Somehow, I just knew J.R. wasn’t going to make all three of those damn free-throws, but he did give one hell of an effort to even get the Nuggets as close as they did come to winning that sickening game.

Now, I think all of the above right about catches me up to speed with where the Nuggets are currently. If there is something that I’ve forgotten, you would like to add, or just anything at all pertaining to the Nuggets that has been left out get at me in the comments section. Otherwise, just getting all of this out of my system has helped me feel a lot better!

Go Nuggets!

Carmelo Anthony M4 Commercial

(Boulder-CO) It's that time of year again and Carmelo Anthony has a new hoops sneaker coming out soon. I personally like the new shoe's aesthetics, but will have to wait and get one on one of these size 11's to see if they are going to be the first pair of 'Melo's that I will be donning on the hardwood. Check out the new commercial and leave your impressions in the comments section.



Nuggets vs. Lakers: Game 16 Preview

(Boulder-CO) Since winning six straight games by an average of over 20 points per, the Nuggets have lost three of their last four contests and have been sputtering offensively. In fact, Denver has not had a 30+ point scorer in any of their last three losses which is very uncommon for the offensively high-octane Nuggets.

Furthermore, the Nuggets are once again bitten by the injury bug and the excuses just seem to keep mounting. Kenyon Martin was once again sidelined with a bone bruise on his right knee, Linas Kleiza was out for a few games with a twisted left ankle, Chucky Atkins is still not available with a groin pull, Nene is on the shelf with a ligament injury in his thumb, and Marcus Camby was not 100% for Tuesday’s game against the Pacers with a touch of the flu.

All of these unfortunate miscues, and poor team cohesiveness, are why the Nuggets are now 9-6. But do the Lakers care? No, and do I see them as the true root of the problem? Once again the answer is no.

What I see as the true root of the Nuggets problem is their on-again, off-again intensity on the defensive end. Against the Pacers, the Nuggets surrendered 20 points in just the first 5:49 of the first quarter before getting the defense squared away. One could chalk this up to just a hot start by Indiana, but the defense was once again non-existent to start the second half when the Nuggets got blasted with an eight to nothing scoring run. Need some more proof? Against the Rockets, the Nuggets did a little bit better, but still gave up twenty points in just the first seven minutes of the game. More and more of these defensive lapses are in box scores from the last four games, but the point is they are taking their toll on the Nuggets and what bothers me more than anything is how long it takes George Karl to call timeout and rally the troops.

Whether Denver is up by ten or getting shellacked by twenty, George Karl just seems to sit there. Granted, he isn’t playing with a full deck of cards right now, but still, when your team is running a lay-up drill it is of my opinion that you have to call timeout and make some adjustments. Whether they be personnel changes or just flat out getting in players’ faces. Too many times the Nuggets are without a vocal leader, and without a true point guard, the onus of blame falls directly on Karl.

Now back to the Lakers.

Los Angeles is a team that has had its own share of problems. Whether it’s Kobe wanting or not wanting to be traded, injuries, or just not showing up for certain games the Lakers are playing the same guessing game as the Nuggets as to what teams is going to show up. Both teams are scoring an average of 105 points a game and giving up nearly an identical even 100. As for a prediction… I think the Nuggets are going to pull this one out by a slim margin, let’s just call it five, because I just don’t think they can play much worse offensively than they have been. Carmelo is due for a big night. And if Denver can tighten a few things down on the defensive end of the ship the assist total will swell and the Nuggets box score will look more like a complete game. But make no mistake… Denver needs a vocal leader, and waiting around for one to surface either on or off the court is going to continue to plague this team for as long as the problem isn’t addressed.
Go Nuggets!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Update!

(Boulder-CO) All of you who read this page everyday deserve to know why the sudden stop in Nuggets coverage. The reason why I have not been able to update The Nugg Doctor is because I fell very, very ill on Saturday. It started as flu-like symptoms, but then got much worse. I literally went all but blind for a few days with a headache so intense that it prompted me to get a C.A.T. scan today. Thankfully, the results were negative, but I am still battling what my doctor is calling very intense migraines.
I have watched bits and pieces of the last two Nuggets games, but will not be posting anything until tomorrow when, hopefully, things will get back to normal with a game preview, recap, and a post that catches up with everything that has transpired since my sudden decline in health.
I thank all of you who have emailed, commented, and/or otherwise expressed your concern for my whereabouts. We are all part of the Nuggets Nation! Once again, thank you.
Go Nuggets!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Nuggets vs. Rockets: Game 14 Preview

(Boulder-CO) Tonight’s game against the Rockets serves as a real measuring stick for where this 9-4 Nuggets team is at. We have seen some really great efforts against some mediocre clubs resulting in big wins, some really poor efforts against teams with serious problems for losses, and some mediocre efforts that barely got the Nuggets out of some potentially embarrassing defeats. Let’s face it, Nuggets Nation; this is a team that once again falls into that enigmatic category because there is still just so much about them that falls into the unknown.

The Rockets, on the other hand, are also a team that can be filed into that enigmatic category. They seemingly would be one of the toughest teams in the stacked Western Conference with guys like Yao, Tracy McGrady, and the defensive minded Shane Battier, but so far are a disappointing 6-7 overall and are currently on a six-game losing streak. When asked about the Rockets recent slide Tracy McGrady said, “It's an execution problem we're having right now closing out games. Whether it's defensive execution or offense ... we're just doing a bad job of executing.” Which sounds strikingly similar to what the Nuggets are experiencing minus the losing record.

In tonight’s game the deciding factor will be which team comes out with the most energy. Both teams played last night and had to travel to Houston for tonight’s game taking away any sort of major home court advantage Houston may have had. The Rockets lost last night to the Heat in Miami, 98-91. The Nuggets won, albeit barely, at home against the Timberwolves, 99-93. I expect both teams to come out tired from having to travel late into last night , but the team that summons the most energy from their bench is going to be the victor.

Houston won two of three games against Denver last season, but the Nuggets won the lone game in Houston as Iverson totaled 36 points and 10 assists.

I apologize for the short preview, but I am not feeling well today and need to get some rest. Hopefully, I’ll be back later tonight with a lengthy game recap, but if I don’t feel much better a closer look at tonight’s game will be up on Sunday morning. Does there happen to be a doctor in the house?

Go Nuggets!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Just Barely Better than the Worst

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
(Boulder-CO) The Nuggets should be very thankful for this win. They didn’t play with very much heart, were out dueled in most of the cumulative box score, and if it weren’t for the game being against the struggling Timberwolves, (no offense to anyone personally), I don’t even think they would have ever been in a position to steal this win. However, despite playing a terrible game and losing the stats battle, the Nuggets were playing the Timberwolves and more importantly did win, 99-93. Which, ehh hmm, is exactly what I told you they would win by! Thank you, thank you no applause needed.

To say that the first half was miserable would be an understatement. The Nuggets once again came out lethargic on defense and were allowing a smorgasbord of lay-ups and wide-open shots. Over and over again I found myself asking why do they come out in these funks where nobody seems to be playing very hard. There were guys lollygag around the perimeter, getting beat to loose balls, they didn’t collapse on penetration to the rim a few times, and the overall effort just stunk. And because of the uninspired half, the Nuggets went into the break down by five.

Something had to give. Someone needed to say something. Somewhere there needed to be a spark.

