You don't get to 1,000 wins in the NBA without a few losses along the way.
I'm sorry for the rushed post-game recap but I got roped into a dinner meeting tonight. Luckily the Nuggets game started at 5pm MST so I was able to squeeze this in before heading out. I appreciate everyone's understanding and am sure our fellow Stiffs will offer substantial analysis!
One quick thought I had at the game's conclusion. Tonight's loss was the Nuggets first of the season to a sub-par team when the Nuggets had ample rest before tipoff. At least the Nuggets didn't blow a lead...they never really had one...
Here are some random observations from the game...
...Carmelo Anthony was off - make that way off - throughout the first quarter, finishing 1-6 from the field. As pointed out by Altitude's Scott Hastings during the quarter, Melo has too much body movement on his shots. At what point should we be openly questioning how Melo's contract situation is affecting his game? Ok, make that now.
...for the second game in a row, we see Gary Forbes and J.R. Smith playing together, which essentially debunks George Karl’s assertion from a few weeks ago (when J.R. was in Karl's doghouse) that there aren't enough minutes for both players.
...Charlotte finishes the quarter with a 14-5 run. And that was with the game slowed down to a snail's pace.
...the Nuggets open the quarter with small lineup including Forbes and J.R. Again, about that whole "not enough minutes" thing...
...the Nuggets cut the Bobcats 10-point lead down to four while Melo is on the bench. Perhaps Forbes and J.R. play together more often?
...Ty Lawson showcases two aggressive moves to the rack that get the Nuggets their mojo back but it begs an obvious question: why is the diminutive Lawson often the most aggressive Nugget?
...when Chauncey Billups, Nene and Melo come back in, Charlotte's lead grows. I wouldn't read anything into that but it was a first-half oddity to be sure.
...late in the quarter, Altitude does a great job showing a very young Karl doing his thing as a point guard at the University of North Carolina. Great footage find!
...the third opens with good play but bad early third quarter passes. The game would see-saw from there.
...the Bobcats' PA announcer might be more annoying than the Nuggets after made shots by the home team.
...I just realized that I really don’t like the dark blue road jerseys. The lettering is amateurish and it seems like the Nuggets don’t play well in them to begin with.
...Melo continues to take tough shots and worse, it seems like his tough shots are followed by opponent makes.
...my appreciation for Nene’s all around game is growing. He's a very underrated defender and I'm not sure why we’d want him traded.
...as if we needed more proof that Melo is just "off", he suddenly can’t make a free throw.
...for the first half of the quarter, Billups is very aggressive and keeps the Nuggets competitive. But unfortunately his three-point touch went dry within the last three minutes.
...I think it would help Melo's game tremendously if he stopped assuming he's going to get fouled when he takes the ball inside and just try to make the close-in shots he keeps missing. 22 points on 21 shot attempts is never good.
...J.R. clanks a three-pointer off the side of the backboard...are you kidding me?!
...when Kwame Brown makes one of two free throw attempts, you know it's not your night.
...Billups tries to be the hero. Memo to Chauncey: Melo and only Melo should be taking game-ending shots.
NON-STIFF(S) OF THE NIGHT
-D.J. Augustin and Gerald Wallace: Augustin and Wallace out-played their counterparts on the Nuggets - Billups and Melo - combining for 14-28 shooting, 11 rebounds,11 assists and just four turnovers vs. Billups/Melo's 13-34 shooting, 10 rebounds, six assists and seven turnovers.
STIFF OF THE NIGHT
-Al Harrington: I love Big Al, but he has to get out of his shooting slump one of these days. Harrington finished the game "shooting" 2-8 from the field.
Boston beckons. The Nuggets will have played at Boston on a back-to-back for three consecutive seasons including tomorrow's game. The Nuggets won in Boston in 2008 as part of their coming-out party with Chauncey Billups on board. Last season, they got squashed in the pseudo-Garden. I'm looking forward to the rubber match but I don't like Coach Karl's chances of winning number 1,000 on Wednesday night.