Anybody want to change their prediction on the Denver Nuggets?
If you had a chance to check out the so-call experts predictions for the Nuggets, you might have noticed that many had the Nuggets missing the playoffs or on the bottom half of the playoffs or miss them out right. In fact, Sports Illustrated had them as the 11th seed in the West.
Well, Thursday night the Nuggets may have some of the ‘experts’ questioning their predictions. But if you had a chance to catch the squad this summer you weren’t surprised. Especially with George Karl back in charge and coaching his game since his bout with cancer.
Denver’s defense was in full throttle, and Arron Afflalo and Shelden Williams made their presence known. Denver jumped out to a quick 11-0 lead and had a 20-point advantage at halftime.
-Afflalo not only showed his defensive presence, he also showed his proficiency on offense. Triple AAA made 8 out of 11 shots, 3-of-5 behind the arc and finished the game with 22 points
-Chauncey Billups couldn’t get into rhythm in the game, but it wasn’t like he needed to. Billups finished the game with 14 points and eight assists, but he only shot 2 of 7 from the field.
-Carmelo Anthony struggled early, and the officials didn’t help. They called him early for traveling and offensive fouls, he was held to only two points in the opening quarter but he finished the contest with a pedestrian 23 points and seven rebounds.
-Shelden ‘Landlord’ Williams was a beast on the boards and finished the contest with 16 (career high is 18). Williams looked to work well with Nene in the paint, he did struggle from the field (3 of 11), but many of the attempts were on putbacks (seven offensive rebounds). He looks to be a steal for the Nuggets.
-Nene showed great quickness early and scored the teams first four points before getting scrapped in the eye. It was a Nene-type of game, 13 points and four rebounds. But it was his defense on Al Jefferson in the first half that set the tone for the game.
-Al Harrington showed his outside shot early, nailing a trey in transition and hitting both of his threes in the first half. He also played a little defense and was a beast on the boards (seven rebounds). His shot seemed to fade in the second half and he finished the contest making 4 of 11 baskets for 10 points.
-JR Smith really struggled in the game offensively. He missed six of seven baskets and three of four treys and finished with four points. But he did show a little more patience on offense and played solid D.
-Ty Lawson was his typical self, solid but not spectacular and finished with 10 points and four assists.
-With the Nuggets lack of big man, Melvin Ely saw early minutes and fouled out after playing 11 minutes. He did play good defensively and a nice up-and-under on Al Jefferson which resulted in an And-1.
-Renaldo Balkman and Gary Forbes came in to play garbage minutes and Forbes actually made the most of his minutes. He scored three points and grabbed three rebounds in three minutes.
NOTES: Tim Tebow was at the game, and Nuggets legend Dikembe Mutombo also attended the contest to visit with Denver’s general manager Masai Ujiri.