Posted on: February 4, 2010 4:03 pm
Kobe Bryant futher injured himself last night in a 99-97 victory against the Charlotte Bobcats. He has flared up an ankle sprain he suffered the previous week against the 76ers in a collision with Elton Brand. In the 2nd quarter of last nights game Lamar Odom landed on it making it worse prompting Kobe to go to the locker room before half time to get treatment. My question is, why not sit out the entire game to rest? Or two or three?
The answer is simple, Kobe just doesn't trust his team to win without him. Even though he witnessed them win last night agains a hot Charlotte team while he was basically non-existant. (He shot 2 for 12 and had 5 points.) Easily his worst game of the year. Phil Jackson made a smart decision and took him out in the fourth quarter, but was it too late?
Kobe has a fractured finger, bad back and now a sprained ankle yet he continues to try and play.
He is scared of giving up ground for the number 1 seed in the West. Now he won't come out and admit this, but what other reason could you have? The gap isn't that small, Denver trails by 4.5 games, Dallas 6.5 and Utah 7. So a few losses certainly wouldn't put them out of position to maintain their number 1 seed but it could tighten it up just a bit. Both Bryant and Jackson know Denver can give them fits. We know they don't have the frontcourt to compete in another 7 game series with the Lakers but without Kobe, that's an entirely different story. Perfect example, Denver held Bryant scoreless in the second half of their only meeting this year, the result, Denver blew them out 106-78.
What I would like to ask Phil Jackson is why risk the health of the best player on this side of the Mississippi for playoff positioning. Last time I checked the number 1 seed doesn't always get you where you want to be, especially if your star player is playing at 50% because he (or his coach) was too stubborn to be smart about it.
Carmelo Anthony has missed 11 games this year for the Nuggets with a sprained ankle and a knee contusion. The result: Denver is 7-4, beating the Spurs on the road and the Cavaliers at home. Side note, they did not lose their spot in the standings. In fact, they passed Dallas for the number 2 seed.
The memo of the story is, quit being hot-headed, rest your injuries so you can recover or find yourself at home in June disappointed that you weren't smart about a simple ankle sprain or broken finger.
Posted on: October 15, 2009 3:15 pm
Unless you've been living under a rock for the last year then you've heard EVERY single Denver sports franchise get thrown under the bus one way or another. All it has done is provide fuel for each team to prove the nay sayers wrong. So far so good.
It all started with the Denver Nuggets last year. Not ONE person picked them to win the Northwest division let alone make the playoffs. Even after they traded for Chauncey Billups they were picked to finish no higher then 7th in the powerful Western Conference. What happened? Oh yeah they finished 2nd in the Conference and won the division over a very young talented Portland team. Their record of 54-28 tied the single season franchise record for wins and got Denver fans excited like never before.
Even after that, no one picked them to go to the Western Conference Finals. What happened? They made it there easily beating New Orleans and Dallas in 5 games both series. Who were these guys?? Where did they come from? The answer is nowhere, they were there all along and have had the talent to do this for years. It just finally came together for them this last year. In my mind the Conference Finals was the REAL Finals. The Nuggets gave the Lakers much more of a fight then Orlando. In fact they could've won that series in 5 games if it wasn't for a couple of bad inbound passes. Doubters doubt no more and the Nuggets are now getting more recognition as they rightfully deserve.
Now on to the Colorado Rockies. 18-28 was not the way to start the season and everyone had written them off by that point (rightfully so). But even before the season started no one gave them a chance and called the NL West the National League doormat. What happened?? The Rockies then won 17 of 18 and stormed back to win the Wild Card with a record of 92-70. Also a franchise record for wins. Also noteworthy, the NL West produced 2 of the 4 teams in the postseason and the Giants were in pursuit of the Rockies for the wildcard the whole way until the last 2 weeks. Firing Clint Hurdle and hiring Jim Tracy was a huge factor, but even after that happened no one gave them a shot. But like the Nuggets they proved everyone wrong. Sort of an ongoing theme in Denver these days.
Next we move on to the Denver Broncos. Josh McDaniels had a fire storm thrown at him after trading away Jay Cutler and having issues with Brandon Marshall. The media said they'd win 4, maybe 5 games all year. What happened? They won their first 5 games. Now everyone is calling McDaniels the early coach of the year. Kyle Orton went from getting bashed everywhere to a surprise and even so far as an early MVP consideration. (see ESPN's latest MVP rankings, he's 7th) Brandon Marshall went from a cancer to a hard working scoring machine. The Defense went from the laughing stock of the NFL to the best defense in the LEAGUE. Thank Mike Nolan and McDaniels for reshaping the defense. All in all, they are also proving everyone wrong.
