Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE
Your Denver Nuggets have won 4 in a row, and just swept a stretch where they played four games in five nights. Now they venture to the Valley of the Sun to face the new-look Phoenix Suns. They key to this game? Tighten up y'all.
|2012/2013 NBA Regular Season: Game 8|
|November 12th, 2012, 7:00 PM (MT)|
|U.S. Airlines Center - Phoenix, Arizona
|TV Altitude / 950 AM / 104.3 FM The Fan|
|Bright Side of the Sun||Blogs||You're here!|
|Injuries||Julyan Stone (out)|
There's a serious lack of Steve Nash on this Phoenix Suns team. It's a bit odd to look at this team the Nuggets have played up to four times a year and not see the foppish hair of the Canadian point guard streaking past a Nuggets forward or center like he was in a wind tunnel. I'm sure it's even weirder for Suns fans, so I'm not going to even compare. It's just an adjustment to face the now Goran Dragic lead Suns (even though he was on the team just a year ago).
Whatever the situation, it's pretty clear the Suns are now going through a rebuilding era and that is always tough. Mention the word "rebuilding" to any long term Nuggets fan and you will most likely get a response comparable to the twitch one observes from someone who claims to be abducted by aliens. You know the look. Twitchy eye, repressed memories of an indescribable horror. An uncontrollable urge to urinate on one's self. More severe strains of the disease are diagnosed when mentioning the word "Bickerstaff"... but I digress.
What the Suns are doing now is a necessary step for most every organization. The trick is to remain competitive and rebuild at the same time. Hard to do. In that spirit bringing back old friend Dragic was a good move. He knows the system (such as it is) and has easily re-established himself within the Suns organization. He has a willing and capable partner in crime in one Marcin Gortat (aka: Dwight Howard's old back up) who seems to be firmly established in Phoenix.
Then we come to Michael Beasley. A man who has never met a shot he didn't like. A man who accidentally grabbed a man's knee while sitting on the bench. This is someone who can be both an offensive threat, and a horrendous black hole ... within the same game! This Beasley guy actually concerns me a bit, because he is the one who can torch the Nuggets with the most ease on this Phoenix team. The Nuggets have, in recent years, been effective against both Gortat and Dragic. To a certain extent Beasley as well. It's just that for some inexplicable reason he worries me.
Finally we come to Luis Scola. Not really the same player that the Nuggets had loads of trouble with a mere two seasons ago. However he is still a giant pain the the ass, and this Nuggets team best be on its toes for such irritating behaviors as grabbing lots of rebounds and drawing fouls that are questionable by the best of standards. (seriously hate that). All in all, this rebuilding team is not that bad, and can be quite competitive. Sure, they have one of the most loathsome owners in all of sports (Robert Sarver), but hey ... we can't all be perfect right?
Nuggets of Wisdom
Before continuing to read, please watch this video.
The last part of that video is the one I want you to focus on. After hitting what turned out to be the game-winning three, Danilo Gallinari and Andre Iguodala had a "moment". Remember that moment as a pivotal one for the rest of the season. Not Gallo's shot, just the embrace at center court. Encapsulated in that moment was winning, teamwork, support, encouragement and determination all wrapped up in to one. It is this moment, I believe, that will define this Nuggets team going forward through this season. The symbolism is massive.
That, my friends, is the moment I became "all in" with this Nuggets team. This team may have what it takes this season, and it will be that embrace that is the genesis momentum of it all. Now it's up to Ty Lawson, JaVale McGee, Kenneth Faried, Andre Miller, Corey Brewer, Kosta Koufos and the rest of this Nuggets team to strive to live up to that moment in every game and every play. Righ there, it showed me that they are capable of big things.
Gallo's shooting percentage is still a concern, but he is averaging a career high in rebounds (7.0) and assists (3.0) in this early season ... and we may have seen his breakout performance. Hopefully. Lawson's shooting and free throw percentage are abysmal, and the last two games he has definitely struggled with frustration and what I can only describe as his default emotion. Passivity. Ty knows he must break out of that for the Nuggets to (as Steve Hess would say) "get bedda". I think he will.
Faried has gone from Manimal to Incredible Hulk. His energy and nose for the ball have been a wonder to behold, and it can only help to rub off on others. Koufos is a man on a mission and managed to have 5 blocks in the last game. Unbelievable. Iguodala had actually a worse shooting percentage night than Gallo against the Warriors, but made up for it at the end with almost having a triple-double and hitting some clutch shots.
All in all, I like where this team is going. Let's see if they can continue this against the Suns tonight.
Twitter: @jmorton78 https://twitter.com/#!/jmorton78