(Boulder-CO) I have seen pretty much all I need to see out of this Nuggets team of present. After getting thoroughly blown out by the Portland Trailblazers, 116-105, last night at the Pepsi Center it is pretty clear to me that the Nuggets, despite having a tremendous roster, will not be anything but a mediocre club this year. Denver has too many individuals on offense, not enough discipline on defense, no clear-cut team leader that is capable of doing the job at hand, and is not – I repeat – not going to accomplish what Stan Kroenke is paying nearly 15 million dollars over the NBA salary cap to have accomplished.
All you need to know about last night’s game was that the Portland Trailblazers mopped the Pepsi Center floors with our beloved Nuggets from opening toss to final buzzer. In the first, the Nuggets were outscored 30-25. In the second, the Nuggets were bullied, 31-24. In the third, the Nuggets were once again trumped, 31-24. And in the fourth, the Nuggets mustered what I like to call the old, “Too little, too late”, self-respect effort to outscore the Blazers, 32-24, in hopes of camouflaging a pathetic effort. Portland even led by as many as 21 points at one juncture of the game after Martell Webster made a technical free throw for delay of game on Marcus Camby.
Carmelo Anthony continues to struggle offensively after what I thought might have been a return to offensive normalcy against the Hornets two games ago. Against the Trailblazers, Anthony finished with 19 points on 6-17 shooting, but what irks me the most about Anthony’s performance was his inability to rebound when the Nuggets were getting abused on the boards, 41-31, overall, including 18 offensive boards by Portland. Why a guy as big and strong as Anthony can’t turn and box out his man is beyond my understanding; especially when nobody else on the team finished with more than seven rebounds.
Allen Iverson exploded, again, offensively notching 38 points, six assists, three steals, and two rebounds, but he still hasn’t found a way to get the rest of the Nuggets to play with the same fervor as he does, which at this point, is not his fault. AI is going out there every single night and leaving it all on the floor, and no one is stepping up their game to help him. Can you imagine what this team would look like without him?
From the Portland side of the coin, Brandon Roy torched the Nuggets for 26 points and a career-high tying eleven assists while Channing Frye added a season-high 20 points on 10-13 shooting. Furthermore, the Blazer bench outscored the Nugget bench, 49-22, with George Karl only playing reserves Eduardo Najera and Linas Kleiza any substantial minutes. Plus, the Trailblazers have now won seven straight games, which is only second best in the NBA to the Boston Celtics current eight-game winning streak.
Let this serve as your notice, Nuggets Nation: Denver will not be doing anything spectacular this season.