Tag: Utah Denver

JR Smith, giving the people their money's worth

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When Denver is eliminated after game six, I am really going to miss JR Smith’s monster dunks.

(What, you think Denver will pull it together on the road and force a game seven? Okay. Sure. Do you still believe in the tooth fairy, too?)

NBA Playoffs: Nene leaves game, appears to be done for season

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UPDATE 8:28 am: Sources told the Denver Post after the game that it looks as if Nene is done for the season. He will undergo an MRI today to confirm, but doctors with the Nuggets thought he tore the ACL in his left knee.

12:21 am: An inadvertent kick from Carlos Boozer has knocked Denver starting center Nene out of gave five in Denver.

According to Mark Spears at Yahoo, Nene is done for the night and will be evaluated tomorrow.

The injury happened in the second quarter. Boozer was leaping up to battle for a rebound as Nene came flying in to crash the boards. When he leapt forward Boozer had one leg kick out behind him, accidentally right into the knee of Nene just as he had started to plant for his jump. The inadvertent kick caused the injury.

It’s another injury to the banged up front line of Denver, which has not dominated the more-banged-up front line of Utah as has been expected.

NBA Playoffs: Nuggets limited by defensive execution, but also offensive scheme

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anthony_ref.jpgThere’s no question that Denver’s inability to play defense is a big reason why they find themselves on the brink of elimination, but TrueHoop’s Kevin Arnovitz has discovered something of an oddity in the Nuggets’ deliberately inefficient offense:

The Denver Nuggets have a secret arsenal of nearly unstoppable plays. There’s only one hitch headed into Game 5:
Acting head coach Adrian Dantley isn’t sure he can get his team to run them.

That’s because the Nuggets see themselves as a certain kind of
basketball team with an anti-system. Mike D’Antoni has
7-seconds-or-less. Phil Jackson has The Triangle. Jerry Sloan has The
Flex. And Dantley has inherited from George Karl what he’s referred to
more than once as “random basketball.”

What does “random basketball” mean? That’s Dantley’s description of
how the Nuggets perceive themselves offensively — a team that
flourishes by pounding you with dominant one-on-one play in the half
court and with breakneck transition buckets. Dantley isn’t the only one
to make that general characterization. When asked about the Nuggets’
woeful assist total of 13 following Game 4, Chauncey Billups conceded,
“We aren’t really a high-assist team. That’s not how our offense is

A stubborn devotion to “random basketball” is one of the reasons
Denver’s offense has fallen off since Game 1, and there’s something
obtuse about the Nuggets’ unwillingness to construct coherent
possessions in the half court against Utah. When the Nuggets choose to
run deliberate sets, they’re shredding the Jazz — particularly on the

Arnovitz goes on to dissect the strengths of the Nuggets’ 3-5 pick-and-roll, making particular note of the effectiveness of Carmely Anthony and Nene in such situations. The most troubling part of Arnovitz’s excellent piece, though, ared the cries from acting head coach/substitute teacher Adrian Dantley, who claims that not only is he aware of how effective the team has been with the pick-and-roll, but has implored his players to run more of them.

Maybe this is where the Nuggets miss George Karl, who if nothing else was a superior coach in his ability to manage and connect with his players. Then again, Karl’s commitment to “random basketball” could be equally zealous and misplaced, leaving Dantley as one of the few guys on the bench left shaking his head after Denver runs another isolation play.

This particular assembly of players in Denver is not an easy one to reach, particularly for a coach with little experience as a showrunner. Even Karl has struggled with the task at times, despite that aspect of coaching being considered his strength; George is first and foremost a manager of personnel and personalities, as opposed to a strict X-and-O type.

So while Dantley’s struggle to reach this team may indeed say something about his prospects as a head coach, it’s hard to read Arnovitz’s account (supposing you take Dantley’s comments at face value) and see Adrian as anything other than the guy in the room that gets it. He may not get the communication aspect of coaching just yet — at least not with this team — but the indications from the top are that Dantley is telling his players the right things, but something lost in translation to the hardwood. 

J.R. Smith understands the lost art of irony

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Thanks to Internet snark (guilty, as charged), irony is dead. Or at least on life support in an Alanis Morissette world.

But J.R. Smith gets it, the Denver sixth man is a master of irony. What else are we to take away from this post-game tweet by him yesterday?

You play selfish you lose selfish that’s all I’m saying about the game!

He’s not wrong, selfish play is not helping the Nuggets out (not as big a problem as their defense right now, but it is a problem).

But when J.R. Smith is calling you out for being selfish, you have a problem.

Even against the Jazz Sunday he was 3 of 11 with some questionable decisions as he kept shooting. And this is not getting into his history, where he has been regarded as one of the more selfish players in the league.

Irony. It’s not dead in America. You just have to know where to look.

NBA Playoffs: Andrei Kirilenko thinks he can be back for game six

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It can’t last, can it? The Jazz can’t keep winning with nobody healthy left on the front line, can they?

Well, yes they can. Their offensive system is a troublesome match for Denver. Doesn’t mean they wouldn’t mind the help.

Andrei Kirilenko wants to be the cavalry. The Russian Cavalry in their Cossack uniforms, but the cavalry nonetheless. That’s what the genuinely brilliant Kevin Arnovitz reports at True Hoop.

Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, sidelined with a strained calf, expressed more cautious optimism that he could return for a potential Game 6 against the Denver Nuggets next Friday.

“It’s a good goal,” Kirilenko said. “Don’t force it, but a good goal….”

“I feel relieved,” Kirilenko said after shootaround on Friday morning. “My calf feels soft. My step is getting better. I was a little bit afraid to step hard, but the pain was gone.”

Sunday or Monday comes the real test, when AK-47 runs on a hard floor. Nothing is certain until then.

Kirilenko had platelet-rich plasma therapy, where your own blood heavy with healing platelets is injected into the injured area. Kenyon Martin recently had the same thing and he has returned to the Nuggets; it’s becoming a trendy sports injury treatment.

For those two, it seems to be working. Which team it works out better for remains to be seen.