CO Sports Chick

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Archive for the ‘Nuggets’ Category

MarshMello’s No More

Posted by The Minkster on February 25, 2011

Oh happy day!!  The Melodrama is finally over and last night in The Can against the East leading Boston Celtics Nuggets fans got to see what kind of team will be finishing out the 2011 season.  The fact that Boston had lost in four out of their last five visits to the Mile High City was irrelevant as transplanted yanks in green came out in droves to cheer on the team that started this new NBA super team phenomenon.  

Just kick yourself – right now – if you missed this contest and you like old school basketball.  There was great defense by both teams, no phantom superstar whistles to speak of, awesome ball movement and hustle!  What an entertaining game and I actually stopped working on my computer, which is what I usually do during long boring NBA games.  The old MarshMello Nuggets would typically lose a game where they scored under 90 points, but these guys looked like they were playing college ball and put the aging oxygen sucking Celtics away 89-75 in the last few minutes of a hard-fought contest. 

I just love how the media guys keep saying the Celtics were short-handed with only nine guys suited up for the game.  Is that an excuse?  The Nuggets beat Memphis 120-107 with same number of guys (9) just two days earlier but minus its “superstar”, team leader and bench support.  Boston lost two role players and two rookies – must have been devastating!  

JR schools Big Baby

JR taking it to the hoop!

Anyway, back to our Nuggets.  George Karl looks re-energized, Ty has stepped up into Mr. Big Shot’s role, Kmart looks like Steve Austin (as in 6 Million Dollar Man not Stone Cold) and Afflalo looks to shine in the new look Nuggets to show why he was highly regarded coming out of UCLA.  The new defensive minded Nugs held Boston scoreless for the last 6:09 of the game!  That would have never happened with Melo and Chauncey in the lineup.  Did you know this is only the sixth time this season the Nuggets have been held to less than 90 points, but he first time they won a low scoring affair? 

The pre-trade Nuggets couldn’t hold a lead, but the post powder blue team keeps the pedal to the floor and is determined to make the playoffs.  It’s like a new short season for the baby Nuggos and I think they can go deep into the playoffs playing more like the Spurs than the Lakers.  A team effort, tough D, ball movement and multiple scoring threats will beat a superstar with a back-up band over the long NBA season.

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Melodrama Finally Over!

Posted by The Minkster on February 22, 2011

Carmelo Anthony gave the Nuggets 6 good years of his 7 year contract and was free to leave after this season.  That’s how this NBA contract thing works.  No team can be married to a player for an entire career without both sides putting out.  By that I mean, the organization has to make an effort to build a winning team (see his Airness and the Bulls, and Kobe and the Lakers) around a franchise player and the pro has to continuously work on his game while putting it all out there for the team.  If one side feels like the other isn’t carrying its weight then divorce is imminent. 

Carmelo Anthony

Melo heading to greener pastures

Melo has taken care of his body, improved his game and matured from the defiant teen that was drafted after one season at Syracuse.  The Nuggets have tried bringing in key support players and the right coaching staff, but the moves have come up short.  I firmly believe that if the Nuggets hadn’t been strapped with big contracts and salary cap limits and could’ve figured out a way to bring Stoudemire to Denver Melo would’ve signed the extension in the off-season.  By bringing in Al Harrington with K-Mart and Birdman recovering from off-season surgery Melo was done with Denver.  Time to move on and try to win a championship somewhere else. 

Looks like the Eastern Conference might be relevant again, (other than the Celtics), but the best TEAMS still live in the West and the right to hoist the O’Brien trophy goes through L.A. and Koby.  The kids will have fun playing black top ball during the season on the East coast, but if you watched the All-Star game it is very apparent that the West knows how to play championship caliber basketball.  Although I don’t like the Black Momba, it was great to see him school Bron Bron, D3PO and the Celtics retirees. 

