Tag Archives: denver nuggets

Color Me Purple The Nuggets are in the Playoffs

At the beginning of the season we made predictions on how we thought the Western Conference would shake out. By and I swung and missed on a few picks like the Clippers, Jazz, Warriors, and Rockets, but we were right about the easy picks aka the top 5 teams. I guess I did write that I wished I included Memphis on the predictions a month into the year, but that’s a moot point. Anyways, the season is nearing it’s end, and the playoff teams seem set, except for seeding. Seriously though, does it look like anyone will beat the Lakers in the west? I can’t say I feel like anyone will beat them, not even the Sonics who I feel like could beat them, but won’t. We all know deep down that the Lakers will be in the Finals no matter who they are matched up against in a week and a half.

The real reason for this post was that the Sportschump was very adamant that we were horribly wrong for leaving the Nuggets out of the playoff picture. They secured a spot a few days ago, and look like they should be the #5 seed. I’m sure he’d be the first to admit that Denver has made the playoffs in a different way than he or anyone expected (without Melo), but nonetheless he was right and I was wrong. The Nuggets have been a very interesting team this season since the Melo trade. It’s weird seeing a team actually use 10 of it’s players every night. Especially since all are getting significant minutes in a guess who’s playing tonight game of musical chairs. Karl goes with the hot hand. If you’re playing well, you play 40 minutes. If you struggle, you’re only playing 15-20. It’s something you rarely see in the NBA, which makes them the anti-big three. They are all about the team over the individual. It’s a good reason to root for them in the playoffs, but if they end up playing the Sonics in the first round I guess I won’t be on that bandwagon…

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Great NBA Playoff Moments

I’m watching the Warriors vs. Their Old Mascot on ESPN and it hit me that both of these teams represent the two biggest playoff upsets in Western Conference Playoff history: The Warriors over the Mavs and the franchise formerly known as Seattle lost a 5 game series to the #8 seeded Nuggets. Immediately it took me back to that 1994 series. I was a huge fan of that Denver squad, led by Dikembe Mutombo, LaPhonso Ellis, and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. My favorite under the radar player was speedster Robert Pack, the ex-USC player and back up point guard. I went to youtube to find a video recap, and found a pretty good one, but I got bored. I didn’t need a 5 minute recap…. there’s only about 5 seconds I need to see. The only part I need to see is when Mutombo grabs that last rebound and lets time expire, at which point he falls to ground clutching the ball with both hands, and smiling like the happiest grandpa on the planet. And this is when he was just 28, allegedly. He almost looks out of this world, and perhaps he is, given his debated age, but I’ve still seen few human moments in my life that compare to him since this display. The Nuggets went on to take the Jazz to seven games in the second round.


NBA Has Many Issues, But This is a Big One

Carmelo (or the media) made it known that he will not be keeping his talents in Denver past this season. He was offered the max three year extension adding about $65M onto his contract to stay with the Nuggets, but all the reports I can find seem to think that since he hasn’t signed it, he isn’t going to. Could be true, could be rumors, but either way it doesn’t sound like Melo is all that into repping the mile high city anymore. Since he has until July of 2011 to sign the extension, I’m not sure why everyone is so sure he will pass up the money. I mean, what if they happen to catch lightning in a bottle and come to terms on a CBA way ahead of schedule? What if Melo finds out he would only be able to make around $10M per year unless he signs his extension before the old CBA expires? Would that make Melo sign his extension and stay since he knows he’d never get the same type of guaranteed money again? I have no idea, nor should I speculate since I’m not an agent or a player that gets to make that kind of decision. All I know is the landscape for the NBA has forever changed in the wake of Lebron’s ill advised decision. The league is already top heavy. Just looking back at the last few decades, the league was either ruled by the Celtics, Lakers, Bulls or Spurs (it feels weird putting the Spurs in there with the other three, but no denying what they did in the Duncan era). The NBA tries hard to preach that there is parody, and I felt that we were getting some parody after the Shaq/Kobe three-peat with new teams winning each year eliminating repeats for a little bit there, but now the landscape feels a lot more clear on who the favorites are again after the Lakers just went back to back. Now, once again isn’t much parody, and it will continue to go that way if superstars keep leaving their teams to join multiple superstars in another uniform. The hostage style takeovers of these teams during contract extensions and free agency is getting a little ridiculous. I feel like the players have all of the power, and while it’s hard to argue that they shouldn’t have the power since they are drawing the crowds, but I think we’ve fallen too far that way. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but give franchises that have the top flight players more power to be able to keep them there or at least make it much tougher for them to decide to leave. Continue reading


