Charlotte Bobcats @ Nuggets 1/25/10
Running-Diary style, so I can get some shut-eye. No Carmelo tonight, due to a sprained left ankle suffered against the New Orleans Hornets the other night; but JR Smith, “eclectic” behavior and all, will be in the lineup.
Bonus pre-game link: ESPN’s John Hollinger continues to show the love, calling Larry Brown the midseason favorite for Coach of the Year (Insider Only).
It is just excruciating to hear Steve Martin and Dell Curry blather on about how this game is available in HD; Time Warner Cable in Charlotte doesn’t carry SportSouth as an HD channel, so we’re stuck in the 90s with SD Crap-O-Vision. To top it off, it sounds like the audio is coming over ham radio.
The Bobcats begin the game hot from outside, 3-3 from 3-point land (one each for Jack, Boris and Gerald) to take an early 13-8 lead; but the Nuggets don’t seem to be missing Carmelo much, as they take a 29-26 lead after 1.
Pretty standard “two teams feeling each other out” opening quarter, but would have hoped that the Cats could have held a Carmelo-less Nuggets squad to less than 25. 68% FG for the Nuggs in the quarter.
So last spring, I happened to be in Denver during the playoffs — while eating at Buckhorn Exchange (mmm, bison) I noted that a couple of the waiters had bootleg sky blue t-shirts with the Nuggets main logo, except it had “Thuggets”. Like this, but in sky blue. Pretty cool. I mean, if you have a team full of thugs, you might as well embrace it.
Holy crap, they just showed Nuggets VP of Player Personnel and former Charlotte Hornet great Rex Chapman in the crowd, or maybe it was the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Float version of Rex Chapman. This is how I remember Rex; this is what he looked like probably a couple of years ago. Take away another 25% of the hair, make what’s left completely gray, and add about 20 pounds. That’s what he’s looking like tonight. Troubling…
Back to the game, Bobcats still can’t make any headway and find themselves down 49-42 with 2 and 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter. Then, a funny moment.
Gerald Wallace accidentally pops JR Smith in the face with an elbow trying to make a post move, but the Nuggets get called for a foul. Kenyon Martin won’t shut up about the injustice, and gets a tech for his trouble. Jack misses the technical free throw, and K-Mart sarcastically applauds this while looking right at the ref — second tech, ejected. It’s moments like this I feel kinda sorry for George Karl. K-Mart seems to enjoy the process, grinning from ear to ear as he slaps hands with fans as he heads to the showers.
Post K-Mart ejection, the Cats briefly cut it to one, but Aflallo nails a three to put the Nuggs up 56-52 at the half. Stats are roughly even; both teams shooting a bit over 50% FG, rebounds, assists and turnovers basically the same. Chauncey and Gerald leading the way for their teams with 17 and 15 points, respectively. Raymond with 8 assists already, Gerald with 6 rebounds.
Have to like the Bobcats’ chances the rest of the way with no Carmelo or K-Mart.
Dell Curry and Steve Martin have promoted the rest of the Western Conference road trip about a half-dozen times so far, which has led to a half-dozen slobbering conversations about Dell’s kid, Stephan, who is apparently a rookie for the Warriors. Who knew?
Every time the Cats get within a bucket, the Nuggs seemingly get one from Chauncey or Aflallo. Can’t get over the hump, Nuggs up 70-63 with 6 minutes left.
Chauncey Billups is just schooling Felton. 21 points, 9 assists with 5 mins left in 3rd. Felton just picked up 4th foul trying to defend him.
Meanwhile, Joey Graham is joining the party as the Nuggs go up by 12, 77-65 with 4 mins left. Where’s Steven?
Mmmpphhh. Very disappointing 3rd quarter as the Nuggs extend their lead to 84-73. This is starting to look like a wasted opportunity for the Bobcats. Gerald Wallace was very quiet after a good first half.
It’s a war of attrition for the Nuggets here, as Birdman Anderson goes down with a rolled left ankle trying to block a Flip Murray layup early in the fourth. But the Bobcats still can’t capitalize, as Gerald blows a layup on the next possession.
And now Raymond commits his fifth foul with just under 10 minute left and will have to sit. Bobcats are going to have to get Stephen Jackson going here in the fourth in order to make a run — offense just looks anemic.
Ugh, Aaron Aflallo with another corner three to put the Nuggs up 96-80 with just under 6 minutes left. And another. Career night for Aflallo: 24 points on 9-11 FG and 6-7 3PT and 7 assists.
And this one’s over, as Acie Law enters the game for the Cats with 2 and 1/2 minutes left and the Nuggs up 101-86. Poor effort by the Cats tonight, no one could get it going on the offensive end, especially in the second half. No Carmelo all game, no K-Mart in the second half, and no Birdman in the fourth, and the Cats can’t take advantage.
Final score is 104-93. AP recap here, box score here.
The Nuggets shoot 10-23 from 3 and 22-26 from the free throw line as Billups, Aflallo and Joey Graham more than make up for Carmelo’s absence. The Nuggets have won 7 in a row, while the Cats drop their third straight.
Next game is Tuesday night against the Suns, 9PM ET start — maybe we could trade Boris for Amare before the game?