How a hard and extremely inappropriate foul by J.R. Smith got me excited about the Nuggets again...
...and how the Minnesota Timberwolves may not like being the next team to play the Nuggets.
I am most certainly in the minority on this one. I'm ok with that.
When J.R. tried to take Raja Bell's head off it brought a smile to my face. When Smith clobbered Bell I was more engaged in a Denver Nuggets game than I've been all season. When Smith pounded Bell into the Pepsi Center floor, I was reminded that sometimes teams just can't take it anymore.
Therefore, I'm excited to see how the Nuggets will respond tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Yes, the Nuggets lost last night's game against the Jazz ... but that was the first time in a year I saw the Denver Nuggets of 2009 peek through. I saw an angry team that was fed up with the flopping of Bell, the absurdity of Deron Williams, and the constant moving screens set by the Jazz (hello refs!!). Now it's time to take out the aggressions on Kevin Love and his 'Wolves.
With the increasing likelihood of the Nuggets (29-21) keeping Carmelo Anthony all season, I think we are at 0-0. Clean slate begins. The last time the Nuggets played in Minnesota they managed to win without Nene, Melo and Kenyon Martin. They won by out hustling the Wolves and they also received an HUGE boost from Renaldo Balkman (who, unfortunately, most likely will not play). As of now we don't know if K-Mart or Chris Andersen will play considering their minute restrictions (perfect time to play Balkman again?).
Meanwhile in Minnesota, newly selected All-Star Love leads his Timberwolves (11-38) who are coming off a loss of their own last night to the Toronto Raptors. Not much new I can say about the Timberwolves. We know the Nuggets must focus most of their attention to the rebounding of Love and the scoring of Michael Beasley. These two are 1 and 1A in the pantheon of Timberwolves who's record is deceivingly bad. The Wolves have been in most of the games they have played and I wouldn't describe them as a bad team. They just seem to have a in-congruent mixture of players, starting with Darko Milicic at center. While he has not played badly this year, the Wolves seem to need a bit more playmaking from their center.
Meanwhile Luke Ridnour is still in the league (I swear this is his 1000th team) and Johnny Flynn is his backup. David Kahn (KAHHHHHHHNNNNNN!!) has some parts that are great, some that are meh, some that are just downright inadequate. Eventually they will get it right I suppose. Thus the difficulties of rebuilding in the NBA. If anything the plight of the Timberwolves since Kevin Garnett left should be a dire warning to Nuggets fans that, even if you get a draft pick back ... if you have an odd GM you can be left with the interesting mix of players that the Wolves currently have.
Kurt Rambis is the coach (still, all I can think of when I see him is Kevin McHale sending him into the third row on a hard foul in 1987) who, in actuality doesn't seem to be too terrible. He learned under Phil Jackson, and while he doesn't have the "Zen" he seems to have the same build and a similar tailor.
Nuggets of Wisom
Life, ladies and gents. Life is what we saw from the Nuggets. Yes they lost and I'm damn pissed off about it. That's the great part, there was a spark against a now HATED division rival. I'm not one to advocate hard foul, but I have to say somewhere Dahntay Jones is smiling. Yes, you can argue that the flagrant 2 cost the Nuggets the game ... but it was a symptom of a new/old attitude about not taking any crap, particularly from the Utah Jazz. Like I said, I'm sure I'm in the minority, but I liked it a lot.
I have to tell you I'm excited to see how the Nuggets come out to play against the Wolves. Somewhere in the back of my mind I'm thinking that the Nuggets will take their aggressions out on them and come out motivated. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong ... but something tells me that we are seeing the Nuggets start to care.
That's great to see.
Oppositions take: Canis Hoopus