Four Game Fours, Four Series at 3-1

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Sunday featured a full docket of NBA Playoff games to keep fans busy. I’m a little over 7/8 of the way through the quadruple header, and I’m going out on a limb to assume the Jazz will hold on to their 20 point lead at the time of posting. First, Miami was able to stay alive thanks to the heroic effort of Dwyane Wade. I got a sense of overexposure dating back to the Heat’s last Championship run – Wade was everywhere and got all the calls. But now that his team is a lower seed again, I’ve come to appreciate, once again, the will and ability of one of the game’s great players. D-Wade single-handedly took over the fourth quarter with a barrage of clutch baskets. He finished with 46 to make sure the Heat held on to this one to send the series back to Boston for at least one more game.

In Chicago, the Cavs ran away from the Bulls despite a monstrous effort from Joakim Noah. I had all the doubts in the world about this kid coming out of Florida. I didn’t see him ever becoming anything more than a role player, but today, he was the Bulls best player on the floor. Noah put up 21 points to go with 20 rebounds, and repeatedly came up with big buckets when other Bulls couldn’t. Problem is, too often were the times no one else could come through. On the other side of the ball, Lebron James was dominant once again, posting his fifth career postseason triple-double with 37 pts, 12 reb, and 11 ast. Mo Williams chipped in a couple huge three pointers and finished with 19.

In San Antonio, the 7th seed Spurs took a stronghold on their series with the Mavs, notching a 92-89 win to send the series back to Dallas with the home team in a 3-1 deficit. George Hill had a breakout game with 29 points to lead the way for the Spurs. The Mavs meanwhile looked like the same familiar disappointing team that continually fails to show up in the postseason. Jason Terry led a respectful comeback attempt, but the Spurs showed that they’re still the better team when the games mean something.

There’s still a lot of basketball left to be played in Utah, but barring a miraculous fourth quarter, the Jazz look poised to take a 3-1 lead back to Denver with three chances to close out the series. Deron Williams is building upon his legacy, further cementing his status as one of the top point guards in the league. Also, Carlos Boozer is showing that he can still be a dominating force in the post, something that teams with cap space will certainly be looking to add to their roster in the upcoming offseason.


Rodney Rogers And The Greatest 9 Seconds Ever

While Reggie Miller’s back to back three pointers in the waning seconds of a game at Madison Square Garden will be forever remembered, there was another triad of triples that often goes forgotten. Not in my mind, though. I feel like I was watching the game when it happened, but I can’t imagine a Nuggets-Jazz game on national television around that time, so there’s a good chance I just saw the highlights and later came to believe I was watching it live. Regardless of the circumstance, Rogers’ 9 seconds of amazing is one of my greatest memories from the NBA glory days. I was a huge Nuggets fan back then, largely on the heels of their huge first round playoff upset of the Seattle SuperSonics the previous year. I loved guys like Dikembe Mutombo, Chris Jackson aka Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, LaPhonso Ellis, and of course Robert Pack. I also liked Rodney Rogers coming out of Wake Forest, but I could never really make up my mind. I liked his game, but he became more and more of a spot up shooter outside the arc, despite having one of the most impressive frames of anyone on the court. Perhaps this game is what convinced him that he should be a strictly three point shooter, I don’t know. What I love best about this clip is the third basket. He gets the ball and then seeks out the three point line. I also love his teammate, presumably Reggie Williams, grabbing him out of excitement, even though Rogers had to get back on D.

