We haven't had one of these in quite a while, but bfan was kind enough to send us an eyewitness report from the Nuggets game, and it's a great one! Enjoy!
First some notes on the Nuggets:
-JR Smith's shot has radar on it. He just bombs away without thinking about it. I wish Martell had his confidence.
-Steve Blake really commands the floor. I can see what Nate liked in him so much. He's not spectacular, but he gets the job done. One frustrating observation though (for Denver fans): Time and again he got into the lane only to dish away an easy 2 points. I think he could have easily scored about 8 more points this game.
-At one point in the 3rd quarter I thought to myself, "Boy, Ime has really done a job on Carmelo tonight." Then I looked at the scoreboard and saw that Melo already had 25 or 30 points. Some guys look like they're working out there, and Melo just looks like he's playing. He's so good, and he makes it look so easy. I was impressed, and I didn't even know it was happening until he scored 6 or 8 straight points in the 4th quarter. I think Ime frustrated him in the 1st half, but you can't keep a player like that down.
-Finally, Nene is really something to behold ... I have never seen a human being quite like him. If I ever had to picture what Goliath would look like from the story of David and Goliath, Nene is it. He's an absolute beast. I now know why Denver paid him so much money even though he hadn't really proven himself yet. He can do absolutely anything he wants to on the floor ... but there's the rub, apparently he sometimes doesn't want to. Once he figures out how to want it all the time, the NBA will be in trouble and the Nuggets will be very, very good.
Now some notes on the Blazers:
-Martell looks like a lost puppy out there. He just stands there on offense, and there were a couple of times where he found himself isolated on Carmelo on defense, and he got this deer in the headlights look about him. He has a long way to go.
-I was so impressed with Ime Udoka. He's not the most athletic or spectacular player on the floor, but time and time again he's one step ahead of everyone else. He just always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He stole a couple of rebounds from Camby/Nene because he was already at the rim when the shot came off instead of waiting on the ground. Small things like that, but he just keeps doing them. I don't know how it took him so long to find a home, but I'm glad to have him.
-Aldridge is rail thin compared to nearly every other player on the floor (especially Nene), but he really knows how to use his body and his length. He is very controlled and deliberate. I don't think he's ever going to dominate, but he'll be a very consistent player in this league for a very long time.
-Randolph had a quiet first half. Denver played some very good help defense and Zach was clearly frustrated by it. Now I know what you all mean when you say he doesn't pass out of the double very well. But I was very impressed with how he reacted in the 2nd half. They were giving him the 15-18 ft. jumper, so he took it and knocked several down. That forced their defense out a little further, and that's when he started driving. Overall I thought it was a good showing by him, though I thought he could have put forth some more effort on the boards.
-Juan Dixon had a great game. The whole team just seemed to click when he was on the floor. He took good shots and made the right plays. He kind of made Martell look superfluous out there.
-Magloire--ugh! He just loafed up and down the floor, and time and again the ball whizzed right past his ear for an easy dunk or layup. Now that I've seen him in person, I can say that this guy really is worthless. We should just tell him to stay down on the defensive end of the floor when he's in the game because he's no good on offense and can't get back on D. I will be very surprised if someone trades for him ...
-Finally, what can I even say about Brandon Roy? Can we sign this guy to an extension yet? It's been awhile since this franchise has had the type of player where you could just give him the ball and ask him to make something happen ... and then watch him go get it done. He can get into the lane at will, and I really haven't seen a player control himself in the air quite like him before. It's not like he jumps through the roof, and so he shouldn't really be able to finish in amongst the trees, but he's so shifty with the ball while in the air, and with either hand, that nobody can really get a bead on the block. He finished several layups over Camby/Nene that I thought for sure would be blocked. I'll think better next time. If/when the Blazers make it back to the playoffs, he will be a major asset to have in crunch time. I think over the years he's going to win some big games and break a lot of other teams' hearts.
And before I sign off, one final note: This was such an interesting game for me to watch because the two teams' styles are so very different. Denver really scores in bunches, and if you're not careful they will blow you right out of the building. But it seemed to me that they lost focus several times throughout the game. I can't say that about the Blazers. Say what you want about their methodical style of offense, but they never lost their focus and seemed to get a quality shot nearly every time down the floor. My wife, who knows nothing about basketball, commented several times that "They pass the ball really nicely." I know their slow, deliberate style has been a hot topic in this forum, but it was actually quite a joy for me to watch. It may not be the most exciting brand of basketball, but if they continue to get better and limit their mistakes, they will be in every single game. Pretty soon more of those close games will fall in their favor, and before we know it we'll be back in the promised land. Peace to all, and have a great night!
Thanks Bfan! We always take these and we always post them, so if you ever want to submit one send it to the e-mail!