Friday, February 11, 2011

Dallas @ Denver, 2/10/2011

I was lucky enough to attend the Mavs vs. Nuggets game last night at Pepsi Center in Denver. A couple of notes from the game:
  • Great game from Arron Afflalo. He was on fire in the fourth and really picked up the slack from a non-existent JR Smith and when Dallas locked down on Chauncey. He got a wide-open jumper when Marion thought he was going to put up that J behind the line. Excellent move by Afflalo.
  • Birdman is just overwhelming to see in person. Is that comment positive or negative? You be the judge.
  • Nene is one of the most underrated players in the league. He reminds a lot of Pau Gasol in a lot of ways; a bevy of moves in the post, not afraid to play back to the basket, can play face up from the elbow and is a big body that has to be accounted for. His lack of length hurts him (unlike Gasol), but he plays very hard on both ends of the floor. He didn't have a great game yesterday, but I feel like he could be a steal for a team offering Denver the right pieces.
  • Solid Denver crowd - they reacted to the game like it was the playoffs in June, not TNT Thursday in February. Very pleased with the fine citizens of Colorado.
  • But conversely, as I proudly wore my Lakers gear in the arena during a Nuggets/Mavericks game, I only got one deragatory comment. A little dissapointed in Denver. I thought they might have more fire than that.
Carmelo had 42. Sure. But he got almost all of those 42 on jump shots. Granted, he was on fire from the field (17-25 shooting), but he only had 3 free throw attempts. What does that tell me? Melo was settling for jumpers on the wing (as his shot chart dictates - he only took a third of his shots in the paint) and not trying to get into the grill of the defense. I find that when this type of offensive performance happens, it's laziness, especially for a player that's such a gifted post and elbow scorer. I know it's hard to argue him shooting so much from the perimeter when he only missed 8 shots all night, but in most games, that's not going to work. He's not playing for contact or free throws, which is the most efficient way a player will usually score.
And this is type of effort I've been seeing from Carmelo lately - pretty lazy and doing the least he can to get his points. His body language all night was garbage. Despite his hot shooting, he looked detached and somewhat disinterested. And that's what's so deceiving here - he still dropped 42 points. But I suppose that's a testament to what a gifted offensive player he is. He got his numbers while looking like he didn't care and on jump shots that fell in. Can you imagine if he actually was engaged and looked like he gave a shit?
The Nuggets need to ship this guy out immediately. It's apparent to me (and the rest of the league, seemingly) that he doesn't want to stay in Denver. They have to get something for him or risk losing him much like Toronto did Chris Bosh last year - he walked and Toronto basically was left with nothing.
Overall, great experience at Pepsi Center - a fine arena, fine people and a great game.

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