There are a couple of stats from last night’s Nuggets/Heat conflagration that seem to conflict with each other. The Nuggets were credited with 35 fast break points, but by looking at the pace factor of 93.7 the game would not have been considered particularly fast. Pace is supposed to be a barometer for how much a team runs so why would the pace factor not be higher in a game where the Nuggets obviously ran quite a bit?
I believe there are two reasons for the seemingly conflicting pace factor and fast break points. First of all, pace is determined by approximating the total possessions in a game. That means the style the heat play makes a difference as well. Miami did tally 13 fast break points themselves, but you may have noticed during the game that Miami took a lot of shots late in the shot clock, none later than Dwyane Wade’s miracle three point chuck from the wing with the shot clock expiring.
I did a little research and looked at the play by play to see how long the average Heat possession was in the first quarter. Not once did the Heat take a shot in less than ten seconds. In fact, their average possession lasted 16.6 seconds. Now I did not do the math for the entire game, because I was bored after running the numbers for just the first quarter, but you can trust me when I say generally the pace slows as the game moves along.
The other thing, and something that warms my little heart, is the Nuggets are becoming more complete offensive basketball team. Before the season I claimed that running when the opportunity presented itself and playing a disciplined unselfish half court offense are not mutually exclusive. Just because you want to be a running team does not mean you have to run the Mike D’Antoni seven seconds or less system. Denver has seemed to figure that out this season. We are seeing less of the one pass and shoot style that has plagued them over the past couple of years and more of a dedication to earn a good shot while still taking advantage of chances to run and capture easy baskets.
There you have it. The Nuggets are treating their half court possessions with more care and value this season and as a result have gone from a middle of the road offensive team to an upper echelon offensive team.
J.R. in a different kind of court
J.R. Smith is going to have to head back to New Jersey to make a court appearance on January 13 for the auto accident that resulted in the death of his friend Andre Bell back in the summer of 2007. I missed connecting the dots when this story first came out, but thanks to BeefySwats and Ben Zavaldi for making sure I was aware that the day he is in court the Nuggets are scheduled to play the Mavericks.
I have not seen anything definitive, but if the case is scheduled to be heard in the morning, J.R. should be able to make it back to Denver in time to play. Let’s assume it would take him an hour to get to an airport and four hours to make it to Denver International Airport and then another hour to get to the Pepsi Center (I am also assuming that Stan Kronke would find it in his heart to allow J.R. to use his private jet). That means if the proceedings are done by noon or 1:00 PM Eastern Time, J.R. would be able to make it back in time to play.
Of course, it is pretty insensitive and selfish to think about this kind of thing considering a young man lost his life and J.R. will undoubtedly be dealing with some pretty strong emotions so please pray for my soul.
Mr. Owner on the bench
Did anyone else notice that Stan Kronke was on the Nuggets’ bench for the game against the Heat? I am 100% sure I saw him in one shot heading into a timeout. I bet he was in town to have a celebration for the front office pulling off the Atkins for Petro deal to ensure the Nuggets would be under the luxury tax. I am envisioning the offices covered in huge plastic sheets as they jump up and down spray champagne all over each other.
Mr. Weems online
You can check out Sonny Weems’ performance for the Colorado 14ers from their January second game against the Tulsa 66ers by clicking here. Weems had a rough shooting night going 5-18 from the floor including 0-5 from downtown. He did tally four assists and three rebounds though. The game starts at about the 39:50 mark.
Von Wafer not cleared for takeoff
You may have seen this clip by now, but in case you missed it here is former Von Wafer’s attempt to throw down on the Celtics.
The worst part of the whole thing, other than the embarrassment, is the fact the Celtics hit a three in transition on the other end.