Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 123, New Jersey Nets 115

New Jersey Nets 115 Final
Recap | Box Score
123 Denver Nuggets
Nene, C 30 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-4 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 9 PTS | -2
Nene had a hard time in the second half. Early on he was collecting boards and making aggressive moves towards the basket but after sitting for an extended period of time he started committing turnovers like they were going out of style. Still, nine rebounds, four assists, four blocks and two steals are invaluable numbers coming from your starting center.
Danilo Gallinari, SF 32 MIN | 7-11 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 22 PTS | +5
Gallinari was on pace to having a career night, scoring 17 points in the first half, though his production nearly came to a halt in the final two quarters of the game. Nevertheless, it was refreshing seeing him drive the lane while making solid basketball plays all over the court. Gallinari has now played extremely well since he ceased firing off countless 3-pointers early on in the season. His game is truly becoming diversified before our eyes.
Timofey Mozgov, C 13 MIN | 2-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | -3
Mozgov didn’t play much of a role against the Nets but he didn’t make any glaring mistakes either, which is undoubtedly the most important aspect of analyzing his game these days. If he can continue limiting his “rookie mistakes” he might eventually be able to make a positive impact on the game rather than just running around the court with his hands flailing in the air.
Andre Miller, PG 38 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 12 AST | 12 PTS | +8
Miller did just about everything you could want and more from your backup point guard (even though he really isn’t one) when given the opportunity to start. He did take another ill-advised 3-pointer but his 12 points and 12 assists made everyone forget. Miller also did a great job of soothing the pace of the game when the Nets threatened to forge a comeback.
Arron Afflalo, SG 30 MIN | 6-14 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 19 PTS | -4
Finally, after playing playing one-sixth of the entire 66-game season, Afflalo performed the way his new salary suggests he should. The value of his deadly 3-point shooting simply cannot be overstated, especially in tight games. As always, an aggressive Afflalo is an effective Afflalo. Though some of his drives to the hole were lackluster, there’s no doubt that specific offensive mentality contributed to his season high-tying 19 points. Let’s hope the real Arron Afflalo has finally stood up.
Al Harrington, PF 29 MIN | 5-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | +9
Harrington has no doubt cooled since his sizzling hot start, but his production has not drastically wavered to this point. Although you’d like to see more rebounds and a few more points, shooting above .500 percent for the fifth time in the last six games is always welcomed.
Chris Andersen, C 18 MIN | 3-5 FG | 3-3 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | +10
Chris “Birdman” Andersen might have officially earned himself the “Box of Chocolates Inconsistent Player of the Year” award through only 11 games. Against the Nets he was the old “Birdman” who Nuggets fans have come to know as a spark plug who thrives off superb help-defense and high-energy plays. It’s anyone’s guess as to which Birdman will show up on any given night, but Wednesday it was clear: Birdman still has wings.
Corey Brewer, SF 16 MIN | 7-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 19 PTS | +1
Brewer did not fail in impressing yet again. He scored more points than he logged minutes and missed only one shot. His three 3-pointers greatly assisted the Nuggets in avoiding a furious Nets run and his defense was just as effective as it has been all year. Karl recently stated that Brewer should be seeing more minutes and tonight he proved why.
Rudy Fernandez, SG 28 MIN | 5-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 8 AST | 15 PTS | +10
Fernandez had by far his best game as a Denver Nugget Wednesday against the Nets. His shot was falling, he was extremely energetic, but most importantly he played the best defense he’s played all year — evident by his four steals on the night. If Fernandez can play like this every game, the Nuggets will be a totally different team.
Julyan Stone, G 6 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 PTS | +6
Stone made his season debut and though he only received six minutes of playing time, it was still six minutes of precisely-executed basketball with no turnovers and three assists. Stone looked as if he’d been an active part of the rotation all year long and played tight one-on-one defense against one of the NBA’s best point guards. Should Ty Lawson or Andre Miller suffer injuries in the future, Nuggets fans should feel at ease knowing Stone is ready to contribute immediately.

