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Game 69 recap: Nuggets 111 - Grizzlies 109

The Adam Richman game

I know what you are asking yourself right now. Adam Richman? Does this Adam Richman fellow play for my beloved Nuggets?

To answer your question in a word ... no. Adam Richman is the host of perhaps one of the best shows on TV ... MAN v. FOOD! This guy has held just about every job you could have in a restaurant and now he has his own show on the Food Network where he travels city to city, exploring eateries, and taking on incredible food challenges! If this show doesn't make you hungry by the 15 minute mark - then I suggest you tear your own tongue out because you sir/ma'am don't deserve the taste buds your parents blessed you with. Anyway ... Mr. Richman will come in to play later on down this in this here blog. Ya dig?

On to the game!

The good news: Denver is now 44-25, 18-17 on the road, snapped their 6 game road losing streak, and are still holding on to 1st Place in the Northwest Division by half a game over the Blazers.

The bad news: How Denver got their 44th win over the Memphis "Can we call it a season yet?" Grizzlies.

Things for the Nuggets started off a bit ... less than ideal. You could easily sense that their energy level was not where it needed to be and right away you could see that Denver was going to make this one ugly and probably lose this game.

On a positive note ... somebody must have sprayed the rim with Nene's wife's perfume because that guy was all over the rim to start the game. There is nothing better than Nene's freight train dunks and he provided a beauty early on.

Nene flew through the lane and poor Darrell Arthur, who blocked 5 shots on the night, just absolutely ran for cover and Nene provided the Memphis fans with a violent dunk to cut the Grizzly lead to 10-7. Not much else was going the Nuggets way to start the game.

Memphis was out rebounding the Nuggets 8-1 to start the game and finished the quarter up 13-7 on the boards. All I could think was, "When is Karl going to put some energy into this game?"

Chris Anderson finally checked into the game at the 4:09 mark with Denver down 23-14 and Renaldo Balkman checked in two minutes later with the score a touch closer at 28-22. With Birdman and Balkman in the game Denver's energy level immediately picked up.

Melo's shot selection early had me worried along with his continued efforts of not powering the ball to the rim. I really was starting to question whether this guy could even dunk anymore. He does get mugged a lot on his drives, but playing below the rim is not going to do you any good in the NBA. The Nuggets as a team have sort of been getting caught in a layup trap lately. You always hear that the refs are not going to give you calls if you are not the aggressor and layups are a thing of the past.

As current Altitude TV correspondent, and former Nugget and former Nugget Head Coach Bill Hanzlik might say, "You gotta power it up BIG FELLA!"

Anyhow, the Nuggets allowed 35 points to the Grizzlies in the 1st Quarter and were again following their wonderfully terrible losing formula of: giving up easy buckets in the paint, wasting possessions with poor shots and turnovers, and allowing the home team to gain confidence that otherwise should not be there.

In the 2nd Quarter at about the 2:48 mark Melo drained a 25-foot three-pointer and on his way back down the floor he had that smile on his face. I like to think of that as the assassin's smile. Whenever Melo is in a groove offensively he'll bring that smile out and you know he's going to have a good game on the offensive end. The little peak at the smile let me know that good things were going to come from the Melo fellow throughout the evening.

In the 3rd Quarter the Nuggets quickly erased the 6 point Grizzly halftime lead and found themselves down 59-57 after a Melo jumper. I got that feeling that the Nuggets were back in the game. Then I quickly got another feeling ... Pepto Bismol sings about it in their commercials ... UPSET STOMACH! The Nuggets quickly let the game slip away and before I knew it the score was 79-62 and I searched for the show that I knew was on ... MAN v. FOOD!

I switched the channel just in time to see Adam Richman down in Texas about to enjoy some slow cooked burnt end brisket. The two roommates and I watched this man eating some of the best barbeque in all the land and suddenly my upset stomach turned into a very hungry stomach. The three men in my apartment sat silent for a couple of minutes thinking about stuffing our fat faces with the delicious food items on the TV screen. It was a much better option than shaving years off my life by watching the stressful Nuggets.

With a click back to the game, Denver shaved five points off the lead. Still not enough to get me sucked back into the game. Especially not with a breakfast taco challenge about to unfold on Man v. Food's next episode!

Yes, I decided that watching a man devour eight Don Juan Breakfast Tacos was more exciting than watching an uninterested Nuggets team. I mean Richman was going for the record of 8 breakfast tacos! Here is what the eight tacos would add up to in all:

  • 16 eggs
  • 8 whole potatoes
  • 8 tortillas
  • piles of bacon
  • cheese

Each taco basically filled an entire plate! I checked the game again ... 91-81 to start the 4th Quarter ... the game started to pique my interest a bit. So I flipped back and forth between the taco challenge and the Nuggets game ...