Last but not least, the Colorado Avalanche. They were supposed to be rebuilding this year, and in many ways they are. They have two 18year old kids starting at center on their 2nd and 3rd line. But they are producing and are 4-1-1 thru 6 games. How it may be too early to tell if they will keep it up all year, they are still surprising people enough for ESPN's Peter LeBrun to right an article on how surprising they have been. They got a steal at Goalie this summer signing Anderson. He has been great so far with a .940 save percentage and a 1.98 GAA. So far, the Avs are following the Denver trend and proving everyone wrong. Even with a rookie head coach named Joe Sacco.
We had the 'Redeem Team' in the Olympics, now we have the redemption city. It's Denver. For some reason Denver never gets respect. See my previous blog on how the Stars of Denver get looked over for every award possible. (i.e. see Troy Tulowitzki for rookie of the year in 2007, Matt Holliday for MVP in 2007, Carmelo Anthony for rookie of the year in 2003, Todd Helton practically every year with gold gloves, he has won 3 but deserves many more. And probably soon to be added to the list will be Josh McDaniels and Jim Tracy for coach of the year) For some reason Denver is an afterthought in the sports world. Denver may be the fittest city in the nation and the 2009 #1 place to live, but apparently it's not for the sports teams. However Denver likes it that way, they like proving people wrong and will continue to do so.
Posted on: May 28, 2009 5:35 pm
So first off, this series is far from over. You remember the Nuggets basically beat themselves in games 1 and 3. Last night I'll admit the Lakers looked like the better team, in one quarter. It just happened to be the 4th quarter. Lets look at an interesting stat, going into game 5 the Nuggets had won 14 of 16 quarters in the series and it was still 2-2. Even after last night they've won 14 of 17 if you don't count the 1st, 2nd or 3rd in which they were tied. This series has been a great series between 2 incredibly balanced teams.
The Nuggets have the edge on the perimiter easy, the Lakers have the edge on the inside easy. It should make for a great game 6 which I'll be at!!!
Either way, the officiating has been horrendous for both teams. Not just the Nuggets as Ken Berger's article proclaims. I'm a Nuggets fan and yes we got the raw deal on MANY foul calls last night but I can also admit the Lakers had some questionable calls against them in game 4. It goes both ways, seems to always favor the home team. That's playoff basketball. My only complaint is that they need to be consistent with what is a foul and what is not. Like Phil Jackson said after game 4, they were getting knocked around with no calls in the first half but in the second half they were calling tic tac fouls all over. It's been like that in every game. They let them play early and then call the tic tac fouls in the 4th.
Even if they could reverse that I'd be more satisfied. The 4th quarter of a Western Conference final should be played rough and tough and the Refs should allow it. None of these oh Kobe got touched on his elbow 30 feet from the basket lets call a foul. They need to let them play in the 4th so the teams can settle it amongst themselves.
THE OFFICIATING DID NOT COST THE NUGGETS THE GAME LAST NIGHT (coming from an obvious Nuggets fan) But it certainly didn't help as was the case for the Lakers in game 4. In both instances where the coach complained about the fouls their teams respectively were outplayed. The officiating was horrible but in the last 2 games the team that deserved to win won. Any Arguments??
Back to game 6, which the Nuggets have to win to force game 7. Carmelo Anthony needs to have a good night both shooting and defensively. He knows they'll double and triple him so as long as his outlet passes are on point that should be a huge boost. Also has anybody noticed the GREAT offensive play from Linas Kleiza?? Why isn't he seeing more minutes George Karl?? You'd rather have Anthony Carter out there?? Carter is a good productive backup point guard but he's too prone to turnovers and is a liability on defense. I know that sounds weird to say because that's one of his biggest strengths but in this series he's been on Kobe Bryant mostly when he's in which is a HUGE mistake. Carter cannot keep up with Kobe, in fact he doesn't match up well in this series at all. Kleiza does because he has size and runs the floor very well for a forward. Give him more minutes. J.R. Smith has got to have a big game as well.