Free Agency Digest: Day Two

For those that followed our last installment yesterday, this is more of the same. News and commentary updated here as it comes out. Feel free to follow Jeremy, Kalen and Charlie on twitter to find out when we post an update. Not to get anyone’s hopes up but rumors are out that more decisions are expected today, particularly in the case of Nene to the New Jersey Nets.

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Examining the 2011-12 schedule and Carmelo Anthony’s return to Denver

The 2011-12 NBA schedules were released early Tuesday morning in the event that an NBA season does in fact transpire next year. The Nuggets, as usual, will open up on the road against a heated division rival (Portland) on national TV. Two weeks later, Carmelo Anthony will return to Denver in a non-Nuggets uniform on November 16. The crowd reaction that night will likely be the best gauge to date of how the Nuggets fan-base feels in regards to Anthony’s departure from Denver. Would you boo? Would you cheer? Would you — as I would — sit in silence, counterbalanced by an equal amount of appreciation and disappointment? Or would you simply, and nonchalantly, clap slowly just as you would any other player? (more…)

2010-11 Game 82: Utah Jazz 107, Denver Nuggets 103

After a valiant effort in which the Nuggets only played seven players for the majority of the night, the Utah Jazz finally pulled away in the waning seconds of the game to win the season finale on it’s home floor.  (more…)

Someone is a Genius

I do not know who made the call, but I am supremely impressed with someone.  Whoever came up with the idea of trading Timofey Mozgov along with another Knick teammate, according to SI.com it would be Danilo Gallinari, from Denver to New Jersey may have ensured a deal will be completed and will be responsible for putting an end to all this Melo hysteria.

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Carmelo Anthony Trade Watch – Any Day Now…

According to reports that are reportedly verified by actual reporters Carmelo Anthony has met with groups from the New York Knickerbockers and New Jersey Nets and both teams have submitted their “best” offers and that brings us to what will undoubtedly be the climax of this side show that has kept players, fans and front offices alike entrapped for months.

Denver has three options at this point:

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2010-2011 Game 48 Recap: Denver Nuggets 99 New Jersey Nets 115

Box Score | Highlights

As I write this, the Nuggets are down by 18 in New Jersey and will lose to the Nets by a yet to be determined amount. One thing is sure, and that is that the Nuggets play is so fundamentally poor that it’s hard to make the argument that Denver is actually a good, contending team simply going through a lull of poor play. If that’s indeed the case, it’s been a frequently occurring lull lasting the entirety of the season. Despite facing the third worst offense in the league, the Nuggets again allow their opponent to shoot lights out in another embarrassing defeat that’s no longer the least bit surprising to anyone.

During a brief road resurgence in which the offense got rolling, the Nuggets settled into their familiar road habits and lose the last two to arrive at a predictable 8-15 record away from home. Fundamentally, the Nuggets don’t run anything different or drastically change their style on the road. They simply make a ton of selfish, mental mistakes out of frustration and fall into the mindset of other inexperienced and mentally weak teams that suffer similar problems on the road.

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Making Sense of Mikhail Prokhorov

With the announcement on Wednesday that the New Jersey Nets have shredded their lottery ticket for the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes I am left with more questions than answers.  In an attempt to work through my befuddlement I will do a question and answer with myself because I do not find anyone more interesting than me.

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The Carmelo rumors devolve into chaos

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.

Additional Links

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

Examining Denver’s reluctance as NJ trade looms

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?

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Dissecting and Digesting the Proposed Carmelo Anthony Trade to the New Jersey Nets

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.

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Merry Christmas Nuggets Fans…and some other thoughts

First of all I’d like to wish a Merry Christmas to RMC’s founder and main man Jeremy Wagner for bringing me on board and running THE best Nuggets blog out there-it’s been a great couple of months and I’m looking forward to many more in the future.

