FanPost

What If...

All of the following excerpts come from could-have-been game 6 recaps. You will probably have to think about each scenario before you read its recap.

Nene had not been injured in Game 5?

At long last, the Denver Nuggets' season has come to a close. They had battled injury and sickness all year long, only to meet a similarly battered foe in the Utah Jazz. However, as game 6 demonstrated, the Nuggets remain a team that loses its composure in big games.

...

Kenyon Martin's technical with three minutes to go was the superficial turning point, but in reality it all started to go downhill two minutes before that, when Nene fouled out trying to secure a rebound. It was perhaps the most frustrating play of a frustrating season. He had been playing an excellent game up until the third (14 points on 5-8 shooting with 7 rebounds), when he was hit with two silly fouls right off the bat and benched for the remainder of the quarter. It's unexpected, but the fact is Fesenko outplayed Nene yet again in this, what would be the last game of the Nuggets all-too-short season.

 

The refs had called a turnover on CJ Miles in Game 2?

At long last, the Denver Nuggets' season has come to a close. They had battled injury and sickness all year long, only to meet a similarly battered foe in the Utah Jazz. However, as game 6 demonstrated, the Nuggets remain a team that loses its composure in big games.

...

Disappointment. This is the only way to describe it. After running up a commanding 2-0 lead on the depleted Jazz, the Nuggets fell to complacency. They couldn't win another game all series.

As bad as this loss feels however, just remember that Game 6 was a hell of a lot better than Game 5 from the Nuggets standpoint. The Game 5 loss was unacceptable on any level, bringing back memories of Game 6 from last year's WCF. At least tonight they showed some passion and intensity. Just, as the K-Mart technical showed, a little too much.

 

The Nuggets had showed up against the Suns in game 82 of the regular season?

At long last, the Denver Nuggets' season has come to a close. They had battled injury and sickness all year long, only to meet a similarly battered foe in the Portland Trailblazers. However, as game 6 demonstrated, the Nuggets remain a team that loses its composure in big games.

...

It's difficult to know exactly what was going through JR Smith's mind today. Fresh off a stunning 30 point performance in Game 5, the streaky shooter went ice cold in Game 6. I hate to say this, but he needs to be traded. No team can win a championship if its 6th man is given a long enough leash that he shoots 2-13 in an elimination game.

He wasn't the only one who failed to show up tonight. Nene was dominated offensively by Lamarcus Aldridge, who was sinking short jumpers all night long. Nene was expected to be a force in this series, but just like in the debacle that was Game 1, he failed to live up to expectations on either end of the floor.

 

David Lee hadn't cried out, "That's my sixth foul!"?

At long last, the Denver Nuggets' season has come to a close. They had battled injury and sickness all year long, only to meet a similarly battered foe in the Portland Trailblazers. However, as game 6 demonstrated, the Nuggets remain a team that loses its composure in big games.

...

Carmelo Anthony's streak of not showing up in elimination games continues. A disappointing 6-22 outing all but ensured the Blazers victory. In his defense, he also picked up 13 rebounds and 5 assists...but when the shots aren't falling (and they certainly weren't tonight), you have to at least pick it up on the defensive end. And his failure to properly defend Nicolas Batum (as Melo said, Batum, Batum) shows that he still is not a superstar. Perhaps all the "Melo's People of Portland" commercials went to his head.

 

Melo and Chauncey hadn't led the Nuggets to a miracle comeback against OKC in the first of the OKC-LAL back to back?

At long last, the Denver Nuggets' season has come to a close. They had battled injury and sickness all year long, only to meet a similarly battered foe in the Phoenix Suns. However, as game 6 demonstrated, the Nuggets remain a team that loses its composure in big games.

...

The feeling in Nuggets Nation is one of disappointment as a once-promising team was eliminated from the playoffs last night by a score of 124-100. And it wasn't even as close as it looks; the Suns led by 32 at one point in the third quarter.

