Posted on: May 14, 2009 11:58 am
Edited on: May 14, 2009 5:32 pm
As Kenyon Martin stood on the scores table after the game celebrating with fans I got chills down my spine. Was this really the same team who used to give up easy baskets, shoot 3's with 20 seconds on the shot clock and let themselves beat themselves?? It was, only this was the new Nuggets who are finally playing to their potential. Talent has never been the question as they have plenty of it from top to bottom. It always came down to the willingness to compete and treat every possession like it was the last.
Much credit will be given to Chauncey Billups, who is after all these years, still the real deal from Park Hill. I remember going to CU games back in the day with the Coors Event Center rocking. This guy brings excitement wherever he goes. After last nights closeout of the Dallas Mavericks in 5 seemingly easy games for the Nuggets, Billups has now been to the Conference Finals 7 years in a row. Lets just name the few others who have accomplished the same feat shall we... Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Michael Cooper, Magic Johnson... That is some pretty elite company and proves Billups status as a floor general and great leader. Magic Johnson calls him the best leader in the game today and he's right. Without Chauncey this year, if the Nuggets still had Allen Iverson, they would've been watching last nights game from their couch. No pun intended on Iverson but lets face it, Billups is a leader and Iverson wasn't.
Besides Chauncey you have to give all the credit to Carmelo Anthony and George Karl. Anthony has broke through at the perfect time and is playing the best basketball of his career. He is passing well out of double teams, hitting his mid-range jumper with ease and getting to the hole easier then an ice cream cone into a fat kids mouth. It is obvious this year more then any other that Melo finally just wants to WIN and win big. He's no longer satisfied with putting up great numbers and losing, and this shows signs of his ever growing maturity.
George Karl also found a way to save his job this season and resurrect his career all at the same time. Not bad for a guy who has 17 straight winning seasons as a head coach and has made the playoffs in 18 of 21 years as a head coach. Pretty good right... Well he's showing he has the smarts and game management abilities to lead the Nuggets to the promise land. Funny story considering these Nuggets upset his Seattle Supersonics in '94 who at that time were the first #1 seed to lose to a #8.
Overall the Nuggets look more mature by the moment. Kenyon Martin is playing stellar defense. Nene is shaping into a great post player. J.R. Smith is playing defense and being smarter with his shot selections as well as passing the ball well. Not too mention the Birdman.
These (our) Nuggets aren't done yet either. Look for them to make some noise in the Conference finals no matter who they face. Either the Lakers/ Rockets must be taking notice. Go Nuggets!!
Posted on: January 29, 2009 12:55 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2009 1:18 pm
Is Chris Paul a Dirty Player??
Is that even a fair question to ask about the best PG in the NBA?
Last night I was observing the Nuggets-Hornets game. It was an amazing game until the fourth quarter when the Nuggets basically gave it away. It was fun to watch. It had all of the ingredients for a playoff match up. Great crowd, both teams playing with intensity and passion. This could end up being a second round match up in the playoffs if the Nuggets win the northwest and the Hornets win the southwest.
But on to my point for this article. Is Chris Paul dirty?? His talent is almost unmatchable at the point position, but does he get away with a lot of stuff. Yes.
Every time I saw Paul drive to the rim and step back to take a jumper he would extend his forearm knocking the defensive player out of position giving him an open shot. On top of that, the ref only helped this by sometimes calling a foul on the defensive player with replay showing that there was no contact from the defensive side.
Then there's his post move, he'll post up and hook his arm around the backside of the defender to get around. Again almost never called against him but called against his defender instead. Is it his talent and the respect he has earned that keeps these from being called offensive fouls? Don't get me wrong, it's not always blatantly obvious that it's an offensive foul, but in that case shouldn't it just be a no call. It seems like the ref is unsure every time this happens so he gives the benefit of the doubt to Paul and calls it against the defender.
In last nights game, there was one play in particular where Paul was at the top of the circle, he got a pick set for him and Nene had to rotate over to cover him. Paul did his usual shaking and baking and extended his forearm to create space, a foul was called on Nene. The replay showed Nene with his hands straight up in the air and not once did he even lay a finger on CP3. Still the foul was given to Nene.
So I guess my real question is, do superstars get the benefit of calls because of their reputation? I see it that way and it shouldn't be that way. It makes it unfair to the role players who work hard and never get the benefit of the doubt.
This is not an attack on Chris Paul. I can agree he is the BEST PG in the NBA hands down. But does he get away with some calls here and there. Absolutely.