I’d also like to say thank you and Happy Holidays to all of our devoted readers here on Roundball Mining Company. Without you guys all this is just words on a page-here’s to a great 2011 for the Nuggets!

But now for the juicy stuff. A week ago today I had the good fortune of attending the Nuggets-T-Wolves game at the Pepsi Center, and for the first time in my 22 years I got to sit courtside at an NBA game (big shout out to John and Liz Fitzgerald for the seats), right next to Mrs. Chauncey Billups nonetheless! I’ve seen hundreds (probably thousands) of games on TV and many up in the nosebleeds, but let me tell you, if you’ve never seen a game from that up close, you get a chance to appreciate professional basketball like never before.

My girlfriend asked me who she should watch out for on the other team, and I said number 42, aka mister Kevin Love. After dropping a 30-30 game earlier this season, I was hoping for another masterful performance on this night (and a Nuggets victory of course), and he (and the game) did not disappoint. K-Love scored a career-high 43 points to go with 17 boards, but the Wolves rally late fell short and the Nuggets won 115-113, a margin that should have been much larger. No Chauncey, Bird, or K-Mart was disappointing but J.R. had a decent offensive game, Afflalo added 17 and Ty, “The Law”-son was the player of the game, dropping 23 points to go along with 9 dimes and 3 steals. As quick as the guy looks on television, triple it from up close. He had his way with first Luke Ridnour, then Johnny Flynn, getting to the hoop with ease.

But alas, not all was merry on this night, as the Nuggets bigs (especially Nene) were in foul trouble the whole game and were dominated down low by Love and Kosta Koufos. Yes, Kosta Koufos.

Yet the Nuggets did just enough to win, and I will again emphasize a point I made in my last post- this can be an above average NBA team without Carmelo Anthony. If they can get a solid return for Melo, a trade should be the way to go. I know you may want to hold onto those number 15 jerseys for as long as possible, but we have to face the reality that Melo will sign with the Knicks this summer (lockout pending) and that getting nothing in return is not an acceptable end result.

Who Should Denver trade Melo to?

Here’s the rub Nuggets fans. Melo wants to go to New York. New Jersey has the pieces to trade for him but doesn’t want a three-month rental. And the contenders that might (Dallas, Orlando) either don’t have the pieces or won’t part with them. So let’s analyze the possible scenarios:

Melo and Renaldo Balkman to Dallas for Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and Dallas’ 2011 1st-round pick

Looking at this trade on paper it might be as good as the Nuggets could do. Yes it may require another draft pick from Dallas, and yes Denver would probably have to trade either K-Mart or Birdman in a separate trade to free up the frontcourt logjam, but it could work. Dallas adds Melo to an already solid core of Kidd, Nowitzki, Chandler, Terry and Marion and gets rid of Haywood’s contract and uninspired play (and allows youngsters Ian Mahinmi and Alexis Ajinca to see time at backup center). Denver gets a solid starting three to replace Melo (which keeps J.R. as the super-sixth man), and can move Nene to power forward (where he truly belongs) alongside Haywood in the starting lineup.

Melo and Shelden Williams to Chicago for Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, Kyle Korver and 2011 1st-round pick

Korver has to be thrown in to make the salaries work, but also gives Denver a three-point shooter off the bench (Korver is much more efficient from downtown than J.R.) that they could throw into another possible trade with K-Mart or Bird. Obviously Nuggets fans would like to see Joakim Noah wear the powder blue and gold but it’s evident that the Bulls will not part with their young center. In this deal the Nugs would get stuck with Deng’s extremely bloated contract, but also get a decent small forward who can score along with another solid player in Gibson who can play at either the 3 or 4 (and is an upgrade over Forbes off the bench). I’d prefer the Dallas trade over this one, but if Chicago offers this before the deadline, Denver might have to take it (if there are no better offers).