We've seen Carmelo do some great things over the years, but this series and the last month of the regular season have not been among them. Game 6 basically encapsulated the 2009-10 season for Melo, as he started out hot with 12 in the first quarter, then missed the second quarter due to injury, and finally returned in the fourth to score 1 point on 0-6 shooting. He's always been tough, and he's a competitive guy, but, especially compared to the valiant effort by Joey Graham, Melo just quit on us tonight.

 

George Karl hadn't gotten throat and neck cancer?

At long last, the Denver Nuggets' season has come to a close. They had battled injury all year long, only to meet a similarly battered foe in the San Antonio Spurs. However, as game 6 demonstrated, the Nuggets remain a team that loses its composure in big games.

...

We should have seen this coming. Why? Well, this exact game occurred not too long ago, with similar results. The Nuggets came out flat, and the Spurs seized the opportunity to blow them out of the building by halftime. Just like another game 6 not too long ago. Game 6's are the bane of Nugget fandom, in my opinion.

Despite all the issues that were certainly brought up by this loss (JR needs to be traded, Bird has been essentially figured out by opposing offenses, Chauncey is getting old), this game did produce some hope for the future. Ty Lawson will have no problem stepping in as starting point guard next year, if the need arises. GK was smart to play him consistently this year, and for that I commend him. It's one of the few things I can commend him for, however, as the Nuggets style of "random" basketball led once more to a first-round exit.

 

The Nuggets had traded for, say, Tyrus Thomas at the deadline?

At long last, the Denver Nuggets' season has come to a close. They had battled injury all year long, only to meet a similarly battered foe in the San Antonio Spurs. However, as game 6 demonstrated, the Nuggets remain a team that loses its composure in big games.

...

Frustration is the only word that can be used to describe how we all feel right now. This team was supposed to be a championship contender, and indeed they were...until the April meltdown. That meltdown included a close loss to the Spurs in Denver, and was perhaps the most disappointing part about a disappointing year.

The simple fact is, the Nuggets ran into a better team. The 5-seeded Spurs are on their way to a Finals appearance, in my opinion. George Hill and Dejuan Blair are playing out of their minds, and Tim Duncan is still Tim Duncan. With the way the Lakers were taken the full 7 by a depleted Blazers team, I wouldn't be surprised if the Spurs were to win the semis in 6.

In unrelated news, JR Smith scored 32 points for the Bulls tonight. If they're able to topple the Hawks on Sunday thanks to Swish, I do not know what I will do. It will be something bad.

 

Chauncey Billups had been healthy and played all 82 games this year?

At long last, the Denver Nuggets' season has come to a close. They had battled injury all year long, only to meet a similarly battered foe in the Houston Rockets. However, as game 6 demonstrated, the Nuggets remain a team that loses its composure in big games.

...

I don't know what to say in this recap. A first seed should never fall to an eighth seed, not when the eighth seed in question is missing its best player. Then again, perhaps the Nuggets shouldn't have been first seed in the first place. The Lakers had 56 wins too, you know. And perhaps the Rockets shouldn't have been eighth seed...after all, they were only 7 games behind the Nuggets at season's end.

Wait, I guess I do know what to say. CHAUNCEY BILLUPS SHOULD NOT BE PLAYING 42 MINUTES IN A PLAYOFF GAME. Seriously, GK. Ty Lawson has proven in the limited minutes he's gotten that he is a force to be reckoned with, and with his speed, he'd have been the perfect matchup for newly discovered Nugget-killer Aaron Brooks. And yet, somehow, the Blur only played 13 minutes tonight. And Brooks went off for 34. No coincidence, you know. Chauncey's been working hard every game this year, but he just didn't have it by the end. He was tired. It's not hard to recognize that a player's tired when he's committing amateurish fouls and shooting just 36% from the field.

 

The Nuggets hadn't traded Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups?

