Note: Due to your usual staff missing in action for tonight’s game, please enjoy the guest recap and first RMC contribution from GoldenNugget!
Tonight seemed like nothing more than a glorified street-ball game, in which the goal was simply to embarrass the opponent with the most blocked shots or amazing dunks that you could; defense was certainly an afterthought – which of course, is not a typical characteristic of a championship caliber team.
I don’t normally like to include personal information into recaps, but in this situation I feel it’s appropriate given the context, so here it goes…
Being that I just moved into a new apartment, TV has been an afterthought for a while now. Every time I call the cable company they ask for some kind of credit score, but since I have none, I try to entertain the operator by singing one of the many catchy “Free Credit Score” jingles that occupied the commercials airwaves for so long. (Why I do this, I have no idea.) Usually this results in the phone operators declaring that I’m crazy and suggesting that I call a new phone company, but in typical procrastinator fashion, instead of addressing the issue head-on (apply directly to the forehead!) I took off to the nearest bar where not only could I see the game for free, but could also grab a couple drinks along the way – you know, just in case this Nuggets team fulfilled it’s year-long aspirations of matching the Wizards worst road-record in one season.
But, surprisingly enough, the Nuggets chose to go against George Karl’s usual recommendation that nothing other than a playoff game is important, and chose to capitalize on a young, inexperienced Wizards squad. Tonight resembled nothing of the Nuggets squad we are normally used to seeing. We passed the ball with more efficiency than a Carmelo Anthony-centered offense, we played half-assed defense, we dunked the ball with authority (*cough* Nene *cough*) and because of this we managed to, finally, take advantage of a weaker team on the road.
There’s no getting around tonight’s game: it was a fairly descent effort by our team. I guess at this point in time it begs the question, “Does the Melo Drama affect the Nuggets so much so to where easy games like tonight, have actually become difficult?” I would venture to say “yes,” but more than anything this game solidified the fact that the 2010/2011 Denver Nuggets are a bi-polar team at best. How else do you explain killing the Washington Bullets, errr… Wizards at home, where they have a winning record, yet only a few weeks earlier getting absolutely abused by the Kings on national TV? I think it’s fair to say, that the Nuggets this year are a team on the cusp of mentally-damaged, until the Carmelo Anthony situation is resolved.
Now, that we have some bigger-picture things out of the way, it’s time for me to tackle some of the more intricate endeavors of my night-time journey: Notes from the bar!
– “I was thinking about getting TV, but after the bartender so graciously gave me three, free shots within one hour, I might just have to re-consider.”
– “Someone please remind my again how the hell Washington has a plus .500 record at home. They look more like the local motley crew I play with, rather than an NBA caliber team.”
– “The lack of talent on the Wizards squad is atrocious. I thought Andre Blatche, Nick Young and Javall McGee were nice, until I remembered I was being optimistic.”
– “Speaking of Nick Young, that was a nice 360-degree lay-up. Too bad he couldn’t incorporate that into a do a dunk… like J.R. did last year against Minnesota. Oh, J.R., you are to athleticism what Rocky Balboa is to boxing movies.”
– “The shot to close out the second quarter was ridiculous. I guess scrubs have to earn their salary someway, and making a nearly impossible shot every once in a while probably does the trick.”
– “OK, at this point, the free shots are kicking in…
Me: Hey bartender! 68 points in the first half means I get a free shot right?!
Bartender: No, that means if you keep incorporating the score into your tab I’m going to charge you $68 more dollars for your bill.
Me [shaking]: Hey, hey, hey, take it easy, I’m a college student, remember?
– “Nene with 15 first half points! Wait… how many times have I seen this before? I’m not getting my hopes up for a career high.”
– “Blatche with 17 first half points? Wait… he’s already broken the 30-point threshold. Damnit Nene!”
– “OK, what the hell happened to Rashard Lewis? Wasn’t this the same guy that only a few years ago played the sidekick role to Dwight Howard all the way to the Finals?”
– “Another ‘Wtf happend to’ question: What the hell happened to Flip Saunders coaching style? Wasn’t this the same guy who took the Pistons to multiple playoff births on the basis of good, hard-nosed defense?”
“Why do I love Al Harrington? Someone please explain this to me. The dude gets a ridiculous contract, making way more money than he ever should of whilst the rest of our team sits in contractual limbo, yet I stand enamored with his child-like enthusiasm and perfect companionship with his fellow teammates. Maybe the Melo Drams is making me realize things like loyalty and locality are much more important than money and publicity, I don’t know. If Al Harrington’s effort made me realize this, then I again question what types of drinks they were feeding me at the bar. Oh well, we won.”
Additional Game 44 Nuggets (by Charlie)
- JR Smith didn’t play and according to our good friend Nate Timmons at Denver Stiffs, he may or may not have missed shootaround. Smith has had an up and down season highlighted by a more complete effort at both ends of the court, but coming at the expense of his scoring output. He also continues to clash with coach George Karl and lamented on twitter after the game that he “knows [the situation] won’t get any better.” JR just being JR? Who knows.
- The Nuggets shooters are finding their stroke, partly thanks to a new emphasis on passing and getting the ball to spot up shooters. This is the 11th straight game the Nuggets record 20 or more assists
- Speaking of spot up shooting, check out NBA Playbook where Sebastian Pruiti examines how Denver used Melo off the ball to get him going against Indiana. As Pruiti mentions, this is what Denver should do against defenses stacking the floor towards Melo, forcing him to dribble out his favorite high right post position and generally just packing the paint against drives to the rim. Carmelo can catch and shoot as well as anyone in the league when Denver sets him up for it. Make sure to read the excellent post at NBA Playbook for more detail
- Chauncey Billups had zero turnovers and the Nuggets only had 12 non-Melvin-Ely turnovers as a team.