Sorry to see Melo go.  Sorry that the Nuggets couldn’t put together a more dominant team during Anthony’s contract.  Really sorry to see Chauncey get swept up in this mess, but maybe he’ll get another ring out of it before retiring.  But, after months of the Melodrama it will be exciting to see what the Nuggets can do with this new roster and if they can hang on for a playoff spot this year.  I believe there is enough talent to win without Melo, but the only thing that matters is if the guys in powder blue believe that is true.

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Not Enough Heat to Start a Fire in Rockies

Posted by The Minkster on January 14, 2011

Knowing that Melo will soon be playing home games somewhere around the Big Apple in a week or two made the annihilation of the Miami Heat, even without King James, as sweet as a chunk of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory fudge.  Up by about 30 going into the fourth quarter and maintaining the spread five minutes into it put the Nuggets in the unique situation of clearing the bench and resting the starters for the remainder of the game.  Afflalo, JR and Ty gave us a glimpse of how the future of the franchise might look next year after all the veterans have been cleared out, and if they could do that every night the Nuggos would at least be fun to watch. 

The vets that are cornerstone of trade talks

In case you muted the TNT Heat-loving broadcast team or decided that the Mentalist rerun was more entertaining, you might not know that LeBron James missed the game due to a sprained ankle.  Too bad, because the way the Nuggets played last night I think Melo and the gang would’ve still smacked the Heat around.  Despite its record, I think this team in baby blue could go deep into the playoffs if it could stay together.  And, it would be great if Santa still brought me presents and the Easter Bunny filled my basket with Cadbury eggs.  It’s a business and we all root for laundry, so no use in worrying about who is leaving.  I just hope the Nuggets end up with a diamond in the rough like the Rox did in CarGo after moving Holliday.  Both Holliday and Melo wanted out of Denver and I wish them both many losses and absence of a championship ring upon retirement.  Yep, no taking the high road here – it just a business boys.

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Counting Feathers After Turkey Weekend

Posted by The Minkster on December 1, 2010

Broncos fan for the night

My Steelers fan cousin in Broncos jersey after losing bet.

Now that the Buffs’ painful football season and Hawk era of love are officially over up in Boulder it seems like an appropriate time to take stock of where Colorado sports are as we sleigh ride into the holidays.  Although the only Colorado team to show-up on the gridiron this fall was the Zoomies, it is still the most wonderful time of the year for sports fans.  Let’s take a moment to rate the teams that strap’em on and sweat for our entertainment during this time of year.  One Rudolph means shopping on Black Friday morning at Cherry Creek Mall would be less painful than watching a game, and five Rudolphs mean you would be forgiven if you traded your child’s sold-out-for-months hot Christmas toy for a ticket to the big game.

  • Air Force Academy Football – Rudy the Red Nosed DeerRudy the Red Nosed DeerRudy the Red Nosed DeerRudy the Red Nosed Deer
  • Colorado Avalanche – Rudy the Red Nosed DeerRudy the Red Nosed DeerRudy the Red Nosed DeerRudy the Red Nosed Deer
  • Colorado Rapids – Rudy the Red Nosed DeerRudy the Red Nosed DeerRudy the Red Nosed DeerRudy the Red Nosed DeerRudy the Red Nosed Deer
  • Denver Broncos – Rudy the Red Nosed Deer
  • Denver Nuggets – Rudy the Red Nosed DeerRudy the Red Nosed DeerRudy the Red Nosed Deer
  • University of Colorado Football – Rudy the Red Nosed Deer
  • University of Colorado Women’s Basketball – Rudy the Red Nosed DeerRudy the Red Nosed DeerRudy the Red Nosed Deer
  • University of Denver Hockey – Rudy the Red Nosed DeerRudy the Red Nosed DeerRudy the Red Nosed Deer
  • CU, DU, AFA Men’s Basketball – Rudy the Red Nosed DeerRudy the Red Nosed Deer
  • DU and AFA Women’s Basketball – Rudy the Red Nosed Deer

EVERYBODY GIVE IT UP FOR THE RAPIDS – YOUR 2010 MLS CHAMPS!!  I know soccer can be painful to watch in general, but the championship match against Dallas was a great game with the intensity you would expect in a title bout between two scrappy underdog teams.  Show your love next season for the only Colorado pro team to bring home hardware since the Mammoth had a Gait on the sideline by going to the pitch at Dick’s next spring.