Consider this an RFP of sorts. Rogers hasn’t been away for very long, but some might not know that a little over a year ago, he was severely injured in a dirt bike crash. I don’t know what a 6’7″, 260 lb man was doing on a dirt bike, but that’s not for me to judge. He is now paralyzed from the shoulders down. Add to that, I also learned that his father left him when he was little, his mother suffered a near-fatal car crash when he was 17, that put her in a coma for two weeks and hospitalized her for three months, and his step father passed away two years later. So, despite my mixed feelings about Rodney Rogers the basketball player, the man has paid his dues, and the fact that he can’t, and probably never will be able to walk, just makes this 9 seconds all that much more sweet.


Doin NBA Power Rankings

Thank you Fanhouse! You’ve given me the inspiration to do some power rankings. I couldn’t believe what their power rankings looked like, I mean really!?! I’m as big of a Laker hater there is out there, but putting the Mavs at numero uno over the Cavs and the Lake show is a little bold!! I’m not sure what Brett over at Fanhouse is smoking, but I need to get some! Anyways, here’s how I see the top 16 teams in the league at this point in the season.

#1 Los Angeles Lakers – They don’t have the best record in the league, but having Kobe sit out for a little will help them. Not missing a beat in the win column keeps them atop these rankings. They will most likely cruise to the Western Conference finals before they are truly tested. John Canzano at the Oregonian might have convinced me that they could be tested by the Blazers in the first round, but I won’t get my hopes up at this point of an early Lake Show exit.

#2 Cleveland Cavaliers – Best record in the league, and a very close 2nd to the champs. Is it a big deal that Shaq is out? No, but in case anyone forgot, they have Lebron. You could put him on the Bucks right now, and get through the first couple playoff rounds, so I’m not buying that the loss of the Diesel is that big of a deal at this point. If he ends up missing more time than expected, that might be another story. Lebron is playing in a different league than everyone else, he doesn’t need Shaq.

#3 Orlando Magic – Vince looks like he finally is fitting in, and the Magic are playing their best basketball of the year. If they keep playing like they have, they could be just as scary as Cleveland in the Eastern Conference. Stan Van Gundy reminds me of Rex Ryan in the NFL. He’s a little unpredictable and unstable, but if you were caught in a fight you would gladly take them on your side.

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Trojan Enz Boner of the Week Award

I’ve watched a lot of basketball in the last three decades, but I’ve never seen this. Clearly I’m not alone either. Check out this clip of Tyreke Evans’ airball, which JR Smith thinks goes in. As a result, he steps out of bounds and passes it in to Billups.


Doin NBA Power Rankings

Surprisingly we haven’t done any power rankings for hoops this year, so we were about due for this post! We’re approaching the halfway point in the season, and this is how we think the top 16 looks as of today.

1. Los Angeles Lakers – As negative as we are about the Lakers on Doin Work, we respect them. Aside from losing to their freeway rivals Wednesday, the Lake Show still have the best record in the league, and only have 7 losses on the season. I watch them more than I want to, and they’ve had a few injuries, but if Kobe is in the lineup they seem to find a way to win. Their defense might be a concern going forward, but when Ron and Pau are both healthy and back in the lineup they should be solid in the defensive department again. Bynum has been stepping up in a major way.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers – I’m not really sure how the Cavs lost to Charlotte, but other than that mini-speed bump they’ve been very consistent since destroying the Lakers on Christmas. I have a feeling that Nike could get their lame MVPuppet match up this year. It’s sad that I think beginning to be less of a Lebron fan because of those commercials!

3. Boston Celtics – No contending team outside of Portland has more injuries to key guys than the Celtics. Even without Rondo, KG, and Pierce they somehow beat a Toronto team that is playing surprisingly well lately. I guess it’s not a surprise for the leagues oldest team is having injury problems. I’m sure they’re just hoping that they are healthy at the right time.

