Posts Tagged ‘Nuggets’

Walking The Tightrope Ain’t As Easy As It Looks

by Micah Hart

Were you at the Thunder-Nuggets game Wednesday night? If so, did you leave your seats to go get something to eat at halftime? If so, then you missed this bit of misfortune for the intermission’s entertainment:



Random halftime entertainer, I feel your pain, metaphorically and physically. I’m sorry to replay your embarrassment to the masses, but if it’s any consolation, perhaps you will be a contender against Man Getting Hit In Groin at next year’s Oscars.

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Three For All: Phoenix Suns II

by Micah Hart



As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.

With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Phoenix Suns, who played three straight from Mar. 14-16.

The Phoenix Suns’ season can pretty easily be summed up by their two entries in the three for all challenge. In their first foray back in February, Phoenix went winless, part of a four-game skid that saw the team fall a season-worst seven games under .500 after a loss to the Lakers on Feb. 17.

That game must have shook something loose in the desert, because ever since the Suns have been scorching, winning 10 of 13 games and moving all the way back to .500 on the season at the culmination of their second threeplay:

Game 1: Suns 120, Jazz 111 – Part of the reason for the Suns’ success has been the production the team has been getting from up and down the roster. To wit: Channing Frye dropped a season-high 26 points (with nine rebounds), Marcin Gortat had 25, and Jared Dudley had 21 in the win over the Jazz. 1 point

Game 2: Suns 91, Clippers 87 - Home win over the Jazz? Not bad, but nothing special. Road win over the Clippers? Now that’s a nice win, despite how weird it makes me feel to write that sentence. Oh, and did I mention they did it without Grant Hill and Steve Nash, who picked up DNP-OMs (Did Not Play – Old Men)? Seriously. Sebastian Telfair started this game. Crazy season indeed. 4 points (3 for win, 1 for road)

Game 3: Suns 109, Pistons 101 - I give Bassy credit for holding down the fort while Nash took the night off against LAC, and the rest paid off for Steve as he dished out 17 dimes, tied for a season high, against Detroit. Back to what I was saying earlier about contributions from everywhere? Robin Lopez had 14 points off the bench in this one, and Michael Redd had 11. If I so much as get a hangnail from now on, I’m going to Phoenix to have the Suns’ medical staff take a look at it. 5 points

It’s not so long ago that everyone was proclaiming this a lost season in Phoenix, and up until Thursday’s trade deadline many were holding out hope that the #FreeSteveNash movement would mercifully spring Canada’s finest from his Arizona prison.

Instead, the Suns join the Heat, Bulls, and Thunder (owners of the league’s three best records) as the only teams to go undefeated in the three play, and in doing so moved into 9th place in the Western Conference playoff chase, just two games behind the Nuggets, who just traded for JaVale McGee, so good luck with that. 10 points for the Suns, and total redemption for their first effort a month ago. This could be a playoff team after all.

Up next: The Clippers take their second crack at the triumvirate, playing three straight Mar. 20-22.

Three for all Top Ten:
Miami Heat (15 points)
Chicago Bulls (13 points)
OKC Thunder (12 points)
Phoenix Suns II (10 points)
New Jersey Nets II (8 points)
Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
Houston Rockets (7 points)
Portland Trail Blazers (6 points)
L.A. Clippers (6 points)
Philadelphia 76ers (6 points)

Full Three for all standings

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Martell Webster Has A Merkle’s Boner Moment

by Micah Hart

Martell Webster, you’re going to be kicking yourself for this one for awhile:



Everyone makes mistakes, so I don’t want to be too hard on Martell, but this little faux pas is particularly grating to basketball fans, because we like to think the players should be aware of the time and score at all times. Scoring two when you need three is infuriating (I’m still angry at Texas player Darren Kelly for making the same mistake against Arizona in a college game in 1999), just like when you give up an unexpected onside kick in football because your blockers turn their backs before the ball is kicked. Like the boys scouts, athletes should always be prepared.

Obviously Webster didn’t mean to do it, and he showed the requisite contrition over the flub on Twitter this morning. But one has to wonder if this mistake could end up costing the Timberwolves in the long run*.

Minnesota came into last night’s game trailing Denver by one game for the 8th spot in the Western Conference, and had they won would be tied today. Instead they are two games back, and as we all know, every game has added importance in this shortened season. Obviously, his mistake didn’t specifically cost them the win. There is no guarantee he or any of his teammates would have made the game-tying three, or that they’d win in overtime even if they had. But it was a wasted opportunity, and if the Timberwolves end up missing the postseason by a game they may remember this one. Or at least Martell will.

