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Observations from 10 rows up...

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I'm sorry for my tardy blogging!

The bad news it that I won't be at opening night at Pepsi Center tonight because I'm back in Los Angeles working on a new animation project that's going to keep me out here for a little while. But the good news is that I got to go to the Clippers game last night and sat about 10 rows up from the Nuggets bench on the basket side (kind of like this photo, which I didn't take). With my close proximity to the bench, I was able to observe some great things about our Nuggets that may or may not have made it into the TV broadcast.

I know we're only two games into the season, but...

...I'm already seeing a different George Karl. Last night, he tied his coaching technical total of all last season (with one, admittedly) and is clearly giving a much more enthusiastic effort. I think he stood up and yelled at the refs more last night than all of last season combined. Karl also made good substitutions down the stretch that paid off.

...Whether its because of some nagging injuries or lack of conditioning, Allen Iverson seems to be letting the game come to him, set up his teammates and take over when necessary. A.I. was flat out awesome in the fourth quarter and overtime last night, and if he could take on a role like this throughout the season, only good things will come of it.

...Kenyon Martin and Nene look great - GREAT - up close. I don't remember K-Mart being this fit since he's been a Nugget and Nene seems to have that spin move back. The only thing I'm upset about today is that I didn't insert Nene into my starting lineup on my fantasy team. These guys each pulled down some big rebounds last night in traffic. And I don't know if the TV cameras caught it or not, but when Nene fouled out, K-Mart grabbed Nene before Nene headed to the bench. The two had a long embrace and you could tell they were both psyched to be finally healthy and play their hearts out together. Nene was smiling from ear to ear.

...I say this all the time, but J.R. Smith continues to amaze. I went to the game with a friend who's a die-hard Clippers fan who'd never seen J.R. play in person, and he couldn't believe what he was watching. J.R. is practically unstoppable right now and is clearly playing with a lot of confidence.

...I agree with Denver Stiffs reader "Petey" that we need to lay off Anthony Carter. I'm not suggesting for a second that he should start, but the guy plays hard, made very few mistakes last night and had a very respectable outing.

...God bless Dahntay Jones' effort and athleticism, but he might be a worse shooter than DerMarr Johnson, Yakhouba Diawara or [Insert Nuggets second-string backup shooting guard here from the last five seasons].

...Give Linas Kleiza credit for keeping at it and playing hard even though he had just found out that Stan Kroenke nixed his contract extension with the Nuggets. Maybe this will give him incentive to play even harder for the rest of the season.

Of course, the real test is tonight when the Lakers (my pick to win it all - shocking, I know) come to town on two days' rest. I don't like the Nuggets chances having just played two tough road games in which they had to come back from at least 14 points down in each one. But Carmelo Anthony will return tonight and I'm sure he'll be fired up.

I'm really sorry I can't be there with you guys tonight, but I look forward to getting comments and emails about what it's like at The Can.

Go Nuggets!!