4. Dallas Mavericks – If the playoffs started today, the Mavs would have the #2 seed. I was actually surprised to see this, but it’s true! Cuban has reigned over the Mavs for a decade now, and seems like he’s pushing the right buttons with his squad this year. They may have stunk up the court against the Lakers, but they beat all the teams they are supposed to and are deeper than I imagined they would be.

5. Orlando Magic – Matt Barnes has been playing some great ball since being put in the starting rotation. Unfortunately for the Magic, he has been their best player as of late and they don’t look like a very deep team anymore. Coach Van Gundy thinks they are in a rut, and it seems like he’s right as they’ve lost three straight. If guys don’t know their roles on the team, it always leads to unhappy players…

6. Denver Nuggets – I’m not sure how the Nuggets are hanging onto their division lead, but they are without Chauncey and Melo. The refs gave them a gift of a foul against the Warriors. They better watch out though, because the Blazers are closing in fast, and have overcome many more injuries than these Nuggets.

7. Portland Trailblazers – Can you say enough good things about Brandon Roy. He’s the ultimate team player. He didn’t have huge stats in the beginning of the year because the team didn’t need him as much. Now that 80% of the team is on the IR he’s playing with D-Leaguers and still has this Blazers team hunting down Denver for the division lead. Roy put up a stinker against the Clips, but if Kobe gets a pass, so does he!

8. Phoenix Suns – This might be too high for the Suns, but screw it. They have beat the best in the league and seem to lose to the worst. I really don’t know what to make of them, since they are so inconsistent, but as long as Nash is running the show they will win. If Richardson can get a little bit more consistent, I like where this team is going.

9. San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs started off the year slow, but as is the case every year, they’re right in the thick of things now. Winners of 12 of their last 15, the Spurs haven’t been flashy, but rank second in the league in FG% and third in 3PT%. Tim Duncan is averaging nearly 20 and 10.

10. Atlanta Hawks – The Hawks have stumbled as of late, dropping 5 of their last 7, but they have plenty of talent to carry them into the playoffs. With Josh Smith continuing to mature with each game, and Jamal Crawford finding his stride as a bench player, they simply need to keep pace in the top half of the Eastern Conference standings and they can be a dangerous playoff team once again.

11. Utah Jazz – It’d be easy to chalk up the Jazz’ early struggles to injuries, but they haven’t really had many. Carlos Boozer has played all 35 games, while Deron Williams and Mehmet Okur have missed a combined 7 games. As long as Williams’ wrist injury doesn’t linger all season long, Utah should find themselves right in the thick of the playoff race.

12. Houston Rockets – The Rockets have been proving doubters wrong all season so far, and despite their current three game losing streak, they’re sitting pretty at 20-16. Those three losses have come at the hands of the Hornets, Lakers, and Suns, all on the road. They’ve been beating the teams they’re supposed to. In this league, if you do that, you’ll find yourself in playing in the postseason. Houston currently sits in the 7th spot, but only by a half a game. In fact, only 3 games separate them from the 12th spot right now.

13. Oklahoma City Thunder – A trendy preseason pick to make the playoffs, the Sonics have not disappointed. Kevin Durant has carried the load, leading the team in scoring, rebounding, steals, and blocks. Their 19-16 record is impressive enough, but what really stands out is their 10-8 record on the road. The only teams in the West with worse home records are Minnesota and Golden State. It’s too bad they’re in OKC, as I’m sure the Seattle fans would provide them a much better home court advantage.

14. Miami Heat – The Heat were hot, no pun intended, to start the season but have since cooled off. Nonetheless, they’re still lingering around the .500 mark, which historically would get you in the playoffs in the East. Dwyane Wade should also garner some MVP attention should Miami finish in the top half of the standings. He’s averaging 27 pts, 5 reb, and 6 ast per game.

15. New Orleans Hornets – Riding a four game win streak, the Hornets are now over .500 for the first time this season at 17-16. That’s not good enough for the playoffs in the Western Conference, but with Chris Paul back healthy, they’ve got to like their chances to pass up Houston and/or Oklahoma City before the season ends.