Melo to Philadelphia for Andre Iguodala, Darius Songalia and two first-round picks

OR

Melo to New Jersey for Derrick Favors, Troy Murphy and three first-round picks

This is when things get interesting. If you’re Masai Ujiri, would you rather have Igoudala (who becomes the small forward and team headliner for the foreseeable future), Songalia’s $5 million expiring contract (to go along with Smith [$6 million], Martin [$16 million] and possibly Billups [$13 million team option]) and picks, or the young big man in Favors, Murphy’s $11 million expiring deal, and possibly a third first-rounder? I predict New Jersey (who now has five first-round picks in the next two drafts) will throw a third first-rounder in to sweeten their offer, which may end up being as good as Denver will get. It’s either one of these two options, or take 50¢ on the dollar from the Knicks. Which brings us to this:

Melo and Renaldo Balkman to New York for Wilson Chandler, Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph and Knicks’ 2011 1st-round pick

As each day passes, Nuggets fans get closer and close to this becoming a reality. The Nuggets just don’t have a lot of leverage here (the impending lockout and Melo leaving $65 million on the table being the only reason for Melo to sign an extension) and knowing there’s a 99.9% chance he will bolt to New York this summer, Denver may as well take what they can get from the Knickerbockers. Now, if the Nets can convince Melo to sign an extension with them or the Sixers, Mavs, et al, are interested in a short-term lease then Denver may be able to get a better haul. I just don’t see it happening. Chandler is playing some great ball right now and I see him as a better fit with Denver than Gallinari (who wants to stay in New York); Randolph is getting absolutely no playing time with D’Antoni (surprisingly) and could fill in for Harrington and/or J.R. at the backup forward positions; and Curry’s 500 pound corpse (an exaggeration, but not by much) is clearly a salary dump.

But back to Randolph for a second. If the kid is given a chance, he could pan out to something. Those glimpses of explosiveness he showed at Golden State were not a fluke, and if his mid-range game can stay consistent, he could be a heck of a player. Could be the steal of this trade if given the chance by Coach Karl.

Anyways, hope you all have a great holiday weekend and hopefully the Nugs can pull out a tough road win tonight at the Thunder. Westbrook has been MVP-caliber at the point so far, Durant is on pace to win another scoring title and their role guys (like Collison, Ibaka, Green) do their jobs really well. These two squads always play each other tough and the outcome usually comes down to the wire (who can forget Melo’s game winner in Oklahoma City two years ago). Again, this one could come down to the play of Nene in the post, whose erratic play ranges from All-Star one game to fouling out with a 5 point, 5-rebound line the next (which he did against Minnesota). No Melo tonight, but J.R. should fill the scoring void nicely, and with K-Mart and Chauncey back in the starting lineup, I predict a Nuggets victory with a defensive stop at the finish-here’s hoping that’s not the eggnog talking! 

Dissecting the Four Team Carmelo Anthony Trade

If you have been following the bonanza of Carmelo Antony trade rumors that are exploding all over the internet the past 48 hours, I am sure you are wondering what you can believe and what you cannot.  The real truth is that no one person knows exactly what is going on.  This much is true, the Nuggets are set to receive Derrick Favors, Andrei Kirilenko and a pair of first round picks for Carmelo Anthony in a four team deal that also includes the Charlotte Bobcats.

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A View of the Nuggets From a Nets Fan

Sebastian over at Nets are Scorching, a member of the TrueHoop Network, has prepared a video scouting report on the Nuggets.  I recommend you check it out to get a feel for what an opposing fan thinks of some of the Nuggets players.

By the way, there is no joy in playing a team that is 0-13.  Devin Harris is back and the Nets are hungry.

2009-10 Game 5: Denver Nuggets 122 – New Jersey Nets 94

I realize the Denver Nuggets ran the New Jersey Nets off the floor last night 122-94. I know they are 5-0 for the first time since Love Boat was considered good television. I get that the game was the second night of a back to back. Even so, I am a hoops perfectionist. I look at every game and compare it to what needs to be done to beat the best teams in the NBA. If you are looking for someone to cheer and be happy with a win against a bad team, I will probably frustrate you. Just know that everything I say is with the intention of seeing the Nuggets win an NBA championship.

