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Game 76 recap: NUGGETS 114 - Jazz 104

 

 

Nuggets get win 50 on a career night from bench

 

Being at the game last night as pretty much just a fan will probably leave this game wrap up fairly scatter ... but I digress.

Perhaps the Nuggets can "Go Green" more often. When the Nuggets came out just before tipoff they were hiding their uniforms behind a cream colored t-shirt and warmup pants. But a few close ups of Melo and the Bird and their green headbands showed the Nuggets were indeed going with the green uniforms. You also knew this if you read my game preview.

Well, J.R. Smith and Chris Anderson certainly agreed with the uniform change.

Just before tipoff the entire bench, including a suited up Sonny Weems, did the "Any Given Sunday" team bomb, where they all fall to the ground in unison like a grenade just went off ... well they must have known what J.R. Smith had in store ...

The Prodigy was in full force from beyond the arc. J.R. Swish opened the night 3-3 from distance and finished the first half 6-7 from downtown. The possibilities for his second half were endless.

The packed Pepsi Center was going bonkers as Mr. Swish continued to launch and connect from what seemed like halfcourt on a couple of occasions. We were seated up in section 244 and could see how true each of his shots were from the end of the court.

In J.R.'s first three attempts he wasn't forcing his shot. And after his eighth make J.R. offered a friendly slap to the backside of his defender , three-point specialist Kyle Korver.

Smith finished 8-13 from downtown (8-14 in the game) for 28 points including 7 assists and a +19 while he was in the game. J.R. also got to the free throw line three times and was 4-6 from the charity stripe.

I thought Karl was going to yank the kid after a couple of forced shots, but J.R. remained on the floor for 34 minutes. The only other Nuggets to connect from distance was Anthony Carter as J.R. accounted for 8 of the Nuggets 9-23 performance from deep.

It's safe to say that my J.R. man-crush increased after yet another brilliant offensive performance.

Chris Anderson filled in nicely for the injured Kenyon Martin last night. In fact, I didn't even really notice KMart wasn't on the bench until midway through the 3rd Quarter when I thought to myself, "Man, Bird is getting a lot of burn tonight."

KMart left the game with what the Nuggets are calling "strained rib cartilage," and X-rays came back negative. Poor Kenyon ... when it's not one thing (back) it's the other (ribs.)

Birdman quietly blocked a career-high 8 shots last night. I say quietly only because pretty much everyone's performance was overshadowed at least for me by what J.R. Swish was doing.

Anderson, who blocked 7 shots against the Lakers on February 27th and prompted me to attach a "Bird is the Word" Family Guy video here came up big defensively for the Nuggets once again. Heck, the guy has has been so good for the Nuggs that he has his own petition, as many of you know, started by Denver Stiffs to bring him back next season.

Anderson finished the night with 7 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 blocks. Sometime soon he's going to record the Dikembe Mutombo-esque triple-double ... mark my words.

The Nuggets found themselves down 22-11 with just 1:44 remaining in the first quarter and up to that point were just getting outworked by the Jazz. The offense was also settling for jumpers when I turned to my boy Sean and asked, "Why not take the ball to the hoop? These guys have NO shot blockers!" Luckily, J.R. nailed a couple threes and Denver utilized a 10-2 run to close the quarter down just three 24-21.

It seems like a rather simple formula for beating the Jazz ... take the ball to the rim and force them to challenge your drives. The Nuggets did start doing this in the second period more as they mixed in some inside/outside game to go along with the A1 Bomber known as J.R. Smith.

The Nuggets offense took off in the second and with about 4 minutes left in the period Denver was up 48-38 before I could really blink.

From this point the Nuggets basically controlled the game. The Jazz never went away, but they were never really in a position to do any damage. The Nuggets were in damage control mode last night ... yes, that's how I feel about the game.

Every time the Jazz made a push the Nuggets squashed it.

In fact, the Nuggets frustrated the Jazz last night. And the refs pretty much frustrated both teams. The Stripes dished out 4 technical fouls ... 3 to the Nuggets (Melo, Dahntay Jones, and Karl) and Deron Williams got T'd up from his bench after Birdman committed a foul. That one was bizarre.

Dahntay Jones has to lead the league in tripping fouls ... I think he's pretty much good for 2-3 of those a game.

The crowd was definitely into the game last night. Birdman received a loud welcome and a some wing flapping (as per usual) from the packed Pepsi Center. And wouldn't you know it, on a night when the Nuggets were going "green" they'd be powered by the wind of Bird's blocks and J.R.'s bombs.

 

Views you can use:

  • The Nuggets moved 2 games ahead of the Blazers and 3 1/2 games ahead of the Jazz in the Northwest Division last night
  • Melo (while forcing many shots) finished with 23 points on just 9-25 shooting and grabbed 9 rebounds
  • J.R. Smith set his career high with 8 three-pointers made in a single game ... the record for makes in a single game is still held by Michael Adams and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf at 9
  • The Jazz grabbed 36% of the rebounds on the Nuggets' defensive end with 20 offensive rebounds
  • Deron Williams recorded a quiet double-double for the Jazz with 18 points and 10 assists, but turned in a -7 in his 40 minutes
  • Chauncey Billups recorded a season high 8 rebounds to go along with 17 points, 4 assists, and 3 steals last night - Billups is the pro's pro
  • Pepsi Center chants of "UTAH SUCKS!" echoed throughout the building last night ... I've always felt something positive for the home team could be more effective like, "FIF-TY WINS!" But what do I know?
  • The Nuggets improved to 3-3 on TNT this season with the WIN last night and have won 3 straight TNT broadcast games after starting the season 0-3 on TNT and prompting me to write the following before their first win on TNT against the Phoenix Suns on January 15th:
TNT … what does that stand for? Well for Denver so far this season it stands for The Nuggets Tank. Denver is 0-3 when appearing on Turner Network Television this season.

“But it’s just a channel,” some cry out. “It can’t possibly affect the outcome of a game.”

Hey, I’ve seen the Matrix like 12 times – as far as I’m concerned nothing that relates to machines and technology should be trusted.

Look, this is TNT – THEY KNOW DRAMA! This is the network that plays Law & Order on a constant loop. This is the network that airs Independence Day Saturday morning and again Saturday night. Can it affect an NBA game? I don’t see why not.

 

 

Opposition's Take: True Blue Jazz and SLC Dunk

Some love from SLC Dunk's recap:

I'm not an expert on this, but Mark Warkentien has to be Executive of the Year for bringing in Andersen and trading AI for Billups.  The two best decisions of the year and it's probably going to give them the second seed in the West because of it.

 

Any questions or comments you want answered ... don't hesitate to leave a comment or submit a question directly to me at:

ntimmons73@yahoo.com