With my first point in this article about the Nuggets winning all but 3 quarters and tying in 3 others they have proven they can beat the Lakers. They are the better TEAM in this series. Lakers fans will hate me for saying that but it's the truth. If you take away Kobe and Carmelo the Nuggets win this series in 5 games. They've already shown they can beat the Lakers when 'Melo has an off night. They're more balanced and can run the floor better. They as a team just need to closeout better, if that happens as it did in games 2 and 4 the Nuggets have a good chance of taking this series in 7. It's going to be very tough, but it's still possible. All it takes is some key possessions in the fourth and confidence which these Nuggets have plenty of.
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: April 23, 2009 10:52 am
The Denver Nuggets are off to their first 2-0 series advantage since the conference semifinals of 1985. Chauncey Billups has been playing out of his mind, scoring 36 in game 1, 31 in game 2 while going 12-15 from downtown and dishing out 12 assists and 0 turnovers. Yes, 0 turnovers. You can tell he wants to win and win bad. He also played great defense on Chris Paul when he was on him.
The addition of Chauncey to this team has transformed it to one of the most entertaining teams in the league. You've got JR Smith nailing 3 pointers, Carmelo playing the best defense and offense of his life, dishing out a career playoff high of 9 assists last night. He's no longer trying to force shots and it's paying off for him and his teammates who are getting easy looks when he draws the double.
When you take that and the fact that the Nuggets are playing their best team defense in years, this looks to be a good year to make some noise in the postseason and give the city of Denver something to cheer for after 5 straight first round exits. If the Nuggets play the way they did in games 1 and 2, this should be a sweep and then they can get some rest heading into the second round as it seems almost inevitable that Dallas and San Antonio are going to go 6 or 7 games. The Nuggets won the season series agains the Spurs 2-1 and against the Mavericks 4-0 so they have the path they want to get to the Lakers. Now lets see if they can stay on that path.
They absolutely should be able to, JR Smith is playing with more poise and maturity, Dahntay Jones is playing great defense, Kenyon Martin is hounding David West and Chris Birdman Andersen is bringing energy every time he steps on the court. Combine that with the smooth steady play of Chauncey and the newly mature and team first Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets will go deep. The question is how far.
Posted on: April 21, 2009 12:45 pm
Edited on: April 21, 2009 12:50 pm
Have you ever noticed how when one of our stars (from Denver) on any major team we have in town, when they have a huge year and are in the award discussions, they always finish 2nd or within the top 5 but never win. Why doesn't denver sports get respect.
My thoughts started yesterday, when George Karl finished 5th in coach of the year voting. Maybe he shouldn't have won but come on, the guy took a team that even after the trade for Chauncey Billups was expected to finish no higher then 7th or 8th in the Western Conference. What does he do, leads them to the 2nd seed and ties the franchise record for wins with 54. Mike Brown won it, and I'm not saying he didn't deserve it, but everyone expected Cleveland to be good, not Denver.
Ok so Carmelo Anthony not winning rookie of the year is fine considering he came in with Wade and Lebron James. That's one I'll never be upset over. But lets go back to the 90's in Todd Helton's rookie year for the Rockies. He lost out to Kerry Wood because Kerry Wood had ONE great game with 20 strikeouts. Voters overlooked Todd Helton playing good day in and day out.
Our World Series year, Tulo gets robbed for rookie of the year, although Ryan Braun is a good player too. Matt Holliday lost out on the MVP to Jimmy Rollins, and what happened in the playoffs? who led what team past the other. I think it was a sweep too if I recall. So why no respect, sure we have an mvp here or there, Larry Walker, Terrell Davis (only had to get 2000 yards to get that honor)
It just seems as if the media craves near perfection from Denver to award our players. Carmelo Anthony is easily the least respected All Star in the NBA, and wait, he's not an all star according to the NBA fans and coaches. Bruce Bowen even got more fan votes then Carmelo. and he doesn't even start!! My guess is JR Smith won't win 6th man, he'll lose out to Jason Terry, who does come off the bench but plays more then the starters. Nene won't win most improved even though he came back from testicular cancer and hadn't played in more then 17 games in over 3 years. He played in 77 this year. And if the Nuggets win the title, or if the Broncos or Rockies make the playoffs this year, it will be considered a fluke much like the Rockies '07 campaign. So my only question is....
WHEN WILL THE RESPECT COME???