No need to rehash football except to congratulate the Zoomies on bringing the Commander’s Trophy back to the front range.  Two wings up boys!  Looks like the best basketball team in the state might be the CU women roundballers, but they have a tough Big 12 gauntlet to maneuver through including a visit from the Baylor Bears – a team that should’ve ended U Conn’s NCAA record-setting win streak a couple of weeks ago.  I’m excited about the new Boyle regime up in Boulder, but it will take some time to recruit and get his system in place.  The Pios are a young hockey team and keep getting better as the season progresses.  Definitely catch a game at Magness this season.

Back to the pro teams, the Nuggets have been banged up but should keep the playoff streak alive with or without Melo.  The Avs look like a playoff team although still very young and have had to make some trades due to injuries, but catch these guys when they are playing like Sacco says they are capable of and they’ll put one up in the W column.  We should see the “A” in the playoffs again this year and hopefully into the second round.  And last but not least the Rox!  They’re playin’ when they’re not playin’, know what I’m sayin’?  With the lifetime signing of Tulo, getting a deal done with Rosey and actively shopping for a big bat the Rockies are more exciting than McKid’s gang on Sunday afternoon.

Dear Santa, my wish list is short this year: Les Miles hired by the Buffs, Melo signs the Nuggets new contract, the Rox bring Adam Dunn to the Mile High City and Bowlen brings on Elway to help McKid with talent evaluation (see John’s success as Crush owner).  What’s on your sports wish list this holiday season?

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Let LaLa Make Her Decision in July

Posted by The Minkster on October 7, 2010

Looks like Nuggets fans will have to put up with gibberish about Melo trades until he’s actually traded or February rolls around and the trade deadline passes.  CBS Sports today stated that there is still a possibility of a four team deal with Melo going to New Jersey, but Denver might be asking too much in order for the deal to actually happen.  Really!?!  The Nuggets should take any deal they can get so they don’t lose Anthony to free agency?  How about winning a NBA title with Melo and then LaLa Melo can make a decision to stay or go in June or July (whenever it is the NBA finishes its season)?

The Denver Nuggets basketball team scrimmaged at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield Tuesday night, October 5, 2010. Karl Gehring/The Denver Post

I can understand why a player would want to play in the Eastern Conference because it’s all about stats, right?  Melo should be able to score at will on those nights that don’t have Boston or Miami up on the scoreboard.  Gosh in the Western Conference the teams are tough top to bottom, who wants to work that hard to win?  But hey, if he wants to leave then he’s earned the right to shop his talents on the open market.  But let’s be clear, there won’t be anyone buying billboards to beg the guy to stay or posting a bad rap song on YouTube by Hickenlooper and the Golden Dome Band. 

Personally I don’t understand the logic of getting a bunch of warm bodies and a draft pick (the Nuggets haven’t actually been stellar in this department) in here for Melo just to get something.  We got something – 7 years of watching a fun basketball player.  It makes about as much sense as going on a backcountry backpacking trip with Alfred Packer.  The team hiding out at the Pepsi Center whose name isn’t getting tossed around as a championship contender is a talented group.  The Nuggets picked up a couple of good big men in Williams and Harrington and have a loaded backcourt that can shoot lights out.  Unless the Nuggets can get the second coming of MJ for Melo then keep him and lets bring the first NBA Championship to Denver!  With the collective bargaining agreement expiring, who knows what the next iteration of the NBA will look like.  I would like to see the Nuggets take their chances.

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Turn Off Melo-drama and Tune Into Nugs

Posted by The Minkster on September 30, 2010

I’m already tired of hearing about Melo deals and if this past summer is any indication it’s just getting started, so I’m focusing on the three hop along amigos, Smooth and the youngster Ty.  After a disappointing early playoff exit I’m actually looking forward to this year.  No matter whether Melo stays or goes I think the Nuggets are looking at another post season appearance.