At long last, the Denver Nuggets' season has come to a close. They had battled injury all year long, only to meet a similarly battered foe in the Los Angeles Lakers. However, as game 6 demonstrated, the Nuggets remain a team that loses its composure in big games.

...

Statline of the night: 6-22, 4 rebounds, 0 assists. Ladies and gentlemen, Carmelo Anthony.

It's time. I can't believe I'm writing this, but Melo has to go.

The Melo defenders out there will point at the 7 straight playoff appearances the Nuggets have made. They'll point at the 28 ppg as a sign that he's better offensively than ever before. But the truth is, Melo is not a star. He plays virtually no defense, he never passes, and he disappears during big games. Yes, he may have "saved the franchise," but at this point the Nuggets need to just move on without him. It's clear that he doesn't have what it takes to lead this team to a division title, let alone a championship.

Keep AI. Melo, though, should be on his way out.

 

The Nuggets had drafted Deron Williams?

At long last, the Denver Nuggets' season has come to a close. They had battled injury all year long, only to meet a similarly battered foe in the Seattle SuperSonics. However, as game 6 demonstrated, the Nuggets remain a team that loses its composure in big games.

...

The Sonics deserved this game and this series. They played hard, they played smart, and most of all, they played like a team that knows it could be moved if it doesn't produce. Durant? Beast. 35 points for #35 tonight. It's a cliche now, but the team assembled by Sam Presti could become the league's best as early as next season. They played all their drafts perfectly, and the resulting Durant-Green-Westbrook-Curry-Ibaka core is just a frightening thing to behold. The Nuggets lucked out this year with one more win than the Sonics, but still...merely one more win, despite the Sonics having missed Nick Collison and Serge Ibaka for virtually the entire season.

But this is a Nuggets blog, and I'm supposed to discuss the Nuggets. Honestly, though, I'm at a loss for words. As great as the Sonics are, this was their first year in the playoffs as presently constructed and they were missing Ibaka and Collison, and the Nuggets had home court.

It all comes down, once again, to the three enigmatic talents that promise a dynasty, but just never have been able to get it together: Carmelo, Deron, and Nene. Three guys who should be perennial All-Stars and maybe even MVP candidates. And yet they're not. It's disappointing to see Melo play weak D when he had the potential to shut down Durant, it's disappointing to see DWill notch only 6 assists when he had the potential to notch 12, and it's disappointing to see Nene get 6 points and 4 rebounds when he had the potential for triple that. Get it together, guys. Only six months until a new season starts.

 

The Nuggets had ended up with the second pick in the 2003 NBA draft?

At long last, the Denver Nuggets' season has come to a close. They had battled injury and inexperience all year long, only to meet a similarly battered foe in the Dallas Mavericks. However, as game 6 demonstrated, the Nuggets still have a long way to go before they're one of the top teams in the league.

...

This series can only be seen as good news. Finally, after a decade of floundering in last place in the Northwest, the Denver Nuggets have begun to take steps toward becoming a competitive franchise once more. We've waited a long time for this, but we can rest easy knowing that this will be a dangerous team for many years, as long as the front office plays its cards right.

Deron was excellent throughout the series. It took a while for him to start feeling comfortable in the NBA, but I don't think anyone can doubt that RC has really turned him into an elite player. Also tremendous was Bargnani...I know we give him a lot of (well-deserved) criticism but averaging a double double against a front line of Nowitzki and Gasol is not at all an easy task.

This, like the past fourteen or so years, was supposed to be a rebuilding year. The DWill-Mago-Love core will only get better, but the biggest weakness right now is still the bench. It's hard for a team to build up depth when it repeatedly strikes out in the draft (Tskitishvili, Milicic, Biedrins, basically any tall European we've drafted in the past forever). If Wark can sign some energy guys this off-season (Renaldo Balkman is having a nice year in Golden State), the 2010-11 version of this team will easily surpass the eighth seed achieved this year.

Add more what-if recaps if you like

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