Monday, February 5, 2007

Everyone that Bet Owes Me Commission

(Boulder-CO) I told you what the deal was shortly after I woke up this morning. The Phoenix Suns came into Pepsi Center and weathered the incredible storm of Carmelo Anthony recording a triple-double and marched right forward to a 113-108 victory over the Nuggets. Allen Iverson and Marcus Camby didn’t play, Reggie did, but it wasn’t enough. I know many of you were thinking that I was full of bologna when my pessimistic preview was looking foolish with the Nuggets up 60-51 at the half, but I knew better than to think that the depleted Nuggets could keep up with the Suns.

Right off the bat it has to be mentioned that the Nuggets played maybe their best half of basketball against the Suns in the first two quarters of tonight’s game. Carmelo was dishing the ball phenomenally, scoring at will, and hitting the boards. At the break he nearly had the triple-dub with 18 points, eight assists, and seven boards. Nene showed that he is also a very capable passer in the first half with three assists. J.R. Smith was taking the ball to the hole nicely and the team was playing defense, well, as a team. It was all pretty good despite the absences of AI and Camby with the Nuggets up by nine at intermission.

From there is when it all went down hill. The Nuggets were up by ten at one point in the third, but would finish the quarter down by two, 81-79. Steve Nash eventually had to leave the game with a right shoulder injury that was aggravated with contact, but Leandro Barbosa filled in quite nicely with 20 points, five rebounds, and four assists. In the fourth, it was just more of the same with the Nuggets losing the quarter by three points and the game by five. They settled for playing Phoenix’s game and shot way too many jumpers in the second half. All the attacking of the rim virtually stopped and when the shots didn’t fall there wasn’t enough time to comeback. Credit the Suns for making their free-throws in the final minute because J.R. Smith and Carmelo both had three-point plays in a dire attempt to tie the game.

This is the first time in Carmelo’s career that he has recorded a triple-double. Anthony finished tonight’s game with 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists and it was as if he was trying to make a statement against the Suns in the wake of his All-Star snubbing. Nene also continues his good play tonight with a 27-point performance that included seven rebounds. The Brazilian big man is really showing some positives in the last four games and would appear to be the obvious decision for starter from here on out as long as he doesn’t relapse.

The game of J.R. Smith is also progressing right on schedule. The 20-year-old Smith has noticeably picked up his defensive awareness and as long as he continues to rip the cords from long range should have a place here in Denver. J.R. finished tonight’s game with 18 points, three rebounds, and four assists coming off the bench.

I am really excited to see the five of AI, Smith, Carmelo, Nene, and Camby play together because I feel that those five guys have proven to be the best five players for the Nuggets. It would only make sense that George Karl would start these guys at some point in near future. They just flat-out give you a better chance of winning on any given night, and the next night that presents a chance for all the Nuggets to win is Wednesday. The Nuggets will be hosting the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets and will hopefully be back at full strength in an attempt to stop the bleeding. Until then, I will be keeping an eye on the injury report and the NOOCH. Go Nuggets!

5 comments:

btalk said...

I've never been a big believer in moral victories, but last night's game came as close to what one is supposed to be as there is.

Nugg Doctor said...

btalk,

I never have and never will because I feel that moral victories are the way that losers rationalize a way to make themselves feel like they aren't losers. There isn't a game that gets played where a losing team doesn't do something good. No team just does everything so bad that their isn't some kind of positives to look at.

My bottom line is this: If you are constantly looking for ways to making losing ok, you are destined to be a loser. It is when you step up, make the changes necessary, and stop accepting losing that you become a winner.

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

JM said...

What a game, if AI and Camby were healthy, Phoenix would have lost. The second have wasn't as good as the first, but they stayed competitive throughout. Nene is putting up some serious numbers the last few games, he is clearly recovering from that knee injury.

Ra said...

Good game, to the dude above: if Kurt Thomas and Steve Nash were healthy, they would have crushed.

The Nugs played really good. I was even nervous that they would tie it at the very end.

FYI, Iverson always plays terrible against the Suns. I don't know what it is but he can't do it. He also always seems to be 'hurt' for Suns games.

Honestly, with Blake, JR Smith, Melo, Camby and Nene, I think Iverson should be the odd man out. I just don't seem him fitting with that team. I think Iverson will stifle JR Smith's development.

Nene is HUGE. He needs to lose some weight but the dude is a frickin beast. He's real athletic too, if he plays with that intensity consistantly he's going to be great.

Stumbleweed said...

Nene was amazing last night, and I'm really excited to see what kind of numbers he's going to have for the rest of the year. The 2-man game with he and Melo is a beauty to watch. If we can get the guy to block some shots, we'll really be in business.

And yeah, I think if just Marcus was there, we would've pulled that one off. We were getting absolutely evicerated by Amare because nobody was playing interior defense. Every time he took a jumper, it was contested (and most missed), but he just destroyed up with slashes to the basket, spin moves, and offensive rebounds. Marcus' presence in the paint would've stopped enough of those that we likely would've made up the 5 point difference that ultimately cost us the game.

And yeah, that's all "shoulda woulda coulda", but I really do think we have a good chance at running with the Suns when we get healthy. As AI said earlier in the year, nobody is going to want to face us in the playoffs because of the talent level. If the guys have managed to gel a bit more, Nene has another 2 months of healthy action, and we aren't banged up (a tall order, I know), we can really make some noise and scare the crap out of whoever we play in the first round.

I'm an unabashed homer (and proud of it), but I definitely see the weaknesses in our team game (as you articulated well with the Frazier book post). There are lots of intangible things that we need to do to become a top-tier team, but with our talent level and explosiveness, we can beat anybody on any given night -- you can't confidently say that about very many teams in the NBA. When K-Mart gets back next year, we'll have by far the deepest and most-talented team in the league (especially in the frontcourt) -- it's just a matter of getting it all working together. I'm not that optimistic to say that it'll happen this season or that we'll get out of the first round, but I do think it will happen eventually (next season is my bet).

In the meantime, I love being a Nuggets fan, I love going to their games, and I love when Marcus blocks shots into the VIPs. So I'm not gonna get bent out of shape by losses like this. Our time will come -- this season seems to be conspiring against us somehow.