Two days ago, the Miami Heat looked unbeatable as they tore through the schedule with ease, winning 19 of 20 games including 13 in a row on the road. Meanwhile, the Nuggets shaky season was starting to come off the rails. After a 3 game losing streak, Josh Kroenke and Masai Ujiri seemed all but certain to blow the lifeless roster up, punching fans in the gut by trading their 2 best players away for future assets and savings. Last night the Miami Heat were the vulnerable ones and the Nuggets were the team doing the punching.
I said in the preview yesterday that the Nuggets seemed to be catching the Heat at their weakest, off a west coast back to back in which their best player was injured. Lebron didn’t play last night and the Heat didn’t have the energy or depth to overcome it. For the second straight game, the Nuggets execute a balanced offensive attack and ride a scoring explosion from the bench to an easy blowout win.
Carmelo Anthony does not want to play for the Denver Nuggets anymore. Nothing personal, it is just time for a change. The question I am trying to come to grips with is as a fan how angry should I be?
Our good friends at StubHub have offered up two free tickets to tonight’s contest between the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat.
To enter simply email me at the roundballminingco address above and to the right of this post and tell me why you want to go to the game in 40 words or less. I will place the entrants in a hat and pick one. The winner will have their reason why they want to go posted on the site here so keep it clean and try to be a little more creative than, “I want t win free tickets to a Nuggets game.” If there are any other really good ones I will post them as well.
The cutoff time for entries will be 4:00 PM mountain time and in case you were wondering the game is tonight, but it is a late 8:30 PM start due to the fact it is the second of a TNT doubleheader.
The winner will be notified by email soon after the deadline so please do not email me asking if you won.
Good luck to everyone and thank you to StubHub for the tickets!
Update: Congratulations to Brian Lynch for winning the tickets and thanks to everyone who entered. Here is the reason why Brian wanted to go to the game:
1. Talk to Lebron and show him the correct way to use Twitter.
2. Wear My Melo Jersey one last time before I throw it away.
3. Root on the Nuggets in what could be there last meaningful game for years.
I will post some more of the better entries later on.
Despite a tough loss against the emerging LA Clippers last night, the Miami Heat are still rolling. They’ve won 20 of their last 22 games, including 13 out of 14 road contests – clearly still playing like the best in the league. Under normal circumstances, the Denver Nuggets catch their first meeting against them at a pretty favorable time – Miami played a late west coast game last night and travel to Denver with Lebron James questionable due to a sprained ankle.
We all know these are not normal circumstances, but from a purely numbers standpoint the game looks like an intriguing offensive showdown. Miami is 2nd in Offensive Efficiency and Denver is tied for fourth. The Nuggets lead the league in free throw rate with Miami coming in second. Miami is 7th in eFG% with Denver in 9th. The teams are tied for second in True Shooting percentage at 56.8, trailing only the 57.3 TS% of Boston.
Where the teams differ greatly of course is defense and pace. Miami owns the second best defense in the league, but they’re solidly first in effective field goal percentage allowed. They play at a slower pace and are built to stop fast breaking teams trying to beat them at their own game. They don’t allow threes and suffocate you with a methodical half court defense knowing they’re gonna get more foul shots and transition buckets than you by relying on D.
It’ll be interesting to see how Denver defends with Kenyon Martin back and looking as spry as he has all season last game. Him and Arron Afflalo can take some of the defensive workload off of Melo. The Heat are not a deep team, and with Lebron out are going to rely exclusively on Dwyane Wade to create offense. Mike Miller stands to get playing time if Lebron can’t go, but he hasn’t gotten into the rotation since returning from injury and Miami’s not sure how he fits in. If the Nuggets have a chance, they have to do it with smart shot selection and transition defense. If Melo and crew fall into their familiar habits of jogging back on defense while jawing at the officials, this won’t be close. They also need to attack Miami’s bench
All quiet on the trade front now, despite reports over the past few days that the rumored three team mega-trade was near the finish line. With Carmelo guaranteeing he’ll play against the Heat on TNT tomorrow and New Jersey starting a four game road trip tonight, it seems the biggest trade in NBA history and an elusive resolution to the Melodrama isn’t coming anytime soon. However even if the Nuggets and Nets take the first step of agreeing to a trade, it all hinges on the assumption he’ll sign the coveted three-year max extension in New Jersey. The newest round of rumors show that’s far from a sure thing, and opinions are wildly divided on whether or not Anthony intends to allow a New Jersey trade at all.
First, Chris Broussard cites a source who claims to have spoken directly with Melo
I have never heard him, in all the times we’ve talked, say he’s willing to go to New Jersey. Not once. Personally, I would be stunned if he went there and signed an extension.
