When the local reporters start talking about road games in Memphis, they all mention the same thing ... the barbecue. Now, I'm not able to travel to see the team, but I am more than capable of blending in with a pregame barbecue meal for myself.
The particulars ...
Denver: 31-23 (9-16 on the road)
Streak: Won 1 and 5-5 in last 10 games.
Memphis: 29-26 (17-8 at home)
Streak: Won 2 and 7-3 in last 10.
Memphis: O.J. Mayo (league suspension, banned substance) is out. Rudy Gay (sprained toe right foot) and Zach Randolph (sprained right ankle) are day-to-day.
Season Series: Nuggets lead 1-0.
Opposition's Take: Straight Outta Vancouver
When you think of good barbecue you think of places like Texas and parts of the south. Well, I'm here to tell you that there is some tasty barbecue to be had in Casper, Wyoming as well. I decided to grab some wings last night at Boot's BBQ and wanted some classic buffalo wings. The thing that makes Boot's BBQ wings so delicious is that they smoke their wings and the meat basically falls off the bone. I've had wings at a lot of different places, but these things are just amazing. If for some reason you ever find yourself in Casper (maybe a trip to Yellowstone National Park or a ski trip to Jackson, WY or maybe to catch a Casper Ghosts game (Rockies affiliate)) then head to Boot's BBQ, you wont regret it.
I know buffalo wings are not BBQ, but a simple mistake made it happen for me. I ordered my wings to go and didn't bother to check the order, I thought I smelled BBQ sauce on my drive home and I was right. Instead of the classic buffalo sauce I had been given BBQ sauce ... the mistake was sort of ironic as the Nuggets play today in a BBQ Mecca of Memphis.
My pregame meal has left me a bit sluggish so I wouldn't be surprised if Scott Hastings and Chris Marlowe are also feeling the day after BBQ blues with heavy stomachs as they get set for the broadcast. The Altitude TV guys were talking about where they were going to eat in Memphis during the broadcast of the Dallas Mavericks game.
The broadcast team might need their wits about them as a few familiar names for the home team are a bit banged up and might need some role players to step in and contribute today. O.J. Mayo or Orange Juice Mayonnaise, as I like to call him for long, had been having a rough season witha diminished role with the team and things got worse when he tested positive for a banned substance, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and was given a 10-game suspension from the League.
The team's leading scorer, Zach Randolph (20.2 ppg), missed Friday's game against Milwaukee with his ankle sprain and might miss this afternoon's game as well. Randolph, who looks like a big time barbecue fan, typically plays well against Denver (he had 18 points and 12 rebounds against Denver in the Nuggets' 108-107 win on December 5th) and his absence would be a big one today.
The team's second leading scorer, Rudy Gay (19.9 ppg), should play today as he did play Friday against the Bucks. And Gay should play a lot, he averages 40 minutes per game and is a high volume shooter. Carmelo Anthony should focus on Gay on the defensive end and not get into a shootout with him. I haven't seen Melo as dialed in as he was against the Mavs in a long time. Not only was he on fire on the offensive end, but he was putting in the effort we all expect of a superstar on the defensive end as well. Too often Melo focuses his attention on one end of the basketball court and allows his defensive assignment to have above average games on the offensive side. Mavs small forward Shawn Marion had 19 points against Melo, he averages 11.5 ppg. Warriors small forward Dorell Wright had 23 points against Melo, he averages 16.5 ppg. And that's just two of the most recent cases.
Let's hope the Nuggets' players didn't partake in pregame BBQ themselves or it could be a long game. I have no problem with Hastings buying the players some BBQ on the team plane, but it'd be nice to see Denver follow up their exciting win against Dallas with another W today against the Grizzlies.
Views you can use:
- The Grizzlies are 15-8 in 2011 ... currently the Grizz have the same number of wins as the eighth seeded Blazers and are in the conversation for a playoff berth.
- The Nuggets bench scored just 12 points against the Mavericks ... unless Chauncey Billups, Arron Afflalo and Melo are still on fire today, the bench will need to lend a hand and take the scoring burden off the team's starters.
- The Nuggets have only held their opponent under 100-points five times in 2011 in 23 tries.
Nate_Timmons on Twitter