Your Denver Nuggets fell to the Golden State Warriors last night in the exact same way they lost to Utah on Monday ... grasping for clutch.
Nene Hilario, or "Nene" as we came to know him, was a polarizing but beloved member of the Denver Nuggets. The Brazilian born big man was every bit as much a fan favorite as he was a fall guy for the Blue and Yellow for nearly a decade. Coach George Karl raised him from just a pup but the Nuggets were finally forced to trade him after the 2011 season when it had finally become clear that he was not going to realize his promise in Karl's system.
Stil ... did we have to send to poor guy to the Wizards?
The Washington Wizards, who once had a way cooler name (the Bullets) are easily the NBA's shittiest team. The are positively dreadful. In fact, they won their first game of the year last night. The woeful Wiz are a miserable 1-12 on the season, in part because Nene, who had struggled with injuries throughout his time in Denver, has played only three games for them this year.
Even with Nene on the floor, however, the Wizards are awful - and will be for the foreseeable future. Washington is NBA Siberia, just like Denver was when Nene first came here.
What has he ever done to deserve this? Nene has already been through so much. He had one of his testicles cut off, for heaven's sakes. WHAT ON EARTH HAVE WE DONE!? Nene turned out to be a rather pedestrian center for the Nuggets, but it's not like he was a jerk like Carmelo. It's simply unfair for him to have to suffer through seasons as a Wizard.
We should be ashamed of ourselves. In fact we should feel pangs of guilt every time JaVale McGee, who we acquired in the trade that nixed Nene, throws downa thunderous dunk or makes a stunning play on defense. Sure, McGee appears to be a much better player than Nene was, but look at the evil we had to do to get him.
It's tough to blame George Karl for last night's Nuggets 103-105 loss in Utah.
Once again, the coach put his 12 million dollar man, Ty Lawson in position to tie the game in the closing few seconds. Karl instructed Andre Miller to toss an inbound pass to Lawson who was wide open. Lawson took that pass, dribbled toward the hoop and chickened out, kicking the ball to the perimeter as the final second ticked off.
Isn't that the kind of situation he's being paid a hell of a lot of money to shine in? Isn't he supposed to be the man? Isn't this Ty's team? Karl has said that it is, but we are yet to see it. Instead, newcomer Andre Iguodala and second-year man Kenneth Faried have been Denver's best players. But neither of those guys are responsible for driving the offense when the Nuggets desperately need a basket.
Lawson has got to step up and earn his stripes - and the massive contract extension he was given.
His problem seems to be a lack of confidence, which might come on the heels of his big pay day. He wasn't so tentative when he was a role player.
Of course, if the Nuggets weren't one of the worst free-throw shooting teams in the NBA it might not matter quite so much.
The Nuggets gave Ty Lawson 48 million reasons to step up as a leader and become the man in Denver. 12 million reason per year for four years. So where is he? Has anybody seen Ty Lawson? Mr. Lawson, Mr. Ty Lawson to the white courtesy phone, please.
Denver's almost 50 million dollar man was nearly invisible in the Nuggets first eight games, but last night he was nowhere to be found. The "star" point guard scored precisely not at all against the Heat last night at Pepsi Center. Zip, zero, nada, nothin'. He dropped not a single basket, not a floater, not a jumper, not so much as a layup. And it's not because he was too busy contributing in other areas. Lawson totalled one rebound, eight assists and two steals in 36 minutes on the court. and never got to the free-throw line. Of course, with a free-throw percentage of just over 50% on the season, getting to the line hasn't meant much for Ty.
Lawson may be little, but you shouldn't have to squint to see his impact on the floor. The Nuggets are counting on him to captain the ship. Meanwhile the new guy, Andre Iguodala is the one demonstrating the leadership that Karl and Co. are looking for. Iggy's not just providing the defense that he was brought in for, he's scoring, dishing and setting up his team mates for success. They'll continue to fail, though, without their star playing like a star.
It's time for the Denver Nuggets to put out an A.P.B. on their star P.G.