16. Toronto Raptors – Let’s face it, this could be any team here at #16. The Raptors haven’t exactly impressed this season, but they’re still right in the thick of things. The Chris Bosh farewell tour is going strong. Now, if only Jose Calderon could regain his form, Toronto could have a good shot at knocking off a higher seed in the first round of the playoffs. I wouldn’t count on it though.


Blazers and Nuggets Battling It Out to Challenge the Lakers

So far, the start of the NBA season has been somewhat of a disappointment.  Both Cleveland and Boston as well as the Lakers and Clippers all looked like they were still tuning up for the season on opening night.  The Rockets waited three quarters before showing up against the Blazers, and many other games fell short of expectations.  Earlier tonight, the Bulls handled the Spurs with little resistance.  All that came to a head later tonight when the Blazers and Nuggets tipped off.  So far, this has easily been the best nationally televised game of the young season.  Not only do you have the usual suspects, e.g. Brandon Roy, Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, and Lamarcus Aldridge, but also making their presence felt are newcomers Andre Miller and Ty Lawson.  This is the first game I’ve seen this season that had a competitive feel to it.  At the time of writing, Denver has a 93-91 lead with just over a minute to go in the game.

Coach Mac, why is this guy still in the game? He's 0-3 from the field and 0-2 from the line!

This got me thinking, are we watching the 2nd and 3rd best teams in the Western Conference?  The Spurs look like they don’t care, and instead are waiting until next year for their once-every-four-year run at the title.  New Orleans appears to have taken a step back.  Phoenix dropped off the radar a while ago, and Houston, with the exception of their slim victory over the lowly Warriors, look like they’ll be lucky to make the playoffs this year.  So, who’s left to challenge the Lakers?  It’s looking A LOT like it’s going to come down to Denver and Portland.  On the Nuggets’ side, Carmelo looks more focused and motivated than anyone in the league thus far.  We know what Billups can do, and Nene looks even better this year, and Ty Lawson is already a key piece in the Nuggets’ rotation.  On the Blazers’ side, Brandon Roy appears to have elevated his game yet again, and he’s quickly becoming one of the most clutch performers in the league.  I can’t wait to see what he does as the game winds down tonight.  Martell Webster looks like he’s finally figured it out, and Juwan Howard is surprisingly playing a key role for the Blazers.  All things considered, we can’t be surprised if we find ourselves watching these two teams battle it out in a Game 7 in the Western Conference Semis, for the right to play the defending champs, who will probably watching from home, waiting, after sweeping whoever their second round opponent was.


The Kobe-Lebron Wet Dream

It’s no secret the NBA and its allies are praying for a Kobe-Lebron showdown in the Finals.  I won’t lie, it’s a dream matchup that I too would love to see.  BUT…. why is the NBA the only league that allows such public advances on its preferred matchups???  MLB and the NFL both sit back and wait and let the teams on the field decide.  Last year we were force-fed Lakers-Celtics propaganda and that happened.  Shouldn’t a league that has a reputation for possibly manipulating outcomes make an effort to hold back on this sort of stuff?  Sure, it’s the advertisers who are driving this, but we all know where the league stands on it.  Despite being an acclaimed Laker disliker – I don’t quite hate them – this is the first round of conference finals in a long time that I’ve been impartial to who wins each series.  I love being able to sit back and enjoy playoff basketball without living and dying with the outcome.  It’s great being able to watch Kobe, Lebron, Hedo, Carmelo, or the referees step up and take over a game down the stretch.  However, I have a natural propensity to pull for the underdog.  While Orlando and Denver may not be underdogs on the court, they most certainly are in the corporate world.  (Side note: yet another puppet commercial runs as I type this)

So, unfortunately, my impartiality is quickly fading.  I hope they can pull it off.  Will they?  OR, is the NBA in fact UNSTOPPABLE!