Thankfully, the Nuggets did come out with a different attitude in the second half and their changes were most notable on the defensive end. After surrendering, (and I use that word is truest definition), 56 points in the first half, the Nuggets clamped down on the Timberwolves in the second and only allowed 37 Minnesota points to be scored. And although both teams shot below 40% from the field in this game’s ugly conclusion, it was the Nuggets 87.8% from the free-throw line that saved them. Led by Carmelo’s perfect 11-11 from the stripe, only Allen Iverson (9-11) and Kenyon Martin (8-10) missed more than one free-throw a piece. Otherwise, the Nuggets were out-rebounded badly on the offensive glass 13-6, out passed 25-21, out robbed 10-8, and out shot from the three-point arch 10-24 to 3-14.

Offensively, there wasn’t a whole lot to be proud of, but since this was a Nuggets win I’ll mention Carmelo’s 31 points and seven rebounds, Marcus Camby’s ten points and 18 boards, and Kenyon Martin’s 18 points and six boards. I’ll also mention that no rebound was more important than the offensive board Marcus pulled with 47 seconds left in the game which was promptly thrown right back into the goal without him even touching the ground. It was the defining moment of the game and capped off an otherwise lack luster performance.

My last Nugget of note is Anthony Carter made his return from a broken hand suffered during training camp with nine points, three assists, two rebounds, two steals, and a block in 22 minutes of action.

Go Nuggets!

Nuggets vs. Timberwolves: Game 13 Preview

(Boulder-CO) Most people use black Friday to gain a head start on the holiday shopping rush. The Denver Nuggets need to use it to start another win streak at the price of the NBA’s worst team. The Timberwolves are 1-8 so far this year and have lost their last three games in a row. Talk about a NBA bargain!

For the Nuggets to win tonight they are going to have to refocus on defense. After watching the Clipper debacle, it has never been more clear to me that when the Nuggets take care of business on the defensive end they are nearly impossible to beat. Why you might ask? Well, with the league's leading rebounder and guys like Kenyon and Eduardo the Nuggets can get out and fast break on good defensive stands and from there the offense begins. Off of fast break opportunities lay-ups and dunks are the results and the confidence level of this team rises exponentially. Guys get a chance to run and excite the crowd (even if it’s the other team’s fans), the assists get doled out, and the other team usually gets discombobulated when trying play at the Nuggets break-neck speed.

With all that being said, I don’t think there is a single Nugget that this ideal applies to more than Carmelo Anthony. ‘Melo arguably had his worst game of the season against the Clippers and it was directly attributed to all the one-pass jump shots he hoisted. Carmelo is a confidence scorer. He needs to see the ball going through the net a few times before he can really get into a rhythm. Most of the time he can do this with his jump shot, but in games like the one in Los Angeles on Wednesday the ball didn’t want to fall early and it disrupted Anthony’s game. Tonight, I would like to see him get down on the low block to get himself started with some power moves to the basket. Once he establishes that aspect of his game and gets himself off the schnied, then that will open up his mid-range game that we all know can be lethal. Plus, Carmelo has been showing us that he may just be the most creative passer on the team. If the Nuggets can get the fast break started early with ‘Melo flipping some dimes to his teammates the entire morale of this team will benefit.

Trust me.

I don’t think that the state of things after the ugly loss to the Clip-show are bad enough for me to start predicting any losses, and I’m especially not going to start thinking pessimistic with tonight’s game against the Timberwolves at home. My prediction is Denver by six.

Go Nuggets!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

About.com Western Conference Report


(Boulder-CO) Eat it up, you turkeys! It's been another week in the NBA and there will be a pop quiz on Monday. Aren't you glad I helped with this week's cheat sheet?

Happy Thanksgiving Nuggets Nation

"You're going to do what to me!?!?!?!?"

Clipped by the Clippers

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
(Boulder-CO) The Denver Nuggets needed some kind of boost against the Clippers because their six-game winning streak was not enough momentum to get them over the hump. Bad shooting, poor ball movement, uninspired defense, a lil’ home cookin’ from the officiating crew, and no transition offense at all added up to a, 101-90, loss to an injury stricken Clippers team that just wanted this game a whole lot more then the Nuggets.

The Nuggets couldn’t throw it in the ocean if they were already knee deep in the breakers. As a team, they shot 39.1% from the field, and to no surprise with that kind of percentage, only combined for 16 assists. Allen Iverson was about the only Nugget bright spot offensively and finished with a game-high 29 points, nine assists, five rebounds, and three steals. If he could have only limited his turnovers (8) it would have been a masterful performance, but nevertheless, it’s not like he got much support. The Nugget bench only combined for 19 points on 7-23 from the field. Starters Kenyon Martin, and Yakhouba Diawara were a combined 0-7, and usual bench sparkplug Linas Kleiza was 0-4. Even the ‘Melo man himself struggled to get into a rhythm (mainly because he settled for way too many jump shots of the first pass and long three attempts), despite finishing with 24 points on 8-23 from the field.

But the defense was really where the root of the problems were concentrated.

The Nuggets were out rebounded 50-40, the Clippers got way too many open looks and lay-ups, nobody got the message that Tim Thomas was a three-point shooter, and Chris Kaman absolutely ate Denver alive. As a team, Los Angeles shot a blistering 53% (8-15) from three-point range and had five players score in double digits. Led by Chris Kaman’s seemingly tireless efforts, and 17 points and 21 rebounds, the Clippers just passed the ball around until the Nuggets would fall asleep defensively and give them a great opportunity to score. And I would bet that if the NBA kept track of time of possession, it would have shown that the Nuggets were badly manipulated into a Clipper-favorable style of basketball. Los Angeles slowed the ball down and kept the Nuggets from fast breaking with their high percentage shooting. Limiting the game to just eleven transition points of which the Clippers had eight of.

Up next for the Nuggets is a day of turkey and stuffing before having a chance to get back on the right track against the struggling Timberwolves on Friday night at home. Here’s to hoping that the Nuggets don’t come out with any hangovers from the tryptophan.

Go Nuggets!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

New Kid on the Block

(Boulder-CO) I have just had the pleasure of meeting the very funny Luke over at The Chris Andersen Files. He is the newest kid on the Nuggets blogging block and is actually quite humorous. Also, can anyone think of a player previous to or since Chris Andersen that has had or continues to have the same kind of cult following as the one they called, "Birdman"? Let me know what you think in the comments section and then go check Luke out!

Nuggets vs. Clippers: Game 12 Preview

(Boulder-CO) Are we having any fun yet? The Nuggets completed their most recent four-game home stand by blowing out their last four opponents by an average of 23 points and now have won six straight! Tonight, they travel to Los Angeles to face probably the most decimated team in the league, the Clippers, in a game that could get so fugly it almost makes me feel sorry for the Clip-show. Almost.

By my simple calculations, since the Clippers were recently blown out by the Bulls, 92-73, and the Bulls were just crushed last night by Nuggets, 112-91, then that must mean the Clippers are in for, hold on… carry the one, divide by pi, it’s almost Thanksgiving, AI is the reigning player of the week… a blowout by 40 points!

Seriously though, the Clippers will probably not be blown out by 40, but they are a badly bruised team. We all know that Shaun Livingston and Elton Brand have been out all year, but did you know that Corey Maggette, the team’s leading scorer, is also going to be out for tonight‘s game in addition to their top rookie draft pick Al Thornton being a scratch with a sprained right ankle? And to make matters potentially worse, starting shooting guard Cuttino Mobley is not even a for sure thing for tonight’s game with a tender groin that has been bothering him!

On second thought, the Clippers are in big, big trouble.

