We had another typical Nuggets home game against a sorry team. One team jumps out to a big first half lead. The other team comes back and the Nuggets end up winning. The funny thing is sometimes it is the Nuggets who jump out early and hold on and sometimes they are the team that falls behind.
I keep finding reasons to be afraid when the Nuggets are playing a sorry team at home. Denver has only lost five of 25 home games this season to the likes of New Orleans, Portland, the Lakers and Golden State. The only home loss they have suffered to a bad team was against Indiana back when the Pacers were playing some of their best ball of the season (the next night Indy won at Portland).
In this Presidential election year the Nuggets have pulled a flip flop that would make any candidate proud. Last season they were a barely average home team, but they played very well on the road. This season they are Rambo at home, and George McFly on the road.
Tonight they were down ten with one minute left in the third quarter. I was worried, but there was no reason to be. Shame on me. My wife thought I was pretty pathetic being so worried about a game they won so easily. Unfortunately, that was not the first time my wife thought I was pathetic, but at least she usually finds me pathetic for reasons related to watching sports and not keeping our car clean.
The Nuggets turned that ten point deficit into a nine point lead with a 22-3 run. The amazing thing about the run was that the only three Nuggets who scored during it were Kleiza, J.R. Smith and Kuba Diawara. Not Melo, not AI, not even Kenyon Martin.
From that point on the Nuggets were in complete control. But the show did not end there. Out of the Nuggets last 40 points LK, J.R. and Kuba scored 32 of them.
To me the real turning point in the game was the departure of Jason Richardson with 31 seconds left in the third quarter. By the time he checked back with 11:03 left in the fourth the game was already tied. Then Kuba locked down on him. Richardson had scored 36 points through three quarters. He only scored two points in the fourth quarter on two free throws with less than two minutes left and Kuba was the reason why. Diawara was very physical with him and apparently Richardson did not like it much.
The Nuggets next two games are at Portland and home against Utah. If the Nuggets lose to Portland they end up losing the head to head tie breaker by losing the season series 1-3.
Other Observations From Game 46:
- Carmelo looked good for his first game back from the sprained ankle. He played well, did not force anything and got out of the game healthy. He shot 50% from the field at 9-18, he went 7-8 from the line, had four assists to only two turnovers and grabbed ten rebounds. He played aggressively around the basket and if he was concerned about his ankle, he certainly did not show it.
- Marcus Camby was out with a bum knee. He was seen with his left knee wrapped up in Memphis while riding the folded chairs and it was apparently bad enough to miss tonight’s game. I would expect him to be back on Monday against Portland.
- Boykins amazingly only shot four times in 12 minutes, missing all four, and is now 2-15 as a Bobcat.
- AI was tremendous in the fourth quarter. He recorded seven assists in the fourth quarter alone and had an eighth assist on the first basket that started the entire 40-14 run to close the game. He also scored 12 points in the third quarter. That is exactly the type of player AI needs to be. When he has it going, he can score at will. When other teammates have it going, he should use his amazing talents to set them up with good shots. AI is the only player on the Nuggets who can be both a go to scorer and a top notch set up man. He just needs to be able to figure out when to do what. I have a feeling the Nuggets entire season will come down to his ability to know when to be the scorer and when to be the distributor.
- Steven Hunter started for Camby and played very well. He held down the paint pretty well, but he excelled at running the floor. There is no reason for Camby and Kenyon to log huge minutes night in and night out when Hunter is capable of coming in and playing a strong 10-15 minutes.
- Not only was Camby out, but Najera sat with some bruised ribs. Apparently some barbeque sauce got on him the other night and seeing how they were in Memphis J.R. Smith tried to eat him. Karl apparently said that starting Hunter was a gut feeling kind of decision. Does that mean he thought the logical thing to do was to start Kenyon at center and Melo or Kleiza at power forward against Nazr Mohammed and Emeka Okafor? They gave up 20 offensive rebounds with Hunter playing over half the game. How many would they have given up if Hunter had been glued to the bench, I mean folding chairs, as usual?
Check out Queen City Hoops for some Bobcat misery.