As expected, the Spurs atoned for one lackluster effort, but they lost Tony Parker (13 PTS, 7 AST) to an ankle injury. The severity is unknown; their MVP was carried off the court and will not be rushed back.
Sometimes the Nuggets remind you of a 4×100 relay team at a track meet. They sprinted to 35 points in the first quarter and the Lakers had no answer. Denver finished with 33 points on the fast break, the Lakers three; L.A. was also outscored 78-50 in the paint because they allowed a lot of dunks and layups.
When the New York Knicks gave up a sizable chunk of solid players to acquire the services of Carmelo Anthony in the 2010-2011 season, many – especially the team’s fan base – believed that the team simply gave up too much for the scorer that too often focused on only one end of the floor.
That especially appeared to be the case last season, when the Knicks struggled to an 8-15 record before the height of Linsanity, while the Nuggets were flourishing in the competitive Western Conference with one of the deeper teams in the league.
Fast forward to the current season, though, and the storybook has completely flipped in favor of the Knicks.
Anthony suddenly looks like a changed player and is doing things that most never thought he was capable of doing: getting after it on the defensive end. Meanwhile, Wilson Chandler has been largely ineffective thus far as he continues to recover from offseason hip surgery, Timofey Mozgov appears to be a marginal player at best and Danilo Gallinari is shooting a paltry 27.9 percent from the field as he tries to play through a sore ankle.
So to answer Bill Simmons’ question, are there any Knicks fans out there that would pull the trigger to acquire the struggling threesome of the Nuggets for Anthony now?
Head-to-head caught on and passed Roto in popularity because it has a bit more action over the long NBA season. While both are games of skill, luck plays a larger part in H2H success, as it’s really a series of one-week “seasons.”
If you’re a fan of action, enjoy testing your skill and understand that a basketball takes weird bounces sometimes, even H2H moves at a glacial pace compared to daily leagues. FanDuel offers one-day salary cap points leagues, which are challenging and fun. The $1,000 Tournament for Sheridan Hoops readers closes at 7:00 EDT this Wednesday.
There’s a $2 entry fee per team; you can enter up to five teams. Pick nine players (2 PG, 2 SG, 2 SF, 2 PF, 1 C) without exceeding the $60,000 cap. Only six categories count in the scoring system — PTS = 1pt, REB = 1pt, AST = 1pt, BLK = 2pts, STL = 2pts, TO = -1pt — and whoever scores the most fantasy points wins $200 cash, available the next day via PayPal. Second place is worth $125, third $100 and even 52nd through 61st earn $4, double your money. It’s limited to 555 teams; my roster will keep changing until the deadline.
There’s an even bigger (as in enormous) tournament at FanDuel that I just entered; click through to Page 4 to see how you could win a trip to Las Vegas and $50,000 cash.
Injury News You Can Use
Eric Gordon (knee) did contact drills and participated in a short scrimmage yesterday, says John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. While coach Monty Williams remains non-commital, it sounds like Gordon might play limited minutes in Wednesday’s opening game. Teammate Austin Rivers (ankle) is OK.
Kobe Bryant (foot) is limping and has yet to practice. He’s had an MRI and is officially day-to-day. The Lakers’ 4-game slate this week (starting with a back-to-back) is a blessing and a curse to Kobe owners who must set weekly lineups. I would use him — his pain threshold is legendary — but don’t be surprised if he’s not himself, or sits out at least one game.
Chris Kaman (calf) will travel with the Mavs for their first two games, which doesn’t guarantee he’ll play. Dallas signed Eddy Curry to help up front until Kaman is 100%.
Jeff Teague (ankle) and Zaza Pachulia (ankle) aren’t certain to play the first Hawks game. Whether he starts at PG or SG, Devin Harris could be useful.
Kirk Hinrich (groin) may not be 100%, but we expect him to give it a try. The only backup PG for the Bulls is Nate Robinson, making him a decent Week 1 streamer if Hinrich can’t go, or plays limited minutes.
(This is another in a series of 30 guest columns that will run in October, when optimism reigns supreme across the NBA. The theme will be “Five Reasons to Feel Positive About … ” We encourage you to follow the authors on Twitter and visit their sites. – CS)
In the wake of the Carmelo Anthony trade and the departures of Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith – the ending of the “Thuggets” era – Denver Nuggets vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri and coach George Karl have done a masterful job of assembling a team of character-first players with depth at every position.
Having done so, many are thinking big things for the 2012-13 Nuggets, going as far as comparing them to the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons – the only NBA team since 1980 to win a championship without a bona fide superstar (or superstars) leading the way. And thus, expectations and optimism are more than a Mile High for the Nuggets in Denver this season.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t square with the reality of what’s happening around the Nuggets in the Western Conference. En route to the 2004 title and another NBA Finals appearance in 2005 by way of a weak Eastern Conference, the mid-aughties Pistons never had to face the likes of this season’s Lakers, Thunder or Spurs – or even the quality of this season’s Clippers and Grizzlies, for that matter.
Lest we forget that as soon as Dwyane Wade and LeBron James elevated their games to superstar status, those Pistons never made it back to the NBA Finals.
So we as Nuggets fans need to temper our enthusiasm and be more realistic with our expectations for this team. This fan in particular would be thrilled to see the Nuggets again win 50 games and get into the second round – something that has happened just once during Denver’s current run of nine straight playoff
appearances dating to 2004.
The Nuggets can and should get into the second round in 2013, and here’s five reasons why.
1. Two Starting Fives
While most teams – even the good ones – struggle to field a solid starting five, never mind a decent bench, the Nuggets go 11 deep. That’s right, 11 deep.
After assembling a solid starting five presumed to be Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried at forward, JaVale McGee at center and Ty Lawson and Andre Iguodala manning the backcourt, the Nuggets have a backup point guard in Andre Miller that would start on 10 NBA teams, two backup centers in Timofey Mozgov and Kosta Koufos (yes, Kosta Koufos) that might start on 15 NBA teams, and a backup small forward in Wilson Chandler that would start on 20 NBA teams.
Throw in a vastly improved Jordan Hamilton and exciting French rookie Evan Fournier, and the Nuggets will be able to come at opponents in waves – almost like a hockey team that changes lines throughout the game.