Denver is playing arguably their best basketball since Alex English was wearing number “2” and the city skyline was across their chests. Even when Carmelo has an off-night shooting, the Nuggets are still mopping the floors with people due to having a supporting cast, including former NBA MVP Allen Iverson, that can pick up his slack and continue Denver’s offensive barrage. We have guys like Eduardo Najera, J.R. Smith, Bobby Jones, and Yakhouba Diawara all hitting 43% or better from downtown. Add in a new defensive commitment that includes Marcus Camby leading the league in rebounds and blocks at 15 boards and 3.45 rejections a game, the Yak hounding the opposition’s best scorer all over the floor, and Allen Iverson stealing almost three balls a game and I think we may just have the ingredients for an old fashioned blowout tonight in LaLa land.

My prediction is Nuggets by 14. Put up your sails and navigate your way over to www.clipsnation.com if you think I’m wrong.

Go Nuggets!

Eastern Conference Divisional Reports

(Boulder-CO) Some of you might have missed the previous post explaining these divisional reports, but for those of you who didn't I thank you for always reading my column and ask you to bear with me for just a second. I have recently become a full-time contributor for About.com's Pro Baksetball site (sup, Dennis?) and am working with a team of some of the best hoops writers in the game to keep all of you up to date with what is going on league-wide. We break down what happened, who's hot, hurt, or been humbled, and give you a fast forward look at the week to come for you favorite team (the Nuggets, obviously!). On Tuesday of every week, the Eastern Conference reports get published. Check this week's east coast offerings by clicking this link. The Western Conference gets published on Wednesday of every week and I should have that link for everyone to enjoy a little bit later today.
Go Nuggets!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Nuggets Bully Bulls

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
(Boulder-CO) At 8-3, the Nuggets are out to their best start since 1988 and probably have a lot of people wondering just how good they are. And while I have a feeling about this team that I am currently just keeping to myself, maybe the Bulls have their own idea of just how good the Nuggets are after getting waxed from first whistle to final buzzer, 112-91.

For starters, we now know that the Nuggets defense is vastly improved from last season. Denver once again denied their opposition a 20+ scorer and before the Bulls were able to salvage some dignity in the fourth quarter the Nuggets had equaled or outscored their opponents in the last 17 straight quarters. Denver also held its fourth team in a row, tonight albeit just barely, to 40% or below from the field by keeping Chicago to exactly 40% shooting. Plus, the Nuggets once again out blocked their opponents, 7-5, thanks primarily to Marcus Camby’s five rejections, but it is the way the Nuggets are playing D as a team that really has me excited. Guys like J.R. Smith are really focused on playing team defense; meaning that when another Nugget gets beat they are stepping up for each other and making teams beat them as a cohesive unit rather than all that one-on-one stuff that lacked overall teammate support from previous years.

We also now know that the Nuggets are much better at sharing the ball compared to years past. Denver passed for 26 assists tonight with nearly everybody getting into the sharing spirit. Maybe it’s the holidays, but anytime a team like the Nuggets continues to have the passing game going the way Denver currently does it indicates that they are getting out on the break, making the extra pass, and are playing for each other instead of just with each other. Need more proof? The Nuggets are currently third in the NBA at a clip of 24.9 dimes per game and have the league’s most potent offense.

But what I like more than anything else is how all of Denver’s stars are still shining bright without a single Nugget hogging up the spotlight. Marcus Camby continues to do his dirty work and finished tonight with the gaudy stat line of 20 rebounds, twelve points, five blocks, five assists, and a steal while not even playing in the fourth quarter. Carmelo continues his fantastic all-around play and finished with a game-high 26 points, four assists, and two rebounds. This included putting Andres Nocioni in the spin cycle on the left side block and slamming it in his grill before unlacing his signature shoes and resting the entire fourth period. And Allen Iverson added 22 “quiet” points, six assists, and three steals before he too rested for the majority of the final period; thus translating into a very well-rested starting crew that has to travel tonight to play the Clippers tomorrow on the tail end of back-to-back games.
Then throw in the fact that the Nuggets starters STILL outscored the Bulls starters, 78-38, in essentially three quarters of play and you can see why Denver is now on a six-game winning streak.

So, what are your feelings? Have these last six games been 24 Karat Au worth taking to the bank or could we just be witnessing an extended stretch of Pyrite? Be sure to leave your insights in the comments section.

Go Nuggets!

AI Named Player of the Week


(Boulder-CO) For being an instrumental part of the Nuggets current five-game winning streak, Allen Iverson has been named Western Conference Player of the Week. Iverson scored 37 points, dished eight assists, grabbed three rebounds, and stole two balls against the Cavaliers on Monday, scored 20 points, dimed seven teammates, and nabbed two rebounds against the Trailblazers on Wednesday, and scored 23 points while finding four assists against the Knicks in only 35 minutes of action on Saturday night.

This occasion marks the 21st time AI has been honored for such an award, leaving Michael Jordan and Karl Malone as the only two players to be named P.O.W more times at 25 and 23 times, respectively.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Nuggets vs. Bulls: Game 11 Preview

(Boulder-CO) The Chicago Bulls are 2-7 and that’s exactly what has me worried. Chicago is badly underachieving from where their initial hopes were held and the Nuggets can ill afford to read too deeply into their horrendous record.

Remember when Ben Wallace was pulling down boards at a ridiculous pace in Detroit? Well, those days are seemingly gone and so far this season he is only grabbing around six a night. Think he is the only slumping Bull? Think again! Kirk Hirich’s scoring is way down from a career-high average of 16.6 points per game last season. It's so dropped so low in fact, it’s all the way down below his rookie-season clip of 12 ppg and he is only been scoring 10.1 points per game so far this season. And backcourt mate Ben Gordon’s no different. All his numbers are also slightly down from a year ago.

Furthermore, and to make matters worse if you're a Bulls fan, Luol Deng is proclaiming that he will not be able to play tonight due to sore back. Meaning Chicago will be without their best defender to latch onto ‘Melo (my mouth begins to salivate) and they will also have to find a way to make up his 14.6 points per game on the offensive end. And when you’re a team that only scores 87.9 points a game… that is a lot of scoring to be without when coming directly into the lion’s scoring-den that is the Mile High City.

Now, with all that background information on the Bulls I think the key to beating them will be settling on defense early. Chicago is third from last in the league in overall team scoring and the Nuggets have held their last three opponents to below 40% shooting. So, if Denver can keep its defensive focus sharp early they will have a ton of fast break opportunities and then will be able to overwhelm the Bulls in transition after getting their league leading 109-point offense revved up.

My final line is Nuggets by seven. Go say hello to Matt over at www.blogabull.com. He always loves it when you drop by around the holidays.

Go Nuggets!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Nuggets Quote of the Week

(Boulder-CO) There were a lot of good quotes this week, but none were really outstanding until late in tonight's Nuggets vs. Knicks game when Chris Marlowe gave us this week's clear cut winner.

"It's a laugher here in Denver"- Chris Marlowe


And I have a feeling that the comedy of errors that is the New York Knicks of recent has only just begun!

Denver Embarrasses New York

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
(Boulder-CO) They say the best revenge is living well. Which I guess, metaphorically speaking in terms of the NBA, would be exactly where the Nuggets are after trampling the Knicks, 115-83. New York is now 2-7 and in the basement of the Atlantic and Denver is now 7-3, riding a five-game winning streak, and currently sitting on top of the Northwest. And while I think that right about sums up how I feel about the whole New York - Denver rivalry, this game was just too satisfying in so many different ways for there not to be a further dissection of the box score.

