First off, my apologies for no recap last night as my internet service is currently being difficult. As many of you guys already saw last night, the Nuggets demolished Toronto in such a way that 90% of the game was extended garbage time (no joke). It was a solid business-like win Denver needed after dropping two straight on the road against good teams. I will say that Toronto looked tired from the get-go and didn’t stand a chance of matching the Nuggets energy from the start. Nevertheless the Nuggets didn’t mess around and put them away minutes after the game started, so in lieu of writing about that snoozer here’s a look at the advanced stats:
Tonight’s game against the Magic was just that: magical. There was magic happening in all corners at Amway Center this evening. The act of disappearing was in full effect as balls that looked to be in people’s hands suddenly were found in the laps of those in the front row. Also illusion was extremely prevalent, where feet that appeared to be in-bounds were called out. But my favorite had to the failed attempts between numerous players to try and teleport the basketball through their opponent to another teammate. Yes magic was everywhere the day after St. Patrick was honored around the world by noble citizens who paid homage to the patron saint by downing as many Jagerbombs as possible. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, “hangovers + magic” isn’t the best equation when it comes to winning basketball games. (more…)
Already with an entirely new cast of characters on hand, starting their four game road trip without Arron Afflalo and Danilo Gallinari was not the ideal way for the Nuggets to kick off the most crucial and difficult stretch of season yet. Yet the way we’ve seen this team respond to the twists and turns of a truly bizarre season keep reminding us that unconventional is hardly uncomfortable anymore. Despite a horrible start and a substandard defensive effort the Nuggets still manage one of their most impressive road wins with the fifth seed on the line against the Hornets.
A win in Energy Solutions Arena is not the cherished prize it used to be. The Utah Jazz have lost seven straight games at home, something that has not happened since 1982 (according to TNT and my memory of what was said on TNT). Even so, do not take anything away from the Denver Nuggets won once again in the new Team Play Era over Utah knocking the plummeting Jazz into tenth in the West.
It is quite strange to see these two rivals player each other now. For years we have seen the deadly Utah flex offense lead by one of the best point guards in the league picking apart the Nuggets defense with the fiery Jerry Sloan roaming the sidelines. On the Nuggets’ side it has been explosive scorers and fast paced frenetic offense. My how things have changed.
With the exception of a lethargic fourth quarter against the Blazers, the Nuggets are immediately showing promise in an area we’ve seen them struggle for years – closing games. In tonight’s ten point victory over Atlanta, the Nuggets willed themselves forward with key runs to close out quarters and stifle the Hawks momentum long enough for them to succumb to the dreaded mile high back-to-back factor.
After stumbling out of the gate offensively as they have for three games, the Nuggets fell behind by 8 before an 8-4 run brought them within four, which would have been an 8-1 run had Jamal Crawford not sunk a cold blooded difficult three at the first quarter buzzer. In the second quarter, it was a 9-4 run to briefly take the lead and close the half down one, even after Atlanta had battled fatigue to own all the momentum of the first half. In the third, it was an 18-12 Nuggets run to close and take a one point lead of their own. By the fourth, the Nuggets completed what they were building on by rarely losing the lead and using a 10-5 run to close out a double digit win. That’s how you finish a game.
It was something the Nuggets haven’t had to worry about in a very long time. With the ball, shot clock turned off and one bucket away from winning the game. If it wasn’t a straight up inbounds to Melo in isolation, it was a failed high pick and roll with Chauncey and Nene, the ball ending up in Melo’s hands anyway. Just as the Nuggets adapt their style of play to an overhauled roster, the coaches are in uncharted territory trying to re-learn how they are going to close games.
There was confusion, miscommunication, a few quizzical glances and some ugly shooting. There was also effort, passion and a Nuggets team who clearly cared more about winning than anything else. For years the Nuggets have been all about whether their talent can outweigh that of the opposition. Now after two games without an All-Star on the roster Denver does not lack talent, but we may be seeing a situation where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Hello fellow Nuggets fans across the world, my name is Kalen as you can see above. I’m proud to announce that I’ll be working with Charlie and Jeremy from here on out to try and dissect our favorite professional sports team, as well as give you the most up-to date information in the process. I’m truly honored to be a part of this blog going forward and feel I couldn’t have joined at a better time given how great our front office did with quite possibly the most difficult scenario ever handed down to a rookie GM and new owner in NBA history. The Nuggets, as I’m sure is the case with many of you, are my life and being able to write about them on a platform like this is a privilege. That’s why I promise that as long as I’m a part of the Roundball family, I’ll give everything I have to the loyal Denver Nuggets community in the most honest and thoughtful manner. I hope you all will enjoy having me on as I try and guide you through what looks to be a very bright future for our team!