With that being said, the biggest question I have about last night’s game is how difficult is it to change your defensive scheme? Throughout the first half it was clear the only way the Nets could score was by driving to the rim. The lineup they had on the floor could not shoot to get out of a Jane Austin movie. However, the Nuggets had no response to New Jersey’s dribble drive attack. The perimeter defenders were getting beat regularly and the bigs and weak side defense was always slow to help.

The difference between the Nuggets’ defense in the second half compared to the first was like the difference between a Jane Austin movie and a Michael Bay movie. The Nuggets perimeter defenders were laying off their men daring them to shoot a jumper while the bigs and weak side defenders were all standing as close to the lane as possible ready to help. The Nets had a more difficult time scoring and when Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups both heated up in the third quarter the game was over.

My question is what took so long? Do you really need a 12 minute halftime break to change your defensive plans? How long did it take you to read the paragraph above? Thirty seconds? Go find a friend and time how long it takes you to say, “We are getting beat off the dribble and these guys cannot shoot. Sag off on the man with the ball on the perimeter and everyone else get a foot in the lane and be ready to help?” Could you effectively communicate that idea during a two minute television timeout? I hate to toot my own horn, but I coached middle school players and we made bigger adjustments than that in less time.

In fact I will go a step further and say that you should have had that arrow in your quiver as a contingency plan entering the game. The only two players I am worried about making threes on the Nets’ roster are Bobby Simmons and Courtney Lee. Knowing the Nets are a team full of slashers instead of shooters shouldn’t you be ready to implement a clog the lane style defense from the get go?

The other primary observation I have is that if Anthony Carter plays more than a handful of minutes a game after J.R. Smith returns I am going to swallow my tongue. Part of me wonders if George Karl is using Smith’s absence to get Carter as much run a possible before he becomes a fixture on the courtside padded folding chairs. It cannot be more obvious that Arron Afflalo and Ty Lawson are superior players to AC. I still think there will be nights where Denver may need Carter’s defense off the bench, I still think about what an amazing job he did on Dwyane Wade last season in Miami, and I think it will be important that he can enter a game like that without tired legs. Last night he stayed in front of his man like I would stay in front of an oncoming train, only for a split second.

Additional Nuggets from Game 5

  • I told you you would like Afflalo. He is not going to shoot so well from three every night, but he has shown more of an ability to get to the rim than I thought he could and his defense is solid. He will provide a great combo at the shooting guard with J.R. Smith.
  • When you are watching Lawson, look at how accurate his passes are. Whether Lawson is set or on the move almost all of his passes arrive right in the shooting pocket of the receiver. You hear a lot about shooters being in rhythm. One thing that can take a shooter out of his rhythm is to have to reach high or low for a pass. Lawson does a great job of not breaking a shooter’s rhythm.
  • I guess we cannot dismiss Carmelo’s MVP candidacy after a couple of rough shooting nights, but he is not going to be Western Conference Player of the Week two weeks in a row. I was hoping to see him do a little bit more on defense or to set up his teammates when he was struggling, but I though he did adjust in the second quarter by trying to get his shots at the rim. Unfortunately he had two or three roll off and another was blocked. Those shots started dropping in the second half, including a left handed lay in along the baseline. After he hit a jumper or two I think he believed he had his shot back and it led to a couple bad shots from the perimeter. Still Melo had a solid all around game and did a good job of not letting his first half struggles ruin his second half too.

Game Stats
Pace Factor: 98.5 – On the high end
Defensive Efficiency: 95.4 – Very good despite the first half issues
Offensive Efficiency: 123.9 – Also very good, the free throws and hot three point shooting helps

Take this with you: Denver has enjoyed some terrible thee point shooting from their opponents the past two games. The Pacers and Nets combined to make only five of 37 three point attempts. At some point the Nuggets will face a team as hot as those two were cold.

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