It must be immediately brought to your attention that the Nuggets have now held their last three opponents (Cavaliers, Trailblazers, and Knicks) to below 40% shooting from the field. In addition, tonight the Nuggets didn’t even give up a twenty-point scorer, forced 17 turnovers directly translating into 18 points, as a team swatted eleven shots, and out rebounded the Knicks, 51-46. Marcus Camby continues to lead the Nuggets charge and tonight squeezed 20 rebounds, passed out six assists, scored six points, and demolished five Knick shots in only 29 minutes.

And it seems as the Nuggets defense gets better and better so does their offense.

Denver held the Knicks to just 40 points in the first half and 43 in the second as they reeled off 25+ in each quarter while book ending New York with 30+ quarters in both the first and the fourth.

Carmelo Anthony finished with a game-high 24 points fitting nicely with his game-high six assists, three rebounds, and two blocked shots all without even playing in the fourth quarter. He threw an unbelievable behind the neck pass on the fast break to Kenyon Martin for a powerful jam, shot a one-handed bullet pass to Allen Iverson for a reverse lay-up, caught an acrobatic alley-oop from Marcus Camby, and only had one turnover while shooting 11-18 from the field including 2-2 from the land of plenty.

Allen Iverson almost matched ‘Melo in scoring with 23 points and four assists, but Yakhouba Diawara was the only other starter to score in double figures with ten points three rebounds, and three assists.

But the bench was more than enough to keep George Karl satisfied because their tremendous effort meant he didn’t have to play any of his starters more than 35 minutes. Denver’s reserves, led by Linas Kleiza’s 18 points and Bobby Jones’ eight rebounds, combined for 46 points, 18 rebounds, 12 assists, four steals, and only one turnover. Many of them were instrumental in the Nuggets being able to out score the Knicks 28-6 in fast break points, tie this season’s high for assists at 32, and deliver the fifth win by more than 17 points so far this year.

At least this time around Isiah Thomas and his crew took their beating like grown men. There was a moment in the fourth quarter where I had a feeling of déjà vu when Linas Kleiza was out on the dunking end of a run out and I thought something bad might happen. Thankfully, nothing did happen and the Nuggets don’t have to see Thomas or his crew until next year.

Go Nuggets!

Boys Will Be Boys

(Boulder-CO) Right out of the gate I have to apologize for some of the language in this clip and give due props for the dime being dropped by www.youbeenblinded.com. But after that forewarning, this footage is too hot for the Nuggets Nation to not get a peek of 'Melo, AI, and... DerMarr Johnson of all people going out on the town after beating the Lakers last season.




And so much for people being scared of playing the Nuggets in last year's playoffs... SHEESH!

Nuggets vs. Knicks: Game 10 Preview

(Boulder-CO) The Knicks may have won in New York, but I have a feeling that the Nuggets aren’t going to be so docile when these two teams face off in Denver. The Nuggets are on a four-game winning streak thanks to a much improved defensive focus and to be quite frank with you, I just don’t see the Knicks coming into the Pepsi Center and walking away winners.

Will the Knicks have Stephon Marbury? Will Isiah be on his best behavior? Does it really matter? The home crowd is going to handle all the trash talking as the natives are surely restless after having to wait such a long time to give it to the Knicks. My only hope that the game goes on without any tough guy routines.

The Nuggets are arguably playing their best basketball in recent memory. Denver comes into this game with the second best points per game average in the league at 108.3, they are only giving up 101.8 to their opponents, and are shooting a fantastic 47% from the field doing it. Oh, and in case you’re not paying that close attention… The Nuggets are no longer the laughing stock of the three-point game! Denver is tied for eighth in three-point shooting percentage at 37% from downtown. Now, whatcha now about that?

I’m going to keep it short and sweet today with this preview and just say the Nuggets win by ten, Carmelo will breakout for about 35, Isiah will pout like a child going to timeout, and the Pepsi Center lets the Knicks hear it from about 15 minutes before the ball is put into play until they get on the bus to get to the airport!

And I almost forgot! For a possibly more optimistic Knicks perspective be sure to head over to www.postingandtoasting.com and be sure to tell Seth that the Nuggets Nation is ready for tonight’s game!

Go Nuggets!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Moving Forward Without Grudges

(Boulder-CO) The first meeting between the Nuggets and Knicks since last year’s brawl went off without a snag. All who were involved in last season’s ugliness were on their best behavior (as they should be in all the games they suit up for this season and the rest of their respective careers). The NBA isn’t a league that should tolerate ongoing feuds. This isn’t the crips and bloods battling over drug distribution territory or avenging wrong doings from the past. Rather, this is professional basketball and these are two organizations that should BOTH be ashamed of, and wiser from, what happened on that regretful night.
With that being said, why then is Terri Frei of The Denver Post asking, “But don't you wish Carmelo Anthony at least would play as if he holds a grudge?”
To which I would answer “No”, and retort with a couple of questions of my own.

A grudge for what? Isiah Thomas, or anyone else involved in that disgusting fracas for that matter, forcing him to throw a punch at Mardy Collins?

But regardless of the answers to my questions, thankfully for Nuggets fans everywhere Carmelo has since rightly owned up to his participation in the “Little Grapple in the Big Apple”, paid his debt to the league by way of a 15-game suspension, and is not going to subscribe to such a childish notion that is holding a grudge. Rather, Anthony has wisely stated, “I have nothing against him (Thomas). I've tried to put that whole situation behind me. He talked to me about it. ... He's still a coach in this league, I still respect him as a coach and I'm not going to hold any grudges against him about that.”

But then Frei writes, “It's one thing to accept that the 2006 incident is in the rear view mirror. It's another for Anthony to fall for Thomas' blather, as apparently so many are predisposed to do.”

Fall for Thomas’ blather?

How about instead of seemingly condemning Anthony for not behaving in the same immature manner that got him suspended in the first place, we applaud Anthony for choosing to learn from his mistakes, bettering himself as a person and player, and moving on with the rest of his career without a vendetta against the Knicks as a team, individuals on that team, or their brass?

Look, my point (if you haven’t already realized it) is Carmelo, as are the rest of the Nuggets for that matter, are doing exactly what they should be doing. They are concentrating on winning games, not holding grudges, and most importantly not lowering themselves to the level, both professionally and personally, that the Knicks currently reside at despite what some columnist may wish.

Right now, New York is a team that I would compare more similarly to a traveling sideshow than a storied and respected professional sports entity. The sexual harassment case, a player going AWOL and then threatening to blackmail his coach, and a losing record to boot do not illustrate that the Knicks are a very solid franchise at any level. Furthermore, suggesting that the Nuggets, who are not without their own problems, should lower themselves individually or as a team to a level where grudges are held, thus insinuating that there is a score to be settled, is just as irresponsible as the actions of those involved on that cold December night at the Garden back in 2006.

So, if the Nuggets want redemption for a grudge held against the Knicks they should forget about what happened last season and only be concerned with redeeming themselves for the loss they suffered in New York already earlier this season. And in my opinion, suggesting anything other than that is unbecoming of professionalism regardless of profession.

Karl May be on to Something

(Boulder-CO) Many of you know this, but I’m not a completely sold believer in some varieties of statistical analysis and the Lenovo +/- has always been one I have been skeptical of. Not that it doesn’t make perfect sense, mathematically speaking, but I’m just kind of an old school guy that believes what my eyes tell me over what some fancy algebraic formula tells me to believe.

But does that mean this old dog isn’t capable of learning a new trick? Hardly. And from the latest Lenovo breakdown, George Karl may be the same way.