Being that the biggest trade in Nuggets history just went down not too long ago, now is an exciting time to be a fan. Of course, it always hurts to say good-bye to a franchise player that brings you out of the depths of NBA irrelevancy and into playoff contention year after year — and seeing a class-act like Chauncey leave doesn’t ease the pain — but we knew this day was coming for long time. With just a few clings of some champagne glasses last summer it seems our destiny was set in motion. But now is not the time to sulk over the past, because the glory days of Denver Nuggets basketball are just getting started as far as I can see. This message was clearly sent by Masai Ujiri and Josh Kroenke withing a few days span when they somehow managed to rob the New York Knicks of Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov and an abundance of picks and other assets. On top of what great, young players we already have on our roster the new guys create a Denver Nuggets team that is even more young, athletic and most of all extremely talented. It’s yet to be seen how each man will fit into his separate role, but the sum of the parts appears beyond promising.
Once again, I just want to reiterate how excited I am to be a Nuggets fan at this moment. With all that’s gone on this year, to finally meet a conclusion and come out the other side looking as good as we do is exhilarating. For once, watching Nuggets basketball in the year of 2011 is going to be all about winning basketball games with teamwork. That’s something anyone from the highest person up in the Nuggets organization to the most average fan can be really thrilled about. So, here’s to a great second half of basketball filled with tons of heart, soul and determination! And here’s to the future of Roundball Mining Company!
“We’ll move the earth for a title.”
We were fortunate enough to exchange questions and answers with Mike from the tremendous New York Knicks blog KnickerBlogger. I asked him some specific questions about the abilities of the four Knicks that came to Denver in the Carmelo Anthony Trade and he provided some great insights.
Almost exactly eleven months ago I wrote the following:
Frankly, the chances of us seeing Melo take Manhattan are quite slim. Even so, if you’re a Nuggets booster, you might want to pray that a couple of big names take the Knicks’ money this year, just to be safe.
Fast forward to February 21, 2011 and the rumor that I could not believe I was asked to write about at the time has come to fruition. After all the rumors and hearsay we have arrived at the outcome most experts and fans alike expected. Carmelo Anthony is now a New York Knickerbocker and is free to sign his coveted extension before the current CBA expires. He found his way to the market and is going to get all the money.
Nuggets fans have had several months to come to grips with Carmelo’s departure. Even the most hardcore fans saw the writing on the wall weeks ago. As hardened to the reports as many fans became, the final news that Denver has traded away quite possibly the most talented player in franchise history brought a flood of emotion.
Updated: Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post has broken the story. A trade involving the Knicks and Minnesota Timberwolves has finally been completed.
It is a done deal in principle, with minor details to be worked out following a conference call with NBA offices tomorrow. Details are known, but minor parameters such as draft pick protections could be subject to change by then.
The Nuggets have traded Melo, Chauncey, Shelden Williams, Renaldo Balkman, and Anthony Carter to New York. They will receive Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, and Timofey Mozgoz in exchange plus draft picks. Of the included picks are New Yorks 2014 first rounder, which pending lottery protections could go to Houston in multiple scenarios, which means this pick could turn into the “first available” number one pick that New York can send out if not conveyed to Houston by 2014. Via New York, Denver also receives second round picks in 2012 and 2013 from the Golden State Warriors. The Nuggets also receive $3 million in cash considerations from the Knicks.
As part of the trade, the Knicks and Timberwolves exchange Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph for Corey Brewer. Denver facilitates the transfer of Eddy Curry to Minnesota, allowing the Nuggets to shed some $17.7 million in salary. This is more than enough to bring them below the luxury tax threshold immediately.
The deal is done. Of note is the murky status of the 2014 first rounder Denver receives from New York, the details and protections of which will not be known until the trade is approved by league officials. Anthony Carter is also slated to be traded to the Knicks despite them having two point guards ahead of him – Chauncey Billups and Toney Douglas. Anthony Carter surrenders his bird rights due to being on a minimum one year salary and he can exercise veto power on any trade, similiar to Matt Geiger and Devean George in the past. If Carter indeed invokes his power to block a trade out of Denver, the deal will still be completed with minor changes. It’s likely Melvin Ely would be exchanged instead. For now, expect AC to go to New York.
It’s an incredibly sad ending to the second Chauncey Billups era in Denver. Thank you so much for your hard work, dedication, and loyalty Chauncey.
Reaction, analysis and more to come from your RMC staff as the dust settles. Share your thoughts and memories here.