Cavs give Nuggets breathing room
The Nuggets never seem to have a game on my birthday, but yesterday was still a pretty sweet day.
I received a couple of great birthday presents. My cousin and his wife welcomed their first child into the world yesterday. So it looks like yours truly will be will sharing a birthday from here out with is second cousin ... a healthy baby girl!
The second, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Trail Blazers in overtime 97-92 to give Denver a one-game lead in the division! I was able to watch the last five minutes of regulation and the overtime period strictly because it was my birthday and what a treat!
King James is a beast. He decided that the Cavs were not going to lose the game and took it upon himself to beat the Blazers. Bron-Bron scored the final six-points for the Cavs in regulation including a layup where the whole building knew he was getting to the rim and a beautiful fadeaway, off the glass, from the baseline, and as the shot clock expired.
The Blazers were able to force overtime when Brandon Roy's pump fake from the top of the 3-point line drew LeBron into the air and Roy ducked underneath LeBron to draw the foul. The best part was how Roy BLATANTLY TRAVELED to make sure he drew contact from LeBron. Game should have been over right there. It was easy to see because the refs had to check to make sure Roy's feet were not behind the 3-point line or at least TNT's announcing crew did. Roy shuffled both feet forward a few inches, but got the star treatment.
A pretty embarrassing missed call by the refs if you ask me ... which nobody is/did. Glad the Cavs pulled it out in OT and didn't get robbed of their 31-1 homecourt record by yet another terrible call by the refs.
LeBron was crazy in OT. He scored 6 points and two of those shots were pretty baby hooks a la Magic Johnson in the Finals across the paint. James put up his 7th triple-double this season and the 24th of his career with 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. To note, Melo has one career triple-double.
So those were my birthday presents ... and hopefully tonight the Nuggets can offer a belated greeting with a win over the Wizards at The Can.
Denver 44-25 (26-8 at The Can)
Washington 16-53 (5-29 on the road)
February 6th in Wasthington: Denver won 124-103
The Nuggets were led by Carmelo's 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Six other Nuggets scored in double-figures on the night. Denver shot 56.3% in that game and recorded 30 team assists led by Anthony Carter's seven. Chris Anderson blocked 5 shots and there wasn't a Nugget who played over 28-minutes.
Pretty safe to say Denver could use a repeat performance tonight before heading out on a challenging 3-game roadtrip with stops in Phoenix, New Orleans, and Dallas. This upcoming roadtrip will be Denver's last tough test of the season in terms of having to play three playoff hopeful teams (though Phoenix is a long shot at this point).
The Wizards are 2-8 in their last 10 games. Caron Butler has missed the previous three games with a sore hamstring and is being re-evaluated before tonight's game. The Wizards are also still without Brenden Haywood and Gilbert Arenas so the Nuggets have no excuses not to win this game.
The Nuggets should just remember what Billups and Melo had to say after their last meeting and things should be fine.
"Games like this are dangerous. You come in, and a team that's wounded, that's beat up, that's not been very successful -- they're just going to play. They're going to play loose, so I think you've got to impose your will on a team like that," said Billups, "When you get them down, you've got to keep them down."
Added Melo on Feb. 6th:
"If we call ourselves one of the better teams in the Western Conference -- or the NBA -- these are the games we've got to come out and make a statement from the beginning."
I couldn't agree more Melo. Tonight we'll find out what type of statement the Nuggets will make before hitting the road for their final extended trip.
Opposition: Bullets Forever