Happy Birthday Andre Miller! - Doug Pensinger
The Nuggets likely only care about one thing tomorrow night in Oklahoma City, but they should care about two ...
When my parents decided to procreate 31 years ago, they probably had no idea that their son was going to turn out to be a Nuggets fan. But my folks did know about the Nuggets because Larry Brown (the Nuggets head coach from 1974-1979) lived just down the street on Lansing Way in Englewood, Colorado.
When my family moved to Parker, CO in 1988 (from Conifer, CO), we found a basketball goal on our five-acre plot of land -- it was hidden back by a dog run behind the barn. I wanted to get that sucker up as fast as possible. My dad got a pole, we set it up in cement by the house, and I was ready to start playing. Eventually that old backboard and rim would break down and my folks got me a new backboard and rim and we painted the pole gray to match the new hoop. I was in heaven. I used to jack up three pointers on the regular and would draw a three-point line with my foot on the dirt. I never had a paved court, but we did eventually get some crushed asphalt for the driveway and that would serve better than the dirt. I was old school - felt like Ricky Roe from Blue Chips.
Alas, my hoop dreams never went further than NBA Jam and some legendary recreation center games in Parker. To this day I curse my decision to give up on hoops to play football. All I have to show for it is two arthritic shoulders and more than a few concussions. I was easily the worst backup offensive tackle of all time, but I'd like to think I was the best three-point shooting backup offensive tackle that ever lived (in Parker).
It's not like I ever would have made the NBA, but basketball is such a beautiful game that it makes me sad to think I didn't maximize the talent I had. I am glad that I've started playing hoops more regularly again and that I can still play a little bit (a very little bit).
I've been writing about the Nuggets since 2005. I started out as a moderator for a Nuggets board out there on the interwebs. When the site Pickaxe and Roll was left vacated in 2009 - I jumped at a chance to resurrect SB Nation's site. People started to pick up that the site was again active and they even seemed to like the junk I was typing up. It was a little overwhelming writing the blog on my own and I felt bad when I couldn't write a recap or a preview due to a scheduling conflict. It was a blessing when I found out that Andrew Feinstein wanted to team up with me on SB Nation.
I didn't know much about Feinstein. I knew he had that old FGK.com site and frankly, I was worried the guy was a bit of a nut! - although I did read his Denver Stiffs site and saw a change in how he was approaching the game of hoops. So, we decided to have a meeting to talk about our ideas for the blog and that went well - so here we are now!
I've been lucky to work with Andy and to call him a friend. Feinstein and I were lucky that Jeff Morton and Colin Neilson agreed to come aboard to help us out. Jeff has become a good friend and somebody that I love to talk Nuggets with. On the days I don't write, I find myself eager to check out what Andy, Jeff, Colin, and Ray Martinelli have written. A lot has changed for me over the past four years and I find that my Stiffs family has become more-and-more important and I really enjoy the friendships and opportunities that this blog - our work - has created.
The one thing that has eluded me?
A win on my birthday!
The day I was born - March 19th, 1982 - the Nuggets were busy in Denver putting a whooping on the Chicago Bulls. The Nuggets won that game 130-120 behind Dan Issel's 32 points and despite David Greenwood's 20 points for the Bulls. The Nuggets went from 36-30 to 37-30 on my actual birth day.
The Nuggets didn't play on my birthday in 1983 and they wouldn't played on March 19th again until the 1985-86 season (3/19/86). Again, the Nuggets won, 114-98, against the Detroit Pistons. Kelly Tripucka scored 23 points for the Pistons, but Alex English would dump 35 on Detroit for Denver. The Nuggets went from 41-28 to 42-28 en route to a 47-35 regular season finish. I was just 4-years-old and probably too busy drawing on the walls to watch a basketball game. It's too bad too ...
The Curse of March 19th was Born on 3/19/92 in Utah ...
The Nuggets started out 2-0 on March 19th during my life, but they have gone 0-8 since 1992 on the years they have played on my big day. There have been 21 seasons where Denver has not played on March 19th since 1982. Every season I check the schedule to see if this could be my year. Check out what has gone down on March 19th since Denver's 2-0 start back in 1982:
|March 19th||Nuggets Record||Lost to||Score||Denver high scorer||Opp high scorer|
|1991-92||24-58||at Jazz||115-110||Marcus Liberty 23 pts||Karl Malone 31 pts|
|1997-98||11-71||at Raptors||104-103||Johnny Newman 24||Dee Brown 24|
|1998-99||14-36||T-Wolves||105-101||Nick Van Exel 21||Kevin Garnett 28|
|Johnny Taylor 21|
|2002-03||17-65||at Clips||91-78||Juwan Howard 24||Wang Zhizhi 21|
|2003-04||43-39||at Pistons||94-75||Melo 20||Rasheed Wallace 20|
|Richard Hamilton 20|
|2007-08||50-32||at 76ers||115-113||Allen Iverson 32||Andre Miller 28|
|2010-11||50-32||at Heat||103-98||JR Smith 33||LeBron James 33|
|2011-12||38-28||Mavs||112-95||Arron Afflalo 24||Dirk Nowitzki 33|
Yes, 0-8 on my birthday since 1992 and only two of those games have been in Denver! I should have gone to Oklahoma City for the game tonight. I have never been to a game on my birthday - maybe that would help break the curse?
In addition to my 31st birthday, it is also Andre Miller's 37th birthday. We are birthday buddies, but I doubt that matters to him. Hopefully he will have an epic game?
Somehow, someway ... get a win Nuggets! If Denver does win - they'll set their new NBA record for most wins in a row. During the 1981-82 season the Nuggets won 12 games in a row from March 10th - April 2nd, 1982 en route to a 46-36 season. But the Nuggets all-time win record is 15 games in a row, which the Denver Rockets accomplished during the 1969-70 season from Dec. 20th, 1969 - Jan. 25th, 1970 en route to a 51-33 season (84 games?!?)
Let's see if the team can break The Curse of March 19th in Oklahoma City ...
TONIGHT - March Madness Stiffs Night Out!
Our ninth Stiffs Night Out is TONIGHT!
We will be distributing NCAA brackets for $10, with all of the proceeds going to the Denver Hooperz, a local non-profit that provide after school basketball programs to at-risk youth. Prizes - including tickets to the Spurs game on April 10th - will be given out to bracket winners. Also, the Colorado Sports Guys (Nate Timmons and Ross Martin) will be live podcasting throughout the event - and it's Nate's birthday!
Nate_Timmons on Twitter