Kmart is a dominating player when he’s focused and healthy.  That stretch last year before his annual injury put him on the bench was fun to watch.  Who doesn’t like some in your face smack down playing from the hometown rebel?  Birdman wasn’t the same at all last year, so hopefully the problems were lasered, cut or repaired so he can fly free again.  Not sure what Nene has been doing this summer, but if he is healthy and strong Karl will get him back on track.  Don’t forget about big Al who we picked up a few months ago and I think Balkman is primed for a breakout year.

On to the little guys to which I can relate.  We have a good bunch of ball handlers and shooters that will be hard for any team to cover.  Billups is back in the Mile High City fresh off his gold medal victory at the FIFA’s this summer.  Ty has a new shooting motion that he’s been working on all summer, so looking forward to some big games from him this year.  Afflalo should get some significant playing time and have a big season under Karl’s tutelage.  And last but not least there is JR with his insane lights out shooting that I love to see, but the coaches hate. 

Should be a fun year to catch a Nugs game and if the Melo circus can be kept out in the old Cirque de Sole tent this team has a chance to finish two or three in the West.  Keep your eyes on the Pepsi Center court and earplugs in your ears for another fun ride.

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All-Star Snub Not So Bad

Posted by The Minkster on January 29, 2010

Chauncey was snubbed by fans and coaches this week when he was left off the NBA West All-Star team.  I know I should be disappointed as a Nuggets fan and staunch Billups supporter in this not so unsurprising turn of events, but I’m really not.  In fact, I’m secretly relieved that he won’t be pounding the hardwood and will instead have those callous laden feet and taxed ankles safely propped up on the coffee table at home watching it like the rest of the NBA fans. 

The All-Star Snub

It's okay that Billups won't play with Melo.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the egos involved in pro sports and it is an accolade many players would enjoy during their playing careers.  However, don’t you think Stockton would trade his 10 superstar games for just one ring?  This grown-up version of the high school homecoming court popularity contest is just another way to make money for the NBA and should be looked upon as a fun distraction versus endorsements of extraordinary skills.  However, my congratulations go out to the Nuggets coaching staff and Melo and I’m proud that the Nuggies are well represented at the mid-season event!

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Christmas Break is Over, Time to Step Up

Posted by The Minkster on January 22, 2010

What’s so great about this season’s Nuggets team is the leadership of its veteran players.  Some nights Melo takes over, others Chauncey earns his Mr. Big Shot nickname, and every now and then Kmart runs blue light specials all night long.  The last couple of nights Billups has decided it is time to stop losing games to inferior teams and has taken control. 

Billups getting ready to drain another 3!

On Wednesday night Mr. Big Shot tied his career high by throwing down 37 points during the Nuggets first overtime of the season in Oakland against a young feisty Warriors team.  Billups hit 2 quick treys to start the overtime and picked up an assist on JR’s 3 that all but put the nail in the coffin of Golden State.  The final was 123-118.  Not only did Denver tourniquet the bleeding against sub .500 teams, but extended their record to 7-2 in 2010.

Last night Chauncey had no intention of playing another stanza of free ball and got the team fired up against the visiting Clippers in the third quarter.  Billups contributed 13 of his 20 points during a 31-9 run during that period.  Mr. Big Shot has made 21 3-pointers in the last six games with four coming last night.  Melo had 28 points and 10 rebounds on the news of his selection as starting forward in the All-Star game.  Even Kmart made contributions in the 105-85 laugher, but was laughing all the way to the bank.  Martin donated $1,500 to Haiti relief efforts for each rebound – he grabbed 14!

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Kleiza Opting for Gyros Over Buff Burgers

Posted by The Minkster on August 10, 2009

Not so fast about the Nuggets!

Not so fast about the Nuggets!