For the majority of the first nine games, Coach Karl has been starting AI, Yakhouba Diawara, ‘Melo, Kenyon Martin, and Marcus Camby. And according to the Lenovo +/- measuring stick, he has some good reason for doing so. This starting five easily has the most positive differential when using the Lenovo stat and comes in at +39 points. Coming in a distant second at +17 points is the five of AI, Linas Kleiza, Carmelo, Camby, and believe it or not, Nene. But seeing how that five can not be played right now with Nene being sidelined with yet another injury, the next best combination is AI, Camby, Eduardo Najera, J.R. Smith, and Carmelo Anthony with a +16 point rating. Coincidentally enough, that third group of five is the exact rotation that Karl seems to be pulling off his bench with Nene sidelined.

I also found it coincidental that the first three combinations I mentioned are also playing the most minutes together starting with the best playing the most minutes and so on and so forth down the line.

But unfortunately for all those Linas Kleiza fans out there, substituting LK for Yakhouba into Karl’s most frequent starting line-up of AI, Carmelo, Camby, and Martin has only provided a +3 differential in the 28:27 minutes that group has played together, which is only five seconds less than the second best combination I just mentioned that has a rating +17. Leaving me to deduce that Nene may be more valuable to this team than I first may have thought and even more so in complimenting LK’s game.

And just to prove to you that I’m not going to completely abandoned my old school ways of evaluating things…

The Nuggets best Lenovo +/- team per minute is Kenyon Martin, Mike Wilks, J.R. Smith, Linas Kleiza, and Bobby Jones with a +7.7 point rating per minute they play together. So, does that mean the aforementioned five is the best five-player combination the Nuggets have? Once again my answer to that is an emphatic, “Hardly!” Which should mean to all of you stat geeks out there that while there may be some truth to things like the Lenovo. There will never be a substitution for good old fashioned seeing is believing NBA analysis!

Go Nuggets!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Everybody Scores as Nuggets Win Again

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
(Boulder-CO) On Monday night against the Cavaliers, everybody who played scored except for Von Wafer. Tonight against the Blazers, Von got his bucket. And they came in abundance for everybody as the Nuggets bullied the Blazers, 110-93, to extend their current winning streak to four games.

The Denver defense in the first half was fantastic and from there good things happened for the Nuggets. Portland was being held to jump shots that weren’t falling and finished the half with only 38 points on 16-43 from the field. It also didn’t help Portland’s cause that they were 2-11 from three and 4-7 from the free-throw line.

Denver, on the other hand, looked like they are having a lot of fun.

The Nuggets, led by Carmelo’s Anthony’s 16, scored 52 points in the half as they seemingly put the game into cruise control and never checked the rear view again.

Carmelo would finish as the game’s high scorer with 25 points, four assists, four rebounds, and a steal. AI added another 20 points, seven assists, two rebounds, a steal, and a block. Kenyon chipped in with numerous exciting dunks adding up to 14 points to go along nicely with his four rebounds, two steals, two blocks, and single assist. Linas Kleiza and J.R. Smith each dropped ten. Eduardo Najera scored eight and grabbed six rebounds. The Yak notched seven. Marcus Camby and Mike Wilks both scored five, with the Captain also grabbing 13 rebounds and snuffing out five shots. Bobby Jones found four. And yes, Von ‘Nilla” Wafer rounds out the entire roster with a deuce for good measure.

Whew! Talk about a box score.

When the last time a Nuggets team had every player that played in a game score was I can not be sure of, but I sure did like watching everyone get in on tonight’s action.

Even Coach George Karl passed a milestone by winning his 127th game with the Denver Nuggets which moves him into third place all-time in franchise history for wins. He now is trailing only Dan Issel in second with 180 wins and Doug Moe at 432, legendary, victories.
And as always,

“In Doug Moe, We Trust”
Go Nuggets!

Nuggets vs. Blazers: Game 9 Preview

(Boulder-CO) Last night I did my homework and watched the Trailblazers play the Pistons and I have to admit the Trailblazers look like a much improved team. Even without the services of Greg Oden, Portland has a lot of bright spots that the Nuggets are going to have to shade if they are to win again at home.

The Nuggets have literally no point guards. The Blazers have exactly three point guards. And no Blazer point guard impressed me more in last night’s game than Sergio Rodriguez. He may have only played 15 minutes, (scoring seven points, giving three assists, and grabbing two boards with no turnovers), but when Rodriguez was in the game he was, in my opinion, the difference maker in the Trailblazer’s, 102-94, win against the Pistons. Sergio made smart decisions, distributed the ball phenomenally, hit the open three, and took his man to the rack with a sense of control and poise. Needless to say, I fell in love with Rodriguez’s game last night, and would love to see a point guard like him in a Nuggets uniform. He thinks pass first, pass second, but is still able to help his team in a variety of ways without needing to shoot. Oh Sergio, how I love thee!

Another Portland point guard that has been impressive is the extremely brief Nugget, Jarrett Jack. Jarrett has scored 20+ points in three of the last four Trailblazer wins, and he is going to have to be contained if the Nuggets are to win tonight. He is a catalyst for the Trailblazers and by neutralizing him the Nuggets will disrupt Portland’s offensive flow.

Now, believe it or not, J.R. Smith and Yakhouba Diawaras’ defense on Brandon Roy is going to be the difference maker in tonight’s game. Roy comes into this game as the Trailblazer’s most potent offensive weapon with an average scoring clip of 20.6 points. He is also averaging better than five assists and leading the team in steals and minutes played. Slowing him down is going to be defensive emphasis number one, and I am very interested to see if J.R. continues to focus on playing as tough of defense as he has been playing in his last two games.

Other than that, the Blazers are on a four-game winning streak that is hopefully due to end tonight in Denver. As I briefly aforementioned, Portland played the late game last night, and as we all know, it is hard enough to win back-to-back games in the NBA and it’s even more difficult when the tail end is on the road. Also, be sure to head over to www.blazersedge.com for everything Trailblazers and ask my friend Dave how that Steve Blake guy is doing!

My prediction is Denver by eight.

Go Nuggets!

About.com's NBA Divisional Reports

(Boulder-CO) This season I have been asked by Dennis Velasco of About.com's pro basketball site to help Dave from www.blazersedge.com breakdown the Northwest and Pacific Divisions. Our first collaboration is up, and I encourage you to keep up with the rest of the NBA by checking these informative reports. Each team is broken down by last week's performance, who is performing well, and what is in store for the week to come. Go read!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

J.R. Smith has Boosties

(Boulder-CO) By this time a ton have you have read my account of J.R. Smith absolutely jumping out of the building to catch that alley-oop from AI in last night's game against the Cavaliers, but I can imagine many of you haven't actually seen it. Well, wait no longer my fellow citizens of Nuggets Nation that couldn't catch the game last night because I have wrangled up this link directly taking you to the footage of the sickness and this video of J.R.'s other monster cram against the Wizards.



Face it, we all may just be living in a J.R. Smith world! "That kid is an athlete!"

Monday, November 12, 2007

We Fly High, No Lie, and You Know This!

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
(Boulder-CO) Jim Jones could not have made a song more fitting of tonight’s, 122-100, Denver victory. The Nuggets were officially “Ballin’” all over LeBron and the Cavaliers as the Pepsi Center went absolutely bananas from opening tip to final buzzer. There was even a surprise Coolio, (that’s right I said Coolio), performance at halftime as if the Nuggets dominating all facets of the game wasn’t enough for 15 some odd thousand fans that were in attendance.

Now, I could go into all the x’s and o’s that made the Nuggets successful, but I’m in too good of a mood right now to bore you with all that. So, how about instead I take the professionalism down a notch and get right to the straight dope that was tonight’s game?

Is that alright with everyone? Good, great, grand, on we go!

