Saturday, October 25, 2008

Preseason Closer

(AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)

(Boulder-CO) The Denver Nuggets concluded their preseason campaign last night in Los Angeles by defeating the Clippers, 106-92. The win gives Denver a 6-1 record through preseason play and thankfully, no one is done for the season at this point!

The game was another showcase for J.R. Smith. Now, I know I have written critical things about The Prodigy in the past, but I can not be sweeter on him than I am right now. J.R. scored yet another team-high 19 points on 4-7 from downtown to fit nicely with four assists, three rebounds, and a steal. And if this kind of production can become routine for Smith, there will be no choice but for George Karl to start him while pleading with Allen Iverson to metamorphose into more of a point guard than a scorer.
For the record, J.R. finishes as the Nuggets leading preseason scorer with an average of 18.3 ppg.

Linas Kleiza also had a solid game to finish the preseason. LK scored five of his 18 points in the final two minutes of the contest and added six rebounds, an assist, and a block in 25 minutes of burn. In total, the Nuggets had six players finish in double-digit scoring as Carmelo (11), Kenyon (10), Nene (12), and surprise-surprise Juwan Howard (11) accounted for 71 of the total 106 points scored.

On the defensive end, The Birdman ruled the roost. Chris Andersen finished last night's game with 15 rebounds, including eight offensive boards, and four blocked shots to accompany his six points.

For the Clippers, it was a startling look back at last season's suffering as their two main additions to this year's team were unable to play. Former Nugget Marcus Camby didn't play due to a right heel bruise sustained in a scrimmage two weeks ago that is still making him walk with a limp, and Baron Davis is still on the IR due to a partial tear in his ulnar collateral ligament in his left ring finger. My only hope for Marcus, Baron, and the Clippers as a franchise is to get healthy and have more success than last season because I spent the entire year covering L.A. for and can sympathize with a team that has endured their fair share of bad luck and losing.
Can you taste the air, Nuggets Nation? The regular season is now only four days away! And what better way to get it started then to face the hated Utah Jazz right out of the gate on Wednesday night. Both Utah and Denver will be missing a star (Deron Williams due to an ankle sprain and Carmelo due to drinking and driving late last season) for the regular season opener, but I'll guarantee that the distaste for each other will not be diluted because of so on opening night!
I'm ready, Denver. Are you? Let's get this ship out of the harbor!

Go Nuggets!

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