*If you are not a baseball fan, you may not get the reference to Merkle’s Boner in the headline. Fred Merkle was a rookie with the New York Giants in the National League back in 1908, and in a game against the Cubs forgot to run to second base on what was should have been the game-winning hit. Instead he was tagged out, the game ended in a tie, and ended up being replayed after the season when the Cubs and Giants finished the same record and tied for first. Had Merkle simply touched second, the Giants would have won the pennant. Instead the Cubs won the replay and went on to win the World Series, which isn’t a big deal because they do that all the time. Kidding!

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Three For All: Phoenix Suns

by Micah Hart



As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.

With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Phoenix Suns, who played three straight from Feb. 13-15.

While I have your attention, I’ll step aside from the task at hand for a moment and agree with the presiding opinion going around the Internet and say: Free Steve Nash.

The Suns have stated they have no interest in blowing up their team, and that is their right, but if their reasoning is that it alienates fans, I have to respectfully disagree. Fans want to win, clearly.  But what they really want is to compete for titles, and most intelligent fans are willing to tolerate a year or two of losing as long as there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Look no further than the Indianapolis Colts, who are most likely about to part ways with Peyton Manning — more an institution in his city than Nash is in Phoenix — and their fan base couldn’t be happier because they have Andrew Luck waiting to take his place. Suns fans know that Nash’s time is coming to an end regardless of where he plays, and as much as they’d hate to see him go, if they get some young prospects in return that help set them up to return to contention, they’ll take that deal all day long.

Why do I bring this up? Because the Suns joined the Detroit Pistons as the only two teams to lose every game in their three for all:

Game 1: Warriors 102, Suns 96 - One player the Suns shouldn’t trade is Marcin Gortat, who has evolved into one of the best centers in the NBA (though that does speak in part to the paucity of legit big men). The Polish Hammer had 25 points and 12 rebounds in the loss in Golden State. The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for Phoenix against Golden State. -2 points

Game 2: Nuggets 109, Suns 92 - Phoenix sat Nash and Grant Hill for this one, trying to conserve their energy in the midst of the brutal stretch. So yeah, they really didn’t have much of a chance in this one. Markieff Morris had 21 points, which reminds me that in college, I always thought his brother Marcus was the hot shot recruit, and that he (Markieff) was sort of the Robin Lopez to his brother’s Brook. I mean, Marcus was Big 12 Player of the Year, and a second-team All-American. Then Markieff got drafted first (Marcus went to the Rockets with the very next pick), and now I question everything that happened to me in the last two years. Was it all just a dream? -1 point

Game 3: Hawks 101, Suns 99 - No one should get much grief for losing a third in three, but the Suns did lead by 15 points in the second half. Josh Smith had an absurd line for the Hawks (30 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and three blocks), and when all is said and done I still expect someone’s injury to put him into his first All-Star Game next weekend in Orlando. 0 points

Time to face facts, Phoenix. The Nash-Era Suns are long gone, and the sooner you turn the page the better off you’ll be. -3 points for the Suns.

Up next: The Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers play three straight Feb. 14-16.

Three for all Top Ten:
Miami Heat (15 points)
Chicago Bulls (13 points)
OKC Thunder (12 points)
Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
Houston Rockets (7 points)
Portland Trail Blazers (6 points)
L.A. Clippers (6 points)
Philadelphia 76ers (6 points)
Denver Nuggets I (6 points)
Orlando Magic (5 points)

Full Three for all standings

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Three For All: Denver Nuggets, Part II

by Micah Hart



As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.

With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Denver Nuggets, who for the second time this season played three straight, this time from Feb. 2-4.

The Nuggets are the first team this season to take on the three for all challenge twice (12 teams will do it more than once this season). The first time around they put up six points, due in large part to winning the last two games of the challenge, and were a Danilo Gallinari bunny away from sweeping the thing altogether. We’re a month longer into the season, and the Nuggets have played pretty well overall. Could they do even better this time around? Let’s take a look.