If you've ever wondered what it looks like to see a team gel before your very eyes, skip to the end of this highlight video and watch the way Andre Iguodala embraces Danilo Gallinari. It's the kind of sports moment that makes me glad to be a fan.
Props to our friend, Jeff Morton from Denver Stiffs for pointing this out for us. In his Nugs / Suns teaser article. posted today, Morton says of the embrace "Encapsulated in that moment was winning, teamwork, support, encouragement and determination all wrapped up in to one. It is this moment, I believe, that will define this Nuggets team going forward through this season. The symbolism is massive"
Welcome to our newest recurring shtick here at the 'Stands. It's "Crap My Kid Photoshopped For Me".
I always wanted to learn to make silly images with Photoshop but I am far too stupid and lazy. So I will make my son, who's eleven, Photoshop Denver Sports Crap for me so that I can share it with you.
Tonight I asked him to show everybody what I thought the Denver Nuggets new uniforms look like.
The Los Angeles Lakers were poised to make their run. The off-season acquisitions of point guard Steve Nash and center Dwight Howard had them stacked. They would make a pre-ordained tear through the Western Conference and be prepared for their inevitable showdown with the Miami Heat for the NBA title.
Then the season started.
The Lakers lost Steve Nash in their opener. A bone fracture will keep the Hall-of-Famer sidelined for gosh knows how long. They've gone 1-4 in their first five games and are in the basement of the Pacific Division. And today they have reportedly fired their head coach, Mike Brown.
Uh, oh. Trouble in Lakerland.
That's great news for your Denver Nuggets, who appear to be improving with every game. The Nuggets, currently 2-3, can pull themselves back up to .500 with a win at Pepsi Center tonight versus the Utah Jazz. They appear to be battling back after a slow start, and are looking down at the Lakers in the Western Conference standings. This circumstance was unexpected and, now that LA's apple cart has been upset, there's no telling the benefit to Denver.
The Lakers will certainly get things turned around - they'll be a formidable contender. But, for the time being, their instability bolsters the hopefulness of the Nuggets and their fans. The early part of the Nuggets' schedule, after all, is tough. So for them not to be losing ground to LA right now is fabulous.
With the passing of Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution, the Sports world is wondering when athletes will take advantage of legalized marijuana. The reality is that, for athletes, nothing is going to change, and that's too bad.
The good folks at Denver Stiffs, the finest Denver Nuggets blog in all the land, donated a brand new Denver Nuggets "Yellow Skyline" logo Jersey Shirt for us to give away in any manner we saw fit.
So, since we're kinda nutty we came up with this...
Tweet us your best Denver Nuggets Haiku poems any time during tonight's Nuggets home opener versus the Detroit Pistons along with - in this is important - hashtag #NugsHaiku and my Twitter handle, @SouthStands303. We (myself and Reidy) will look them over, as will the Denver Stiffs guys, and we will name a winner as soon as the game is over. Also, if these are as good as I hope they will be, I will publish them on this here interweb site.
The final buzzer is the last chance for submissions.
Winner will be recognized on Twitter and can take delivery whenever / however. We're easy.
If you don't know the rules of Haiku, you can Google it.
Get out to the polls tonight, Denver, and vote for your Denver Nuggets over the Detroit Pistons in a landslide.
It's the Nugs' home opener and hoo-boy do they need win. Beyond that, they need some swaggar. Like them, the Pistons come into tonight's game 0-3. They're the ideal prey at the ideal time for a Nuggets team that showed us on Saturday night in Miami that they can play with the league's best. Denver faded down the stretch and made some bonehead mistakes, but gave Lebron and his Heat all they could take. There were more positive signs than negative in that game.
If it comes together tonight, and the Nuggets win by ten or more, everyone in Nuggets Nation will feel just a little bit better.
And besides, no matter what happens at the polls today, about half of them will need something to smile about.
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I never really liked sports until I had a religious conversion when the Broncos lost to the 49ers in that one Super Bowl. Now I'm obsessed with all aspects of the Denver pro sports world. Oh yeah, I hate college football. It's crap. Talk to me on twitter @johnreidydenver