Adrian Wojnarowski similarly doesn’t confirm anything one way or the other
Anthony has delivered mixed messages on his desire to sign a contract extension with the Nuggets. He’s told two teammates he would ultimately be fine joining the Nets, and pushed his agent, Leon Rose, to help construct a package of players to go to the Nets with him. Nevertheless, Anthony has been wildly back and forth on his willingness to compromise with the Nets over the Knicks.
What seems clear is that once again nobody knows what’s going on, nothing seems to be imminent, and we’re kicked back to a month ago where the will-he or won’t-he gossip takes precedent over any real trade details. While it’s hard to believe the Nets and Nuggets go this far down the road without finalizing some sort of trade , I’m no longer convinced it will bring the long awaited real resolution to this madness.
Chris Tomasson reports that rebuilding or not, George Karl and the Nuggets remain on track towards a 3 year extension for Coach.
As always, ride the emotional rollercoaster at Nets Daily for literally every new link on Melo
As they did against the LA Clippers last Wednesday, the Nuggets entered tonight’s contest with a healthy starting five and a full roster of players available. It’s a roster they hoped would take them back to the brink of a Finals appearance and convince Carmelo Anthony to reconsider staying in Denver when he saw how good a healthy Nuggets squad could be. With the worst defensive team in the league holding them to 20 points and taking a 12 point lead after one quarter, it was hard to avoid the grim feeling that hope for this fractured squad was absurd.
Not so fast. After a no-effort start with mixed results trying to go to Nene early, the Nuggets had nothing going for them except Arron Afflalo. They quickly fell behind by double digits and throughout the early second quarter Carmelo Anthony got aggressive and was able to keep it a semi-respectable game. At about the ten minute mark of the second, coach George Karl called for a lineup of Arron Afflalo and four subs – Ty Lawson, JR Smith, Al Harrington and Birdman. The Nuggets raced back from a double digit deficit and never looked back. After falling behind 32-18, the Nuggets then went on a 84-40 run to lead 102-72 after three. Game over
Throughout days of speculation and swirling rumors, the Nuggets have consistently held their hand close to the vest and chosen to lay low. It now appears that is also the case for all teams involved in the ongoing trade talks as well. On Tuesday, both the Nets and Nuggets intimated their current rosters will play for the foreseeable future, while the Pistons apparently remain committed and patient to facilitating a possible future deal.
The biggest hurdle to a trade likely centers around the fate of Al Harrington. Signed by Bret Bearup in the final days of Mark Warkentein’s tenure as GM, the 30 year old represents the longest and most expensive salary commitment on the Nuggets books when Carmelo is traded. Considering Wark and Bearup both find themselves ousted from Denver’s plans to reshape the roster, Harrington simply has no value if a new era of youth and reduced spending is to be ushered in. It’s confounding that Denver would ship Chauncey to NJ for mere savings, when Harrington would likely be more willing and a better fit on a 10-27 Nets team with Travis Outlaw as their only backup 4. Denver’s stance that Harrington must be included in any proposal shipping out Chauncey along with Melo is not surprising, and likely to be a major hangup in any deal until ultimately resolved.
In the meantime, the 15-20 Phoenix Suns visit the Pepsi Center tonight as Denver looks to avoid their first 4-game skid in 4 years. While the Suns have been struggling to score the ball recently, Denver may have had more trouble defending. The main story of course is how Carmelo Anthony will be received by a crowd who knows Melo’s inevitable departure could cost Denver a lot more than just him. For a man who wants to be traded, Melo’s seemed strangely surprised he could be getting his wish soon – even going into damage control mode by stating he wouldn’t want Chauncey to have to leave home, but it’s the business of basketball. Business is business, but it’s completely ruined a once-promising season of Denver basketball and Melo can no longer hide behind it to escape his part of the blame.
The New Jersey Nets are once again on the verge of a multi-team trade that would land them Carmelo Anthony. Only this time, it appears to make more sense for all parties involved. The idea is New Jersey takes on a ton of salary while upgrading its starting lineup, providing tax relief for Denver and much needed future savings for Detroit in the process. The Nuggets also acquire a younger, cheaper contingent of players highlighted by Derrick Favors, Anthony Morrow, and Devin Harris. But at what cost?
How close is Carmelo Anthony to becoming a member of the New Jersey Nets? Close enough that the Nets and Pistons “were surprised on Sunday night when Denver allowed the players included in the proposed trade to play in a game against the New Orleans Hornets.” That sounds like a deal that is all but done.