The first breakfast taco goes down easy ... Linas Kleiza completes a 3-point play after posterizing Hamed Haddadi ... 91-84 Grizz.

The next two breakfast tacos are easily put away ... Denver goes from JR Smith's 3-pointer at the 10:17 mark to not scoring again until the 8:14 mark 100-88 Grizz.

The fourth breakfast taco has caught up to Richman ... Melo's 3-pointer has the Nuggets catching the Grizzlies ... 100-92 Grizz.

The fifth taco will not go down ... Richman is done! Billups hits a couple free throws, then an 18 footer, Melo nails a 3-pointer from the elbow after Balkman swings it back out after grabbing two offensive rebounds in a row ... the game is now tied at 104 ... Memphis is effectively Richman to the Nuggets breakfast taco!

The show is over and I'm fully back to the Nuggets ... forgetting how disgusted they made me earlier in the evening and how much I'm begging for a win now.

Melo with just about :33 seconds on the clock, as he started to do earlier in the game, takes the ball straight up on Quinton Ross and converts the layup and draws the foul. I absolutely love when Melo and the rest of the Nuggets go for the bucket first and let the fouls come to them. You see it all of too often where they look to draw the foul and let their shots get affected by it. Not this time! Melo is all about trying to get the layup and Ross fouls him in the process. Denver claims their first lead 109-108 since starting out up 1-0.

With :33 ticks left on the clock the Nuggets are one defensive stop away from winning this game. They don't deserve it, but they are in position to steal one late. And in comes Kenyon Martin for Renaldo Balkman ... I announce to the roommates:

"What is Karl thinking!? KMart's back! He's gotta be cold and we are subbing him in now?! This is a mistake!"

O.J. Mayo take the ball just inside the free throw line to the right of the paint and rises up for a short jumper when ... KMART blocks the shot from just behind Mayo! Denver grabs the loose ball and clears it to Melo who is immediately fouled and goes on to sink two huge free throws.

Both my roommates let me have it with: "Oh KMart shouldn't have been in the game huh?"

"You're an idiot!"

"You better put this in your blog!"

Ladies and Gentlemen ... this is why I'm not a coach! Kenyon was in the right place and the right time and came up big time!

With just :03 seconds on the clock and Denver up 111-108 KMart appropriately fouls Marc Gasol and sends him to the free throw line. I agree with Charles Barkley here ... if you are up 3-points with one possession remaining you always foul. Don't give the other team a shot at tying the game.

Gasol made the first and intentionally missed the second shot, AC somehow came up with the ball among multiple bodies and threw the ball down-court like a defensemen icing the puck at the end of a hockey game. Nuggets win.

Make no mistake ... my joy at watching Denver scramble for a victory in the 4th Quarter does not blind me from the fact that they were awful for basically three full quarters of this game. I did like the effort to fight back and hold the Grizzlies to just 18 points in the final period after surrendering two quarters of 30+ points to a team that averages 93 points a game.

Mike Conley again was not effective scoring the ball and finished with 8 points, but had 10 assists and was setting him teammates up all night for easy looks. Rudy Gay led the Grizz with 30 points, but it was not enough. Denver won the game, but Memphis effectively failed.

Mark Richman also failed the breakfast taco challenge ... he put away 4 1/4 tacos in roughly 3 hours and had this to say when it was all over:

"I knew I was done when eating another bite actually sounded worse than getting hit by a truck."

Yes, that pretty much sums up this game because by the end I too was ready for that truck.

Views you can use:

  • Billups put up a very odd game - he tallied a double-double with 18 points and 12 assists, but turned the ball over a team-high 6 times and finished with a 0 in the +/- category, which is an even ...
  • JR Smith bombed away once again going 5-10 from downtown and finished with 21 points and a team high +17 while he was on the floor
  • Renaldo "The Crime Stopper" Balkman led the team with 12 rebounds and split 'em up evenly on the offensive and defensive boards (6 and 6) in 24 minutes of action and coming off a strained groin
  • Nene finished the night with 19 points on 6-9 shooting and was a force inside against the less athletic Memphis bigs
  • The Nuggets starters finished the night -20 while on the floor
  • The Nuggets bench finished the night +30 while on the floor
  • The star of the night was Carmelo Anthony - he finished 12-23 including 3-5 from 3-point land, 8-8 from the foul line, 5 boards, 2 assists, and 35 points ... without his effort on the offensive end Denver loses this game

Opposition take: 3 Shades of Blue

Box Score

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