Game 1: Nuggets 112, Clippers 91 - A terrific start, getting a win at Staples Center against the up and coming Clippers. Denver’s rep this season is as one of the deepest teams in the league (thanks in part as we all know to the Carmelo Anthony trade, which they seem to have gotten the better of so far and by a longshot), and they used that depth against LAC, putting five players in double figures, led by Gallinari’s 21, and three more chipped in with eight.  3 points (1 for the win, 1 for +10 margin, 1 for road)

Game 2: Lakers 93, Nuggets 89 - In a weird schedule quirk, the Lakers comprised 50% of the Nuggets’ three for all challenges — Denver played them twice the first time around and once in this edition. Once again it came down to the wire, but Al Harrington missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds and the Lakers held on. -1 point

Game 3: Blazers 117, Nuggets 97 - The Blazers have been nearly unbeatable at the Rose Garden this season, and with Denver gasping for air in the last night of the challenge it’s no real surprise how this one turned out. Nicolas Batum hit nine 3s on his way to a career-best 33 points for Portland. 0 points

So we see almost a perfect negative of the Nuggets first threeplay — a win followed by two losses instead of a loss followed by two wins. 2 total points for Denver, and thankfully no more back-to-back-to-backs for the rest of the regular season.

Up next: The Utah Jazz and Miami Heat both play three straight Feb. 12-14.

Three for all Top Ten:
Chicago Bulls (13 points)
OKC Thunder (12 points)
Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
Houston Rockets (7 points)
Portland Trail Blazers (6 points)
L.A. Clippers (6 points)
Philadelphia 76ers (6 points)
Denver Nuggets I (6 points)
Orlando Magic (5 points)
L.A. Lakers (3 points)

Full Three for all standings

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Steve Hess wants you to follow him — who are you to argue?

by Micah Hart

Yesterday on the Hang Time Podcast, we spent some quality time with Nuggets strength coach Steve Hess discussing what it is like for players trying to stay in playing shape (and healthy in general) during this compressed schedule.

Hess was great — very animated, and you can tell this is a dude who does not slow down during much of his waking hours. See for yourself:

As of today, Hess is up to over 4,000 followers so he still has a ways to go. But after talking to him yesterday, I don’t doubt he’ll get there.

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Three for all: Sacramento Kings

by Micah Hart

As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.

With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Sacramento Kings, who played three straight from Jan 3-5.

Well, I daresay we won’t see a more tumultuous three-game set for any team this season, as the Kings saw a blow-up between talented but, shall we say, enigmatic forward DeMarcus Cousins and coach Paul Westphal end up with Cousins allegedly demanding a trade (since disputed/rescinded) and Westphal getting the axe after a 2-5 start. It just goes to show you a lot can happen in three games.

Game 1: Grizzlies 113, Kings 96 - Cousins was benched for the previous game against New Orleans, but made the trip with the team to Memphis, though he was held out of the starting lineup. Not sure it mattered, the Kings got waxed. -2 points

Game 2: Nuggets 110, Kings 83- Case in point – Cousins started against the Nuggets, and the Kings lost by 27. Westphal got got after this one. -1 point

Game 3: Kings 103, Bucks 100 - Just when it looked like we’d see our first oh-fer, the Kings under interim coach Keith Smart stage a huge second-half rally and tip the Bucks at the very end. Cousins had 19 and 15, for what it’s worth. 5 points

Given how things started on this trip, plus playing the Nuggets at altitude, I’m impressed the Kings dug deep and pulled the last game out. Maybe there’s fight in them left? They conclude the three-play with 2 total points.

Up next: The Atlanta Hawks are on the clock, with three games in a row Jan. 5-7: home against the Heat (which they lost in 3OT, at Charlotte, and home to the Bulls. Good luck.

Previous three for alls:
L.A. Lakers (3 points)
Houston Rockets (7 points)
Denver Nuggets (6 points)

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Three for all: Denver Nuggets

by Micah Hart

As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.

With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Denver Nuggets, who played three straight from Dec. 31 – Jan 2.

Game 1: Lakers 92, Nuggets 89 – Denver was a blown layup from perhaps becoming the first team to sweep the three-fer, instead Danilo Gallinari‘s shot missed the mark and the Lakers prevailed in Los Angeles. -2 points

Game 2: Nuggets 99, Lakers 90 – The rare back-to-back between the same two teams, and the Nuggets get their revenge in Denver with a nine-point win. Safe to say at this point the Nuggets are a better team? 3 points

Game 3: Nuggets 91, Bucks 86 – Gallinari atones for his miss at LA, as he dropped 21 and 10 to help the Nuggets pull out a win over the Bucks. 5 points

Ah, what could have been for Denver. Justthisclose to sweeping the thre games, but I am sure they’ll take 2-1 with the only loss coming on the road at Staples Center. Not quite as good as Houston, but still a nice showing for Denver with with 6 total points.

Up next: The Sacramento Kings are on deck, with three games in a row Jan. 3-5: at Memphis, at Denver, and home against the Bucks.