Right off the bat, I have to mention J.R. Smith’s absolutely mind boggling performance. Early in the first half, J.R. caught an alley-oops upside your head pass from AI, (backwards mind you), and finished off the dish with an absolutely ridiculous slam that had me so pumped up I could have slapped your momma! I might also mention that the reason why J.R. was in that position was because he made a great defensive play and outlet pass to Iverson that got the whole thing started. But besides that one play, I have to admit that down the home stretch I was actually hoping that J.R. would get back in the game because he was just that damn exciting tonight. And luckily for me he did, and he did not disappoint. Plus, aside from scoring 29 points on 7-8 from the land of plenty, grabbing four rebounds, and dishing four assists, J.R. did the Cavaliers absolutely dirty when with only a minute left and the Nuggets up by twenty he drops not one, but two cold-blooded three-pointers to further work the home crowd into an even more rabid frenzy!

Next on the long list of Nuggets highlights is the performance of Allen Iverson. AI gave the young Daniel Gibson a text book lesson on how he got the nickname “The Answer” as he lit the second-year player up for a game-high 37 points, eight assists, and three rebounds. In addition to AI’s schooling of the young Daniel Gibson, Carmelo Anthony efficiently gave the business to Ira Newble, Larry Hughes (who, by the way, got ejected in the first quarter for saying something to an offical that I have to assume was absolutely putrid), and Dwayne Jones on his way to 22 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and two steals. ‘Melo was hitting all kinds of fade-aways and was making the extra pass at every opportunity. For example, on one particular occasion he grabbed an offensive rebound, split the defenders, and dimed Kenyon Martin for a thunderous slam when he could have easily scored the deuce himself. I mention this only because it was a clear example of how Carmelo Anthony is visibly trying to make his teammates better; a trait that I’m not sure I could realistically say was part of his game in seasons previous.
From there you have to tip your hat to the Nuggets as a cohesive defensive unit. Denver held the Cavaliers to just 41% from the field while out rebounding, stealing, and swatting Cleveland all over the floor. And per usual, Marcus Camby led the defensive charge for the Nuggets. The Captian held Zydrunas Ilgauskas to a mere two points and six rebounds while grabbing 12 errant Cleveland shots and swatting another one for good measure in just 31 minutes of action.

Plus, as I mentioned before, there was a surprise Coolio performance at halftime where the ex-star belted out all three of his biggest hits. “Get Your Woman on the Floor”, “Fantastic Voyage”, and “Gangsta’s Paradise” were so random that they just made my night. Not to mention the cornrow mohawk was priceless!

Up next for the Nuggets are the Trailblazers on Wednesday night. The Mile High crew now stands at 5-3 and more excited about Nuggets basketball I can not recall myself being. Get at me in the comments section if you have anything else to add.

Go Nuggets!

Nuggets vs. Cavs: Game 8 Preview

(Boulder-CO) Tonight I am in for a long night. I will be making the trek to Pepsi Center for the ‘Melo vs. King James, uh I mean Cavaliers vs. Nuggets, match-up. And because of the 7pm MST tip time, the ninety minute drive, and anything else the big city may have to offer me, I will probably not get tonight’s game recap up until early tomorrow morning.

Since these two superstars entered the league in the 2003 NBA draft they have been inseparable. Whether it is comparing their stats, shoe deals, countless other endorsements, success both on and off the basketball court, or head-to-head match-ups, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James are always going to be linked.

But when it comes to their teams’ success against one another, so far Anthony and the Nuggets have gotten the best of the James and the Cavs. The Nuggets (4-3 this season) are 6-2 against the Cavaliers since the 2003 draft, with three of the wins coming in Denver.

But this is not the whole story.

While Anthony's Nuggets have had success against the Cavs, it's James who has put up better numbers in the series. James has averaged 22.0 points and 7.4 rebounds in the eight games between the teams while Anthony has averaged 19.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in seven of the meetings he has been a part of due to missing the first meeting last year because of suspension.

The Nuggets should come into this game well rested after returning from their four-game east coast road trip late Saturday night. On the other hand, Cleveland had to travel last night after a tough, come from behind, victory against the surprisingly strong Clippers. Tail ends of back-to-back games on the road are always tough, so I would like to see the Nuggets get out to a great start with their transition offense and keep the defensive pressure on the Cavs with as few lackadaisical stretches as possible.

The other area of concern that I have, (other than the Nuggets becoming their own worst enemy), is the Cavaliers relentless attack on the offensive boards. The Cavs are currently the fourth best offensive rebounding team in the league and it should come as no surprise as they have Big Z, Drew Gooden, and James who all love to crash the boards. The Nuggets on the other hand, (despite being one of the better rebounding clubs in the NBA with the ninth best overall rebounding clip in the league), are giving up the eighth most offensive boards on a nightly basis. Thus, leading me to predict that the team with the most second chance points is going to win this game.

Never mind that the Nuggets are averaging almost ten more points per game than the Cavs. Never mind that the Nuggets are allowing six points more on any given night than the Cavs are used to scoring. Never mind that Carmelo and LeBron are almost deadlocked in scoring. Just… Never mind. Tonight, the game will be decided by the bigs on the boards.

Time for Marcus, Kenyon, and the rest of the Nuggets front line, (and YES, that includes you, Carmelo) to out rebound the Cavaliers if they are to bring home the victory.

Big game tonight and The Nugg Doctor will be in the house!

Go Nuggets!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Second. Greatest. Comeback. Ever.

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

(Boulder-CO) If the Denver Nuggets keep putting me through these kinds of games on this road trip I’m going to need a prescription of Prozac for the lows and Valium for the highs. Which makes it pretty convenient seeing how I’m the Nugg Doctor don’t you think? Seriously though, the Nuggets put together the second largest halftime deficit comeback in their franchise history (18 points) and found a way to win, 113-106, against a Pacer team that has to be dumbfounded right about now.

Things started out terrible for the Nuggets who came out sluggish and as if they were perhaps going to just mail this one in. Denver gave up 46 points and a new Pacer franchise record for points scored in a quarter in the first twelve minutes. They once again weren’t paying any attention to detail on the defensive end, and as a result were dominated in points in the paint 38-20. To make matters worse, for the third straight half of basketball Denver failed to record a single blocked shot. Talk about being soft around the goal. For a team that stressed defense all training camp, and for the reigning Defensive Player of the Year to allow themselves to look like they did was just flat-out embarrassing. The Pacers were shooting 56% from the field, their bench outscored the Nuggets bench 27-13, and at one point in the second quarter Indiana was ahead by 25 points.

Further illustrating just how miserable the first half was for Denver was how they once again had more turnovers (13) than assists (10). At this point, I was thinking here comes another thrashing reminiscent of the massacre at Boston on Wednesday night as the Nuggets hung their heads and went into the locker room.

But yet, the Nuggets were not quite ready to give up. No, they must have had enough of the embarrassment. Enough of the cowardly defense. Enough of the excuses. Enough of being pushed around.

And then… It happened.

Carmelo refused to quit on an offensive rebound and the put back to get himself started. Yakhouba drained two three-pointers from the wing and hit a 17-footer from the keyhole. Marcus Camby ended the misery without a blocked shot, and believe it or not, J.R. Smith dropped his derriere and played some hard-nose D. Denver put a 10-0 run on the Pacers to start the second half, won the quarter 26-14, and the message was sent. This game isn’t over and a pushover the Denver Nuggets are not!

By the end of the third, the Nuggets had dropped the once 18-point Pacer lead to a manageable six and the entire Conseco Field House was stunned. Something had changed in the Nuggets. A change that hopefully will resonate and become a mantra for the rest of the year.

