Archives For Denver Nuggets

"Kerze," Gerhard Richter

Well this was surely one of the strangest games I’ve ever seen. It has been a little bit horrifying to see how, during this rough April, the Wolves have slowly morphed into a pre-Adelman version of their defensive selves. The first half of tonight’s game was easily the apex of that nauseating transformation. Like the Rambis-era Wolves, this crew has showed execrable perimeter defense. Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Andre Miller, Danilo Gallinari…and really whoever else felt like penetrating the Wolves’ defense in the first half was more than free to do so.

Almost worse than that, though, and possibly even more redolent of their old selves, has been the team’s incompetence away from the ball. When, in a given defensive possession, the time comes to negotiate an off-the-ball screen, or make a decisive rotation, or give weakside help, the Wolves have reacted indecisively–and defensive indecision is an excellent way to give up points again and again. It was not so much a matter of lack of effort–although the Wolves’ first half was not exactly a paragon of energetic basketball–as of lack of awareness and anticipation.

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That was not a fun way to lose a basketball game.

Denver’s side of it will talk about how they gutted out the win with depth and heart and all of that crappy romance novel stuff that people love to spit after a win like this. And on some level, it’s completely valid. Ty Lawson injured his ankle in the first half and never returned. Then Andre Miller acted like a petulant teenager to the refs and was thrown out, leaving Denver with something called a Julyan Stone (I think you can get one from Crate & Barrel) to run the point.

Denver did outhustle the Wolves. They were active in the paint, fought for every loose ball and seemed to want to rebound more than the Wolves. Several times, it looked like guys on the Wolves were looking for someone else to grab a rebound, while Denver chased down the ball like it was a historic artifact in the National Treasure movie franchise. Kevin Love ended up with a 20 and 13 night, which doesn’t sound bad at all until you watch Kenneth Faried destroy him on the boards in the second half and overtime (Love had five rebounds, Faried had 10).

But let’s get down to the embodiment of what went wrong in this game – the Martell Webster blunder. Continue Reading…

It’s not every day that an opportunity arises to write about the Timberwolves on the main Truehoop page. But today, by virtue of the Wolves’ glancing involvement with Carmelo Anthony, is one of those days. As such, our boy Zach got his pretty face in the lights. Suffice it to say, he was underwhelmed with the Brewer-for-Randolph deal:

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ESPN is reporting that the Knicks have finally landed Mr. Carmelo Anthony. In exchange, the Knicks have traded almost all of their young players plus Governor’s Island and three scuzzy, bro-infested East Village bars. For us, though, here’s the important part:

New York will send Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry to Minnesota as part of the deal in exchange for Corey Brewer, a league source told Broussard.

I hope that, just once, the Wolves deign to put Darko and Curry on the floor together. That would be pure magic.

By the way, Corey Brewer is/was my favorite T-Wolf. This hurts a little.

Jerry Zgoda at the STrib reports that David Kahn has called the Wolves involvement in the Carmelo Anthony deal “overstated”:

Translated, that means an ESPN report last weekend that the Wolves would send a first-round pick and Corey Brewer to Denver to receive Knicks little-used forward Anthony Randolph and accept Eddy Curry’s huge, expiring contract is too much to give.

Kahn also added the the Wolves have not been actively looking to trade Brewer, although he did make this strange little addendum:

Because Corey is in the last year of his deal and because many people like Corey’s ability and upside, we receive a lot of calls on him…Players are not like cars in a garage. You can’t keep accumulating cars, you can only have so many of them. There’s a balance act there and at the wing position; we’re probably too heavy there.

Which is basically saying that the Wolves are looking to trade him.

Success for Kevin Love is more dependent on his shoulder strength than his vertical jump.  He uses the blade of his forearm (called his “arm bar”) to ward off other rebounders, and defensively he is able to hold players in place without using his hands (using an arm bar looks lot less like a foul than pushing or holding someone with palms).  Like a martial artist who is averting strikes from his opponent, Love is happy to be engaged in a physical confrontation high while staying low and centered.  A well-placed hip or knee leaning on the player he is engaged with prevents that player from playing above the rim, and the strength Love possesses in the upper body allows him to fight for balls he might not reach otherwise.

  • Finally, look at this duck by Isaiah Rider. You can almost see that poor dude’s soul leaving his body.

As you may have heard, Carmelo Anthony wants to play for the New York Knicks. You may have also heard that, for various reason, consummating this seemingly modest desire has been extraordinarily difficult. Well, it seems our very own Timberwolves may have been pulled into this convoluted narrative. It goes a little something like this (from ESPN’s Marc Stein):

In the proposed trade, New York would send Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry to Minnesota and the Timberwolves would send Corey Brewer and a first-round pick to Denver. Denver would also receive Wilson Chandler from New York.

A Timberwolves source told ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher on Sunday that the team would not approve of a deal where the team received just New York’s Randolph and Curry with Brewer and a first-rounder heading to Denver. While these are the names currently being discussed, additional players could be added to make a deal possible, sources said.

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The Denver Nuggets have been an impressive collection of talent for quite some time. Carmelo Anthony remains one of the league’s premier scorers, Nene’s reliability is criminally underrated and J.R. Smith-the very personification of this volatile unit-is dynamite in sneakers; wildly unstable, yet effectively explosive. Unfortunately, the same carefree demeanor that’s allowed them to fill up stats sheets and highlight reels has continued to define them in moments that demanded far more poise. Plainly put, they’ve never been considered a contender because they’ve never been able to get out of their own way. So it was particularly amusing to see them move at such a deliberately slow pace as they set about picking the Wolves apart.

Despite the visitors obvious intentions, our boys proceeded with business as usual to predictably varying results. Postgame, Kurt Rambis was asked to comment on his unit’s 8 scant turnovers, yet neither coach nor scribe acknowledged that such supposed ball control was actually due to unconscionably poor shooting: the Wolves attempted 95 field goals and made just 39% of them.  This however, didn’t keep us from witnessing an entertaining affair in which both teams tried to wrestle victory out of their own hands. The Wolves gave the game away early, the Nuggets tried to give it back, but we-being such gracious hosts-refused to take it.

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photo by carol_cacau

It goes without saying that this team doesn’t enjoy much positive attention. So when the national spotlight turned to our neck of the woods last month, it was a time to bask in hopes of a bright future. For one glorious night, we’d let the numbers speak for themselves.

But now comes the responsibility to state things more plainly. 31 rebounds was a feat in itself, even for such a prodigy. Those 31 points however, well…they were the ugliest 31 points I’d seen in quite some time.

Which makes Kevin Love’s performance tonight even more satisfying.

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