(An excellent live recap from the FanPosts. -- TZ)
I was fortunate enough to land tickets to last night's game, 20 rows back on the sideline. I'll be too tired to do what I would consider a quality recap, but here are some observations from last night's game. I haven't looked at any boxscores, I'm going simply off of my impressions of the game.
- Let's start with Hawes. He was playing a bit choppy, but he was finding his groove. The fall looked awkward, and then I saw Hawes clutching his knee. Kenyon's shove wasn't classy, but the Denver crowd was when they began booing Martin.
- Watching Hawes walk around, move around, flex the knee, I felt like it would be ok. He wasn't wincing like a guy in serious knee pain. And he bent his knees without issue for the free throws.
- Jason Thompson needs to watch last night's game tape. And study it. All offseason. Between Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen, he could learn a lot. The two had him flustered throughout the evening. He could watch and see how veteran forwards use their bodies to create problems without creating foul calls. He still looked good out there, a whole lot better than last time the Kings were in town.
- Speaking of frustration, I think Cisco was still pissed about the Spurs game. Dude was angry the whole game. Anger can be a great motivator, but it ended up spilling over into some poor shot selection.
- Where the hell has Ike Diogu been all season? Denver was not laying down for the guy, but he played like a veteran off the bench. I'm concerned, though. The guy has been in a contract year, and yet we haven't seen this before now. Has he just not had the opportunity? Has he shown a lack of consistency? Is there any way we can ensure that he won't be re-signed with the MLE? These are questions I need answers to.
- Donte Greene didn't have his best game, but he was playing well off the ball. And he wasn't taking bad shots. Quiet night, but continues to show signs of growth as a player.
- J.R. Smith has long been one of my favorite Nuggets. Every game I've ever been to, he's the most popular guy on that team. Everyone likes J.R. (well, except maybe George Karl). It was a lot of fun seeing him do well, even if it was against the Kings.
- I love watching Chris Andersen play defense. At one point my buddy asked if Andersen had just tried to block away a defensive rebound. I had to explain that Andersen cannot control his blocking instinct, it just takes over when he sees a basketball in the air.
- Overall this is a dangerous team in the playoffs. They've got more depth than more people realize. If you've got a few extra bucks, it might not be a terrible idea to bet on the Nuggets to win the Western Championship.
My buddy asked me when I thought the Kings would return to .500 ball, and when they would be back in the playoffs. Watching this team, I told him I could see them back at .500 next season, with the potential of reaching the playoffs the year after that. A more conservative estimate might be to add one more year to each of those predictions. Either way, I feel good about this team even though we're in the dark depths of NBA hell right now. Reading that sentence again it's a lot darker than I intended, but I'm going to leave it as is.
Ex G, from Colorado, out.