Billups, Nuggets slam Timberwolves
It's the Bird ... it's a plane ... it's
Chauncey Billups ... no really it was Chauncey Billups!
With just 13 seconds left in the 3rd Quarter J.R. Smith recovered a loose ball after an errant pass by Minnesota's Bobby Brown. Smith tossed the ball to Linas Kleiza who threw it ahead to Chauncey Billups.
The King of Park Hill found himself in unfamiliar territory on a breakaway attempt, but with Mark "Maddog" Madsen chasing ferociously after him. Billups went airborne off both feet with Madsen contesting the attempt and slammed the ball through the rim two handed. As Billups landed and came running back up court he was laughing to himself rather heartily.
(view the dunk here ... it's the last highlight)
As Altitude cut to commercial after the quarter ended Billups was swarmed by teammates who were ecstatic to see the old guy get up for his first dunk of the season. After the game Billups had this to say in his Altitude post-game interview:
"I've been taking a lot of flack around here (for not dunking)," Billups said. "I need three days off!"
Well Billups wont be getting three days off, but he will get two as the Nuggets wont be in action again until Wednesday at The Can against the Thunder as the Nuggets will be looking for the series sweep against their 11th opponent this season.
- Billups finished the game 6-10 shooting scoring 17 points and dishing out 7 assists. Billups averaged 23.5 ppg against Minnesota this season ... his third highest scoring average behind only the Pistons (32 ppg) and the 76'ers (24 ppg). It's always good to play well against your former teams.
- Rookie Sonny Weems logged a career high 10 minutes of burn last night. When he checked into the game with about 10:18 left in the 4th Quarter Chris Marlowe sounded flabbergasted at the appearance. Weems finished 1-3 from the field notching 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 turnovers and most notably was unable to finish a pretty alley-oop attempt. The former college dunk champ stumbled a bit, but that's expected with such sporadic playing time. Kid has talent, but needs to work on his shooting.
- J.R. Smith cooled off a bit last night. After starting the night 3-4 with two threes J.R. finished the game 1-7 shooting (1-6 from distance). Smith finished the game 4-11 (3-9 from three) for 12 points. I realize it was sort of a scrimmage, but J.R. needed to work the ball inside more. He only attempted 2 foul shots on the night.
- Linas Kleiza found some shooting touch last night. LK finished 5-9 from the field, going 3-4 from downtown and scoring 14 points on the night.
- Melo was his usual self last night. He finished 10-21 for 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Kid has been consistent scoring 24.8 ppg over his last five games to along with 6.4 rebounds.
- The Nuggets shot 62% in the first half last night and scored 60 points. Denver did exactly what they needed to do against a team with nothing to play for.
- The Nuggets were 20-31 or 64.5% from the foul line. However, those numbers are a bit skewed .. the starters were 13-15. Sonny Weems was 2-6 and Anthony Carter was 0-2. No need to panic there.
- Not playing until Wednesday will give the team a much needed break after playing 3 games in 4 nights. The Nuggets are the league's hottest team ... winners of 7 straight with 4 games left to play.
- Did you ever think the Nuggets would be the 5th quickest team to 50+ wins this season? I didn't.
Playoff 2 seed outlook:
San Antonio (49-27) and Portland (48-28) both suffered losses yesterday and the Rockets (49-28) were the ones who took out the Blazers.
Spurs: While the Nuggets are 2 games ahead of the Spurs in the standings, they only hold a 1 game loss lead. The Spurs have 27 losses to the Nuggets 26. The bonus for Denver is that they hold the tiebreaker over the Spurs by winning the season series 2-1. Remaining games vs. +.500 teams: Blazers, Jazz, Hornets.
Houston: The Rockets are 49-28 and are currently the #4 seed. Houston holds the tiebreaker over the Nuggets 3-1. Remaining games vs. +.500 teams: Magic, Hornets, @ Mavericks.
Portland: The last game of the season vs. the Blazers still could play a major role in deciding seeding. The Blazers are still in the Northwest Division hunt and the season series will be decided April 15th as the Nuggets currently hold a 2-1 advantage. Remaining games vs. +.500 teams: @ Spurs, Lakers, Nuggets.