Do you know what the change was?

The Nuggets were no longer going to allow themselves to be embarrassed.

Now the Nuggets, with their new found swagger and attitude, continued to bring the onslaught onto the Pacers in the fourth quarter. Denver held Indiana to just 18 points in the money period and found away to score twelve unanswered points down the stretch to take a 97-101 game with 3:28 to play and finish it the victor, 113-106.

Carmelo Anthony paced the Nuggets with a double-double which included the game-high 32 points, ten rebounds, five assists, a steal, and a block. Linas Kleiza brought that fire off the bench with 21 points and seven rebounds. Plus, Marcus Camby and Allen Iverson double-doubled with ten points, ten rebounds, five blocks, and four steals, and 27 points, ten assists, five rebounds, and three steals, respectively.

The Mile High Crew now stands at 4-3 in the early goings of the season. They showed us a lot of things during this first excursion outside the friendly confines of the Rocky Mountains. A lot of bad and a lot of good, but hopefully for all of us… The Nuggets are no longer going to stand for embarrassment. And by no longer standing for that, I think a lot of good things are on the way.

Great win tonight, boys! I’ll be seeing you, and King James, on Monday night.

Go Nuggets!

Nuggets vs. Pacers: Game 7 Preview

(Boulder-CO) On paper, the Nuggets should have no problem with the Pacers. With the key emphasis in that previous sentence being “On paper.” Denver comes into this game with a statistical edge in every category when it comes to team leaders, recent match-up history, and current momentum.

And that’s what scares me.

The Nuggets have won the last six straight against the Pacers, including three straight in Indy. ’Melo has also personally enjoyed an average of 28.2 points during those six games and the Pacers have only third-year player Danny Granger and the ridiculously overpaid Mike Dunleavy to try and stop him.

I can only speculate that the Nuggets are going to be fatigued after this long, roller coaster of an east coast road trip. The whole thing started on Tuesday with a tough loss in an emotional game against New York and included an absolute traveshammockery of an effort against the Celtics. The Nuggets then bounced back against a struggling Wizards team last night to gain some momentum, but the tail end of two sets of back-to-back games on the road make me uneasy about tonight.

What kind of effort can we expect out of a tired, road weary team? Will they be focused? Will they be sharp defensively?

Only one way to find out and that is to tune into Altitude Sports & Entertainment at 5pm MST to see what kind of Denver Nuggets show up against the Indiana Pacers. Also, be sure to go check out www.indycornrows.com for easily the best Pacer-centric blog in the business.
Go Nuggets!

Nuggets Quote of the Week


(Boulder-CO) Once again, this week's auditory selection comes from Altitude Sports & Entertainment's Scott Hastings. In the most recent game against the Knicks, Scott gave us all this nugget of pure gold in reference to Eddie Curry's provided 285 pound roster listing.

"He's a biscuit away from 300." - Scott Hastings

Something tells me that we will be gathering numerous more of these from Scott all season long!

Friday, November 9, 2007

24 Little Hours

(AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
(Boulder-CO) What a difference a day makes. After getting humbled by the Boston Celtics by 26 points last night, tonight the Nuggets were the ones holding the switch as they whipped the Wizards by the exact same margin, 118-92.

The major difference in tonight’s game versus the debacle the night before was the focus on team work. The Nuggets passed out 32 assists and had seven players score in double figures tonight. Along with the shared offensive load, the Nuggets all chipped in defensively with nine different players recording a steal.

Honestly, this team tonight didn’t even look like the team from the night before!

The Nuggets shot 51% from the field, 48% from downtown, 84% from the line, and not a single player played 40 minutes. Guys gave quality minutes and relied on their teammates to do their job. And when guys got beat, teammates stepped up! Denver held the Wizards to just 38% from the field and limited Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, and Antawn Jamison to a combined 56 points.

It was almost like if um… if Denver played like a, what’s the word…. Oh yea! A TEAM!! And leading this team were the duo of Marcus Camby and Carmelo Anthony.

The Captain just missed a triple-double with 13 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, and four steals in just 31 minutes. Carmelo scored a game-high 32 points, grabbed five rebounds, dished five dimes, and stole three balls in only 35. But more importantly, it was ‘Melo ingniting 16 points and Marcus Camby locking it down defensively in the third quarter that cemented the win for the Nuggets. Led by their captains, Denver pushed it into a completely different gear after leading by nine at the half and pasted the Wizards, 33-11, in the third allowing them to coast to an easy victory.

Hallelujah!

Next up for the Nuggets is a visit to Canseco Field House for a match-up with the Indiana Pacers tomorrow night. Tail end of back-to-back games for both teams with the Pacers losing tonight to the Bobcats, 96-87.

Go Nuggets!

Nene Right Back on Injury List


(Boulder-CO) ESPN is reporting that Denver’s 60 million dollar Brazilian is right back in his familiar spot on the Nuggets injured list with a torn ligament in his left thumb. An expected outage of at least six weeks is the diagnosis.

This injury is just the latest in a long list of setbacks Nene has endured in his short NBA career and I’m sure it will translate into an even longer conditioning recovery time. One might think that with an injured hand he might be able to still lose some weight and continue to work on his stamina, but this is Nene, and we all know that even a healthy Nene can not accomplish such a routine request. So, get your Nene excuses ready now and leave them in the comments section.

Nuggets vs. Wizards: Game 6 Preview

(Boulder-CO) The old cliché says to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Or in our case, the laces of the Nuggets sneakers. I’m not too sure what to expect tonight out of a battered, weary, and short-handed Nuggets crew because part of me thinks that we could potentially be in for another drumming while the rational side of my thinking says that Wednesday night’s game was nothing but a single-game breakdown. Either way, the Wizards are one of only a handful of teams in the league that are still winless in the early goings of the 2007-08 season, thus making them just as dangerous as a team that is undefeated.

The list of bullets that you need to know about for tonight’s game is short but sweet. For starters, tonight’s game is on the national stage of ESPN. Expect a lot of trash talking about the Nuggets destined to struggle until they get all their pieces to the puzzle healthy. I’m not sure that Denver will ever get this entire team healthy by season’s end, so just be prepared for the always comical, sometimes insightful commentary of the ESPN crew as they bag on the Nuggets from opening tip to final buzzer.

The second bullet on my list of things to keep an eye on is George Karl. I’m not ready to start making any fuss about Karl needing to vacate the position… yet, but if the game is close and AI keeps taking the ball from inbounds down to just a few seconds remaining on the shot clock before throwing up some desperate shot attempt without passing the friggin’ ball a single time we have problems. REAL problems. He did just that about six or seven times against the Celtics and nothing, I mean nothing, makes the other four guys on the floor want to play less than watching a guy hog the ball without conscience. Granted, the Celtic game was a complete abomination and not much can be said about it in a positive light, but the Nuggets had a day of practice, a chance to review some film, and the time to make some immediate changes. So, if a like scenario starts to unfold and Karl doesn’t intervene it might be a little bit clearer where the Nuggets real deficiency lies and I’m not talking about our point guard situation.

The third bullet, or should I say player, to watch tonight is Agent Zero. It’s no secret that the Nuggets are probably the weakest defensively against a high-scoring guard being as we have a tiny backcourt that is more damaged than O.J. Simpson’s reputation, so be sure to keep tabs on Mr. Hibachi. Maybe the Nuggets will sic Bobby Jones or the Yak on him early in an attempt to knock him out of his typical rhythm, but if he gets hot look out! Arenas might have missed the game winning shot last night against the Nets, but a guy like Gilbert has a short memory and a shooting hand that can get hot quicker than a gas fire.