Given an opportunity to go back closer to his family in Europe, potentially become a starting forward and cash a bigger paycheck Linas Kleizainked a two-year deal with Olympiakos on Monday.  The Nuggets were set to pay him $2.7 m this year, which was a decent raise from the $1.5 m he made during last year’s playoff season but no where near the cash the Greeks are doling out.  Kleiza averaged 9.9 points and 4 rebounds per game off the bench and was a threat to make outside shots.  Many experts are saying the Nuggies will miss him and DahntayJones, who signed with the Pacers, this upcoming season but I’m not so sure.

Linas Kleiza #43 of the Denver Nuggets goes to basket against the Detroit Pistons on February 25, 2008 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.

Linas Kleiza #43 of the Denver Nuggets goes to basket against the Detroit Pistons on February 25, 2008 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.

All the talking heads are saying the Nuggets aren’t active enough in free agency this off-season in order to keep pace and contend for a title in 2009-10.  I haven’t seen any blockbuster trades in the West that Karl should lose sleep over.   The same top teams kept their stars and have brought in some guys they think can help in areas of weakness.  I haven’t seen any big fish that got away which could have helped the Nuggets and still kept the tax man at bay. 

Fans forget that the Nuggets are a fairly young team and have great upside.  If their players continue to develop and the veterans stay healthy Denver will continue to go deep into the playoffs.  Let’s take a quick look at the youngin’s:

  • Ty Lawson – Might as well start with the best draft pick by the organization since Melo.  The only thing this kid accomplished in the last six months was come in during the NCAA Tourney with a lingering injury and lead the Tar Heels to a championship.  Hmmmm, sound familiar any Orange fans?  This kid deserves a shot at some minutes which he’ll get with Jones gone.
  • JR Smith – Karl’s problem child grew-up a lot last year and should continue to make strides with Billups as a role model.  A little time in the joint this summer I’m sure helped with perspective.
  • Renaldo Balkman- In his first year with the Nuggets (2nd in the league) he showed signs of why the Knicksdrafted him in the first round out of South Carolina.  He needs to continue to develop and stay healthy so he can give Kmart some relief minutes.
  • Arron Afflalo- Starting his second year as a pro, this little shooting guard can learn how to play the game right along side Billupswho he played briefly withat Detroit before the infamous trade.  Ranks second all-time at UCLA for three-pointers made and attempted.
  • Nene – Although going into his 7th year he has lost 2+ seasons to injuries and cancer, so he is still got upside at 27 years old.
  • Melo – He’s only 25 and taken the Nugs to the playoffs every year since pulling on the jersey.  Don’t  think he won’t get better after the experiences over the last year and having a leader like Billups on the team.

I like this mix of youth and veterans, and just like any other NBA team they must get lucky with the injury bug to end up with a high seed going into the 2010 playoffs.  Don’t know about you, but I’d rather be looking at this lineup versus the old guys in San Antonio which is trying to win one more for the old Demon Deacon.

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Rockies Go Into Midsummer Classic With W

Posted by The Minkster on July 12, 2009

The Rockies position representative to the MLB All-Star game this week is heading to the Midsummer Classic flying high.  Brad Hawpe hit a walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth to give the Rockos a series split with arch nemesis Atlanta.  Seth Smith was on first with one out when Hawpe hit one in the gap in center field.  Seth’s wheels were fast enough for him to slide into home scoring the winning run and the Rockies to win 8-7.

Hugs all around in Coors Field after walk-off double by Hawpe.

Hugs all around in Coors Field after walk-off double by Hawpe. (David Zalubowski/AP)

After being down 4 runs twice in the game, the boys in purple never gave up and kept hacking away at the Braves’ leads.  Hammel had his first bad outing in awhile and only lasted 3 innings, but about half the bullpen had a good day.  Streeter did his job and shut the Braves down in the top half of the ninth to give his bats a chance to win the game – and they did!

After the All-Star game Colorado heads to San Diego for a three game series against  a division opponent that is having an off year.  Our boys should win that series if not sweep.  That kicks off a stint of three game series against West opponents and could really shake things up or put the Rox in a position to make a run at the Dodgers.  Enjoy the break and we’ll talk baseball again in about a week.

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