The Big Guy

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself Nostradamus, but I’d have to say that I knew Nene could be a special player in this league if he stayed healthy. I think basically anyone and everyone can probably agree on said point, but I learned this a bit of a different way.
NBA 2K9 for the Playstation 2 taught me many valuable lessons about running a successful NBA franchise. Of course I steered the ship of my favorite NBA team … the Denver Nuggets. After making deals to bring in Allen Iverson and JR Smith I noticed my team’s bloated payroll. So, I did my best Stan Kroenke because I didn’t want to pay the luxury tax either. I looked over my roster and decided to trim some fat.
I reluctantly dealt Kenyon Martin’s and Marcus Camby’s contracts away and brought in a couple scrubs. These moves paved the way for me to start Nene and see what the big guy could do. Well, Nene dominated opposing centers and became a force – just like he is doing now. Nene’s improved play could no longer be ignored and I had to start making him the focal point of my offense.
The 2008-2009 real version of Nene is mirroring my virtual world. Nene to date is averaging career highs in points scored per game and rebounds pulled down per game at 15.1 and 8.2 respectively. And Nene continues to lead the NBA is field goal percentage at 61.3%. In fact he went 12-12 against the Jazz matching a Nuggets franchise record set by Bobby Jones in 1978.
You can see this season that Nene has added a pretty nice mid-range jumper to go along with his post game that is allowing him to be a real threat on the offensive end. I don’t think there is a big man in the league that is more comfortable using both hands down low like Nene can. Nene also is shooting 73% from the charity stripe, which is a drastic improvement over his career mark of 65%.
If this play continues I fully expect Nene to be a finalist for the 2008-09 Most Improved Player award. Nene could become the second Nugget to win the MIP award; Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf took home the honors in the 1992-93 season.
Last night the Utah Jazz had absolutely no answer for the 26 year-old Brazilian who was dropping in sweet left handed layups at will. Much has been discussed about Nene’s health; he’s missed 165 games the last three seasons (81-246 games played / total games). But it’s been great seeing him play so well this year and to see the faith the Nuggets front office had in him really start to pay off.
When Nene signed his contract extension for nearly $10 million per season the Nuggets front office was laughed at by members of the national media. So far this season it has been Nene displaying the biggest smile.
Nuggets 117 – Jazz 97
I ate dinner last night at Brooklyn’s just outside Pepsi Center and saw a young man wearing a throwback John Stockton jersey. At that moment I realized why I hate the Jazz so much. I could never stand Stockton and Karl Malone.
And with this new Jazz team I just don’t like the comparison of Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer as the new killer combination. Not to worry since the Jazz would be without Boozer and AK47 (Andrei Kirilenko).
But Denver would have to find a way to stop Boozer’s heir apparent Paul Millsap (averaging 17.6 points in his last 5 games). Turned out that foul trouble would help limit Millsap to just 12 points in 30 minutes.
As tipoff got underway I noticed Dahntay Jones in the lineup after missing just one game (separated shoulder). Now, I’ve separated my shoulder and I don’t quite know how in the heck Jones could be playing so soon, but it was good to have him back on the floor.
JR Smith came out scorching scoring 13 of his 22 points in the first quarter. When that kid is on he nearly impossible to stop. After the game George Karl said JR played “pretty good offensively” – I really think Karl must just hate giving JR props more so than he hates missing out on a meal.
As I usually do during games I was texting and calling my boys furiously with the high and low points of the game, when I got a text telling me that my basketball crazed buddy was actually watching the NHL All-Star game instead of the Nuggets and Jazz battle royal. But I guess NHL commissioner Gary Bettman would be pissed off if nobody were watching the All-Star game so I let it slide.
Altitude announcer Chris Marlowe informed us that the Jazz didn’t arrive in Denver until game day because of airplane problems. My roommate looked up from his computer and asked me if I was telling him to “shut up” and was also a bit confused why I had just called him Marlowe. I had to explain to him that I was talking to the TV and sensed the Nuggets announcer was trying to make excuses for Jazz's sloppy play.
I feel like Marlowe and Me (hey! Sort of a movie reference right there!) have a lot of one-way conversations and I’m generally fairly rude to the guy  even though he can't hear me yelling at him through the TV  – even though I understand he’s just trying to give us viewers some relevant information on the Nuggets' opponents .
Denver was scoring at will and led the Jazz 35-26 after the first quarter and held that nine point lead at the half 60-51. All the anticipation leading up to this game was squashed as Denver continued to light up the scoreboard in the second half and just completely take Utah out of the game.
Nuggets fans were treated to a nice offensive performance and a 20-point victory 117-97. The night belonged to Nene who like I previously mentioned finished the game shooting 12-12 from the field and scoring a team high, a season high and tying his career high with 28.
Karl said after the game he didn’t realize Nene had tied a franchise record for consecutive buckets made, but the Altitude crew informed viewers of it immediately. Wouldn’t you think Scott Hastings would pass the message along to old Georgie boy?
I really didn’t expect Denver to breeze to victory over the Jazz, but I also didn’t expect to shed a few tears during the latest Will Smith flick Seven Pounds. So, expect the unexpected at times.
Views you can use:

  • Anthony Carter played a baffling 34 minutes and tied his career high with 10 assists
  • Linas Kleiza led the team with 18 shots and scored 18 points off the bench
  • Chris Anderson is quickly becoming my favorite Nuggets reserve (scored 10 points and added 3 blocks against the Jazz)
  • Carmelo Anthony is giving Craig Seger a run for his money in the ugly suit department