My last bullet point of emphasis tonight is for the Nuggets to get up and down the floor with their fastbreak. For a team like Denver to not even score a single point of transition offense in the first half of any ballgame, never mind it was the Celtics, is just inexcusable. Now is the time for the Nuggets to drop their rear ends on defense, force a tough shot, board the miss, and get out and run. Honestly, sometimes I wonder if Denver has any clue as to how a fastbreak starts because the Nuggets often times play defense like the sisters of the poor and then want to wonder why the game’s tempo was dictated by their opponent. Well, newsflash Denver! When you play crappy D, the other team scores on lay-ups and dunks and it gets real tough to take the ball 90-some-odd feet and beat anybody down the floor. Point being, turn up the defensive heat and get out and run!

Other than all that, be sure to head over to www.bulletsforever.com for all your Wizards needs and be sure to tell Prada that I sent you. Oh, and make fun of Brendan Haywood in whatever way, shape, or form you can!

Go Nuggets!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What’s That Stink? Oh, It’s The Nuggets!

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
(Boulder-CO) I would not want to be at Coach George Karl's practice tomorrow.

Denver got its first test against an elite foe tonight and failed miserably, 119-93, against the Celtics. Just how bad was it? How’s this for a lowlight reel of the first half? For starters, the Nuggets only shot 38% from the field while allowing the Celtics countless dunks, excessive lay-ups, uncontested point blank gimmies, and anything else Boston wanted as they blistered the Nuggets, 77-38, in just 24 minutes of play. Boston finished the half by making an unheard of 72% of their field goal attempts as they ran a coast-to-coast lay-up drill on the confused Denver crew. The Nuggets also committed 13 turnovers, were held to exactly zero fast break points, were dominated in second-chance points 11-2, and equally outmatched in points in the paint 36-16.

At this grim point in Nuggets history, the Big Three for the Celtics had combined for 47 points with Kevin Garnett already logging a double-double of 14 points and ten boards, Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 20 points, and Ray Allen quietly throwing in 13 for good measure.
Needless to say, the “Real Big Three” reside at www.greenbandwagon.com. And I’m not even going to add up the combined stats from the rest of the game because the statistical difference between the “Real Big Three” and the three players from the Nuggets that shall remain anonymous is just too drastic. I will tell you though that KG, The Truth, and Jesus Shuttlesworth combined for 71 points by the time all was said and done…

And to compound the misery, things didn’t get much better in the second half at all!

The Nuggets found themselves down by 41 at one point in the third period before salvaging barely a sliver of self respect in the fourth while losing by 26 points. I wouldn’t know anything about the second half, however, because I turned it off and held my hand above hot flame to dull my sadness. Seriously.

I didn’t think that this team could look this bad this early in the season, but the Nuggets are now on a three-game losing streak in the midst of a four-game east coast road trip and are now officially a losing team at 2-3 overall.

Go Nugg…. Ah forget it. That was as pitiful of a display as I can honestly recall.

Nuggets vs. Celtics: Game 5 Preview

(Boulder-CO) I’m going to throw everyone a curve ball today instead of giving a traditional style game preview. I have teamed up Jeff over at www.celticsblog.com to give the readership of The Nugg Doctor an outside, expert perspective on tonight’s opponent. Plus, after the game, there will be a bonus question answered by both Jeff and I that will be included in tonight’s recap.

So, the way it’s going to work is I gave Jeff three questions to answer and he did the same for me. Ready to play?

My “Big Three” questions with Jeff’s answers are:

1) What team's BIG three will prevail statistically and whose team will prevail in the end? And I'm not talking about PER here either. The answer to the first part of this two part question is the sum of all the tangible stats. Points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks are the only stats that count, and turnovers count negatively!

A) Wait, let me get my abacus and slide rule. I think on first Tuesdays in November our big three scores pi times 4 divided by the average distance between Tommy Heinson and the nearest referee. You do the math and let me know how it goes. I'll go on a limb and say I'll take my guys and the over.
2) Name one thing, besides injury, that could seriously derail the Celtics this year. You know your team better than they know themselves, right? Be creative. Major points if you can make me double over in laughter, but I'll take serious hoops analysis if I have to.

A) Just one thing? Maybe Doc will find a way to play the starters 50 minutes a night and burn them out by the all star break (wait, that could be considered an injury). Maybe Kevin Garnett will get so intense that his head will actually explode (oops, that's pretty much an injury too). Maybe the Celtics will trade for Nene (insert your own injury joke here). Nope, I've got no non-injury related reasons for worry. Sorry.

3) Is there a point in this season, (a goal, team milestone, or something of the like), that you can honestly say will bring, "Celtic Pride" back to its heyday?

A) "Celtic Pride" should have bypassed DVD and gone straight to the trash. It never had a heyday, just a "what-the-hey?" day. Oh, you weren't talking about the movie? True Celtic pride is all about the championships. Lots and lots of them actually. I don't think any team will ever again rattle off 11 straight titles, so that is just an unfair standard. I say if they raise a banner then the pride is officially back. Hoist a few of them up there and you start to approach the heyday.

Jeff, a sly dog in his own right, had a tricky trio of inquiries for me to answer too. Here are his questions:

1) Everyone was watching when AI got traded to the Nuggets to be paired with Melo. But the team didn't mesh so well right away. Then in April, things really started to gel. What are some of the things that got things to work so well?

2) Celtics fans remember Kenyon Martin abusing Antoine Walker in his Nets days. Will we ever see that Kenyon again? What can we reasonably expect from him this year?

3) I've heard it said that Marcus Camby is overrated as a defender because his block stats come from weak side blocks but he can't stop his own man one-on-one. Is that true or am I overrating his overratedness?

Be sure to bang this link for my answers and as an additional bonus, I have a little side bet with Jim over at www.greenbandwagon.com that Denver’s “Big Three” will out perform Boston’s (with my first question to Jeff being the measuring stick) and the loser has to refer to the winner’s “Big Three” as the NBA's “Real” big three in their game summary!

A lot on the line tonight, Nuggets Nation!

Go Nuggets!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Knicks Out Fight Nuggets

(Boulder-CO) Every time the Nuggets would open up a lead the Knicks would fight back. Fight back so valiantly in fact that when the chips were on the line Isiah’s boys took the Nuggets lunch money, 119-112, with a fourth quarter surge of points being scored in bunches.

The thing bothers me the most about this loss is how many times the Nuggets had the opportunity to put the Knicks down by sizable amounts, but instead fell into lackadaisical stretches of both offense and defense as if the game was already won. Once in the second quarter the Nuggets were up by 15 points, 50-35, but let the intensity and emotion change hands in the form of a 66-60 finish to the first half.

That collapse, plus a couple more in the third period were the real reason why the Nuggets lost this game. Oh, and the fact that the Knicks scored 70+ points in the paint and more than 20 of them came from second chance opportunities leading me to believe that Kenyon Martin's toughness was missed more than some of us might have imagined before we had to watch this killer instinct lacking debacle.

To further illustrate my point, the box score shows similar shooting percentages in all categories across the board, but the one area you can’t put a numerical value on was how much hungrier the Knicks were than the Nuggets in the fourth quarter.

And after winning every 12-minute battle up to this point, the Nuggets came out lifeless in the fourth and the Knicks punked the Mile High Crew, 37-20, for the win.

The Nuggets are now 2-2 and play the vastly improved Celtics tomorrow night. I have goodies planned for tomorrow too, so keep that page refreshed.

Go Nuggets!