The Nuggets Beat the Hornets

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Published: January 4, 2009

Wow.  That was a crazy game.  I watch all of my games on Time-Delay TIVO so I can skip the commercials and fast-forward through the free-throws, and typically my friend arrives about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes after tip off and we finish only a few minutes after the game ends.

Tonight my friend calls me halfway through the game and says he’s not coming over for it.  Of course, he always does that when the Hornets are suffering through a blowout, so I had the pleasure of going into the game knowing I was going to watch a meltdown and cursing myself for telling Niall I would do the recap.  You can imagine my good humor when the Hornets started falling apart in the second behind bad turnovers and worse defense.

However, at 4:11 in the game, with the score tied 94-94 after watching the Hornets obliterate a 26-point lead over sixteen minutes of basketball, I called my friend’s house to tell him I didn’t care what happened in the next four minutes, I was happy, and that he was a pile of crap for wimping out on the game and putting me through that.  He was too scared to pick up.

Observations, Bullets style:

  • We started off the game with Butler taking Chauncey and Peja taking Anthony.  I know a lot of people are going to kill Stojakovic for his defense, but honestly, he did what he was supposed to.  He kept him mostly from driving, let him get the ball around 17-18 feet, and contested the shot when it went up.  You can say it was stupid, but Anthony is shooting 48-131(36%) from that distance this season.  And the from right side of the floor, where he was shooting, he’s even worse, firing away at 29%.  Give ’em what they aren’t good at, and give ’em credit when they do it anyways.
  • Okay, take a deep breath before I say this.  Hilton Armstrong was excellent.  Seventeen points on eight shots, five of five from the charity stripe.  Three offensive rebounds.  I’m not going to take anything away from him tonight, his first quarter was simply great, and he made Linas Kleiza look like a chump.  For some reason, whenever Hilton starts, he plays pretty well. It’s hard to figure out, considering how bad he can be off the bench.

  • Paul, as usual, turned it on in the second half, scoring 30 on 18 shots, and dishing eleven assists.  Unfortunately his line was marred by seven turnovers, and some of those were really really costly.  Of course, none were as costly as that horrible turnover at the end of the game after a great defensive stop.  That one still makes me cringe.
  • Kenyon Martin’s tatoo of lips on his neck is incredibly stupid.
  • JR Smith finally got his redemption against the Hornets.  Every time the Nuggets play the Hornets, JR comes out playing hard and on all cylinders.  Never has he played well and won(and frequently he’s played badly).  Tonight, with Denver melting down in the fourth, he had some huge shots to keep them in it.
  • Morris Peterson was ineffective and played only seven minutes as Antonio Daniels took some minutes at the shooting guard.  Daniels line of five points and five assists may not seem like much, but if you stretch that out to starters minutes you’re looking at 14 and 14 – which is a nice, efficient game.  He and Paul are starting to play off of one another very well, and I think it has the potential to be a more effective duo than Paul and Pargo were last year.
  • The second quarter was ugly.  The Hornets turned the ball over repeatedly and missed no less than five wide open shots from three – four of those misses came from the normally consistent James Posey – and he added a pair of point blank misses for good measure.  Posey, of course, came back to play tough defense on Carmelo and take him out of the game, and then rattled in two big threes, but he ended 2-8 and 2-12 overall and it did hurt.
  • Phoenix Butler had a rough game.  He played solid defense, but couldn’t get free on the perimeter or have much of an impact on the defensive end.
  • West and Peja were stroking it from the perimeter.  Martin and Nene made it hard for Fluffy to produce inside, so he stepped out and hit some huge shots down the stretch to get us back in.  Peja was deadly from deep when it mattered, and finished with four threes and nineteen points on fourteen shots.  He also had a block.  Huh?
  • Sean Marks played and immediately gave up some easy rebounds and generally looked lost defensively.  However, and I know this will be a shock, he did not miss any long jumpers.  Probably because he didn’t get a chance to shoot any.
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