11/8/08 Check out this and other stories with pictures at: http://baseballsnatcher.mlblogs.com/
Except for Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson is my favorite NBA player. I've followed him since he was a 76er, and I was elated when he became a Denver Nugget.
He single-handedly renewed my interest in Nuggets basketball. I respect Allen Iverson for a lot of reasons, the main two being his heart and his height.
Iverson is the same size as me. There have been a lot of great players under six foot tall, but every time I see Iverson on the court I'm reminded that anyone can get off to a bad start in their life and turn it around. I'm also reminded that height is not near as much a factor as heart is. At the time Iverson arrived in Denver he was "the answer".
The Nuggets needed him, Denver needed him and believe it or not, Mello needed him.
Now he's gone, off to Detroit. I was able to see his last game as a Denver Nugget live. I snagged a picture of AI's last foul shot as a Denver Nugget right as the ball entered the basket.
At the time, I didn't know it would be his last foul shot. I just got lucky.
Good Luck Allen Iverson. Thanks for the play
Welcome back to Denver Chauncey Billups. Finally, a real point guard.
Chauncey is a Colorado native. He attended George Washington High School in Denver Colorado, and played College ball at the University of Colorado.
His number 4 was retired in a Ceremony at the U of C in 2004.
That same year Billups won the 2004 NBA Finals MVP award averaging 21 points and 5.2 assists per game.
He was a Nugget from 1999-2000 averaging 13.9 PPG in 98-99 with 45 games played and 8.6 in 99-00 with only 13 games played due to an injury.
Ok the history lesson is complete. Originally, I was a little unsettled with this trade. But, the more I thought about it, the more I like the swap. My main complaint after watching the my first game live this season(the home opener), was that nothing seemed different.
That's not the case anymore. I started thinking , if Chauncey can pull his 12 points a game (or more), and JR Smith, Nene, Anthony Carter can step it up a few notches. This really could work. Maybe there is a method behind the madness.
Friday night was the test.
Dallas Mavericks vs the Denver Nuggets Pepsi Arena, Denver
Aluminum cans don't really burn, and that's a good thing because the crowd inside "The Can" last night were lit up. They were excited about seeing former Nugget "Chauncey Billups" return to Denver and showed it by giving him an rousing ovation.
The game ball was specially delivered by Champ Bailey wearing Chauncey's #7 Jersey. The number Billups chose in honor of John Elway.
Good move Chauncey. You can't go wrong with Elway in this town.
There was also a video tribute to him with fans and Alumni welcoming him back at the end of the first quarter. That was a nice touch.
The Nuggets got off to a slow start, Billups missed his first three-point attempt, but made his first two pointer. Carmello Anthony seemed frazzled missing one jump shot after another. He never seem to get his rhythm.
By halftime, the the Nuggets were down by one with a score of 49-48.
Chauncey was 1 of 7 with five points. The Nuggets had given up 14 offensive rebounds.
Nene provided 13 points and I can't tell you how cool it was to see this big guy finally penetrating, doing his thing, and putting up some numbers.
Linus Kleiza ""the L train" (that's a dumb nickname, he could to better), was impressive with his 10 points off the bench. I sure wish the "train" was a little more predictable.
Carmello Anthony had 8 points, JR Smith with 6 and Anthony Carter had two.
The Nuggets had me worried, there were a LOT of missed opportunities.
I was thinking to myself, it's ok, the Nuggets are just learning how to adjust to their new teammate, and he to them. I was anxious and needed to see that pure point guard magic from Billlups that the Nuggets so desperately needed.
Nuggets found their groove in the second half. Anthony came alive scoring 20 points and hitting 4 free throws in the final seconds.
Here's a comment from Chauncey Billups after the game about Carmello, "Mello, of course, is pretty much unstoppable, We've got a lot of weapons. I think if we can lock in and get everyone on the same page we can be dangerous".
I call it gelling. But he's right.
Billups finished the game with 15 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals. Carmello scores 28, Nene finishes with an impressive 19 points and JR Smith hits 15.
Final Score Nuggets 108, Mavericks 105.
Props to Jason Kidd.
You got to love this dude's play. He finished the game with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists. He even made it interesting near the end. If he would have made his last free throw it would have tied the game and possibly went into overtime.
Sorry, better luck next time Kidd.
Nuggets fans just want to be happy.
The Pepsi Arena was sold out last night and I know what I saw. I was watching a "team" play last night.
A team very much still its infancy, yet so packed full of talent, I keep waiting for the bang. George Karl, you've got the pieces, now get this weapon assembled as quick as possible.
Thank you Chauncey, all it took was a good old fashioned point guard.
The Nuggets new season has now officially begun..D..Rockpile Ranter