Saturday, October 11, 2008

No 'Melo - No Problem

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(Boulder-CO) The Denver Nuggets kicked off their season on the right foot last night by dominating the Timberwolves, 118-95, despite not having Carmelo Anthony available for action. 'Melo did not play due to a finger bruise suffered in practice on Thursday; an injury that was sustained and viewable during NBATV's "Real Training Camp" that day.
Sans 'Melo, the Nuggets looked really solid on both offense and defense. Denver held Minnesota to under 25 points in three of the first four quarters of play and kept the Timberwolves under 45% shooting from both long distance and the field. Offensively, the Nuggets had five players reach double-digit scoring led by J.R. Smith's 21 points, four steals, two rebounds, and two assists and Chris "Birdman" Andersen's double-double of twelve points, eleven rebounds, and two rejections.
When looking at the boxscore three things that jump out at me. First was the large disparity the Nuggets enjoyed on the boards. Denver out rebounded the Timberwolves 56-45, which included 14 offensive caroms. Anytime a team can win the battle on the glass by ten or more rebounds it usually signifies that said team flat-out wanted the game more than their opponent. Second is the significant advantage the Nuggets' built in the assist column led by Allen Iverson's nine dimes. Denver out passed Minnesota 31-21 in the assist column proving once again that when the Nuggets share the ball to the tune of 30+ assists a win is almost eminent. And finally, in a trend that I hope can carry over from last year, the Nuggets forced Minnesota into 21 turnovers resulting in 31 Denver points to offset their own 14 miscues that they were able to limit the Timberwolves' capitalization of to just 14 points.
And with those three facets of the game being dominated by the Nuggets, it should come as no surprise that Denver was leading by as many as 25 points in the third quarter before easing back off the throttle momentarily only to once again explode offensively tacking on a 40-point fourth quarter and dismissing the Timberwolves, 118-95.
Now, the Nuggets are off to Indian Wells, California to play the Phoenix Suns tonight in the NBA's first outdoor basketball game in more than 35 years! Preseason Preview #2 is coming right up, so be sure to refresh your page.
Go Nuggets!

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