What can we take from the Denver Nuggets 119-90 dismantling of the Oklahoma City Thunder? The Nuggets were certainly due for a breakout game and the Thunder apparently forgot to drink their energy drinks this morning. The Nuggets certainly rediscovered their ability to pass, score in the paint and run the floor. However, Oklahoma City did not put up much of a battle.
In an attempt to document the expected conflagration between Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant Royce Young from Daily Thunder and I were asked to carry on an email conversation for the Daily Dime. Unfortunately, for Royce, the game was a disappointment, but we still managed to compare and contrast Melo and KD. (In case you missed it David Thorpe provided his own in depth breakdown of how Melo and Durant match up earlier today.)
After the duel between the two superstars failed to materialize Nuggets fans were still treated to some good news. Chris Andersen looked healthy again. Just two days after moving around the floor in Phoenix like an octogenarian he was spry and bouncy. All the evidence I needed to see came when Andersen stepped away from his man to challenge Russell Westbrook as he approached the rim from the right baseline. When Birdman met Westbrook in the air the point guard dished off to Birdman’s man Nick Collison. Andersen landed, recovered and leapt in time to block Collison’s point blank shot before it started on its way down. It was an impressive play and hopefully a sign that Bird’s chronic patella tendinitis will not be a problem in the near future.
As far as all the regular things we fret over from game to game such as pick and roll defense, rotations and offensive tactics, with the lack of competition I do not think there is anything to draw any hard and fast conclusions.
I guess there is one other thing we can say and that is Kenyon stop shooting from outside the paint. Please, you are killing me. He bricked a three pointer so badly off the backboard that security had to put the ball out of its misery to ease its suffering.
With little to reflect on as far as game action instead of calling it a night we will turn our attention to a question from drewjay. Should Denver be preparing to welcome Mark Blount to the team?
With the Nuggets searching for big man depth the bought out player field never quite materialized. As much fun as it was to daydream about Zydrunas Ilgauskas coming to Denver to hit shots and be really tall, there was never any real chance of that happening. He has played his entire career in Cleveland. They kept him around early in his career when it appeared he would never be able to run from one end of the floor to the other without breaking his foot and this is the best Cavs team, perhaps ever. There was never any chance he would end up anywhere else.
I had hopes of Drew Gooden becoming available, but after conflicting reports as to whether or not the Clippers were going to buy him out we found out the Clippers wanted him to stay. It makes sense for the other LA team to try to win as many games as possible to appear as a better destination for free agents. Had Gooden not been shipped from the Wizards to LA he likely would have been bought out, but alas it was not meant to be.
So who is left? Umm…how about Mark Blount and Mikki Moore? Any takers?
Considering the way the Nuggets are spending money, or should I say not spending money, the only way they will bring in another player is if that player is significantly better than one, or both of the Nuggets spare bigs, namely Malik Allen and Johan Petro. It is clear that Karl does not trust either one. They only get significant playing time when someone in front of them is injured or during blowouts.
I cannot see Blount enticing the Nuggets at all and I cannot imagine a player who has been played 15 minutes over the past 13 months coming onboard and earning any more trust than Allen has. However, with Moore there is certainly smoke. As Chris Tomasson has reported Moore is recovering from surgery to remove a bone spur on his right heel and could be ready to play be mid March.
Moore is no spring chicken at the age of 34, but he has only played in 557 games and as long as he is healthy could provide an upgrade over Malik Allen. If Moore does come to Denver it will certainly not be to play 20 minutes a night, but as a fourth big who can run the floor, bring energy off the bench and most importantly give Renaldo Balkman a run for his money in the bad hair competition he is probably worth the gamble.
Heck according to the video below Moore is a deadly shooter, great finisher, has an excellent post game and is an all around dominate force (you have to watch it simply to see where on the backboard the ball hits the backboard as he banks a turnaround jumper at the 50 second mark).
If the Nuggets pass and decide not to sign anyone I am not going to lose a second of sleep. I would much prefer not signing anyone to signing Blount. However, signing Moore would be a cheap move with little downside.
Sticking with news from Tomasson he has reported that Carmelo received an IV this morning and that he was slightly dehydrated which could help explain some of his lackadaisical play. If Melo plays like he did tonight after getting some fluids, I say hook him up to an IV every morning.
John Hollinger explains why Chauncey Billups’ 43.9% shooting percentage is historically misleading.
One more link to pass along although it is a little outdated. Sebastian over at NBA Playbook breaks down a lob play the Nuggets ran at Golden State to help ice the game last Thursday.
Additional Game 61 Nugget
Arron Afflalo hurt his thumb and reported had it x-rayed following the game, but he claims via twitter that he is fine and will play Friday.
The Return of Game Stats
I finally updated my spreadsheet and the advanced stats on the right sidebar after only three quarters of the season have passed.
Pace Factor: 98.6
Defensive Efficiency: 100.0 – OKC produced a Nuggets opponent season low FG%, 32.5%, and EFG%, 37.3%.
Offensive Efficiency: 120.6 – 30 assists on 44 makes