Previous three for alls:
L.A. Lakers (3 points)
Houston Rockets (7 points)

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A history of NBA logos

by Micah Hart

Josh Cohen over at the Orlando Magic’s website has some time on his hands, like many of us right now, and has put it to good use with this rundown of the history of logos for each current NBA franchise.

There is tons of goodness in there, and you should click the link to see them all, but here are a few of my faves:

Denver Nuggets, 1976-81

The Nuggets hate rabbits, and other cotton-pickin’ varmints.

Fort Wayne Pistons, 1941-48

I for one would like to welcome our robot overlords.

Chicago Bulls, 1966-present

Give it up to the Bulls, the only franchise to have never changed logos. Timeless and classic.

Houston Rockets, 1971-72

This looks like it was ripped straight out of a Schoolhouse Rock cartoon. “I’m just a ball, yes I’m only a ball…”

New York Knicks, 1946-64

Frankly, I am speechless on this one. I have no idea what is going on here, and I don’t recall seeing many basketball players wearing capes either. The best part about it is that this was the team’s logo for eighteen years.

Milwaukee Bucks, 1968-93

I miss the days when animals on logos were friendly. This Buck just wants to play ball and have a good time, what’s wrong with that?

What are some of your faves?

Evolution of NBA logos [Orlando Magic]

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Ranking the 8-1 upsets in NBA Playoff history

by Micah Hart

The Spurs dominated the NBA for most of the regular season, starting the year 13-1 and reaching the midway point of the season at 35-6, halfway to the rarified 70-win plateau. And though they suffered some injuries and stumbled down the stretch (including a six-game losing streak), they still finished the season 61-21, good for the second-best regular season mark of the Popovich/Duncan Era.

Memphis, on the other hand, began the year inauspiciously, with their owner getting into it with a local radio station over the team’s draft picks, and then seemingly panicking and overpaying their starting point guard. Then they lost their best perimeter player midway through the season.

Sounds like the recipe for a first-round sweep, doesn’t it? Except as we all know, that’s not what happened, as the Grizzlies dropped the Spurs in six games and became just the fourth 8-seed to topple a 1 since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams in 1984. Not many people saw this coming this side of Sir Charles, but compared to the other 8-1 conquests, just how big of a surprise was it?

Here’s how I’d rank them:

1. 2007: Warriors (42-40) over Mavericks (67-15), 4-2

The “We Believe” Warriors flat-out embarrassed the heavily-favored Mavericks in 2007. Though the Mavs were nearly unbeatable in the regular season, they played right into Golden State’s hands by trying to go small in the series rather than using their height to their advantage. Some believe Dallas was a victim of a bad matchup (the Warriors won the season series 3-0) and might have won the NBA title had they faced any of the other 15 playoff teams. But the Mavs’ loss, coming on the heels of a collapse in the 2006 NBA Finals against the Heat, cemented their reputation as playoff chokers, a moniker they are still struggling to shed.

2. 1994: Nuggets (42-40) over Sonics (63-19), 3-2

Best remembered for Dikembe Mutombo‘s “I can’t believe it!” moment at the end of Game 5, this series marked the first time an 8 beat a 1. Making it all the more impressive, the Nuggets lost the first two games of the series before winning three straight to close out the Sonics, including the last one in Seattle. Amazingly, Denver would go on to nearly pull off the same feat in the next round, falling behind 3-0 to Utah before winning three straight to force Game 7, where they were finally eliminated.

3. 2011: Grizzlies (46-36) over Spurs (61-21), 4-2

Eerily similar in tone to the Warriors-Mavs series, the Grizzlies came out and won Game 1 of the series and never really looked back. From early on, it was obvious the Grizzlies were younger, faster, and more athletic, and the Spurs had absolutely no answer for Zach Randolph inside. Did injuries play a role? Perhaps. But Memphis didn’t have Rudy Gay either, so seems like that’s a wash at best.

4. 1999: Knicks (27-23) over Heat (33-17), 3-2

Uggh. I get tired just thinking about these two teams brutalizing each other on the basketball court. This was the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, so the disparity between the two teams may not have been much, and indeed they were only separated by six games in the standings. Allan Houston famously won the series for the Knicks with his runner in the lane with 0.8 seconds remaining in Game 5. New York would validate their win with two more upsets, eventually becoming the only 8-seed to make the NBA Finals, where they fell to the first of Tim Duncan‘s title-winning Spurs teams.

That’s how I see it. Which do you rank as the biggest upset?

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