Notes From Tonight's Nugs Game
I was at the game tonight and being the nerd that I am, I took some notes. Paid attention mostly to the substitutions and rotation. Around 1,000 people there. The Turkish fans rocked. They were doing soccer-style chants across the Can.
Starters - Dre, Kleiza, Melo, K-Mart, Camby
Dre definately looks "doughy". Court vision was good, but looked slow. Hopefully he'll play his way into shape. And quick. K-Mart looked like he could care less. Hopefully it's just the opponent. K-Mart left the game around half way through the first favoring his right knee. Gillen looked at it and within 2 minutes he was back in.
First reserve off of the bench was Reggie "The Ballgrabber" Evans (for K-Mart). With 4 min left in the first, J.R. Smith and Boykins came in replacing Dre & Linas (Boyk, JR, Melo, KMart, Camby). Smith's first shot as a Nugget was from the corner from three. It promptly went off of the side of the backboard. About a minute later, Evans came in for Camby. Diawara came in for Melo to finish the first. We were up 35-22 after one with Melo having 7 points.
Joe Smith came in for KMart to start the second, meaning our second unit was Boykins, JR, Diawara, Joe Smith & Evans. Diawara looked good. Nice finish on a fastbreak and a nice post up. Joe Smith can fill in for Camby on offense as he has the top of hte key jumper that Marcus nails down pretty well. Anthony Carter came in for Boyukins with about 6 min left in the second. Kleiza back in for JR shortly thereafter. Within another minute, Marcus and Melo came on the floor and left us with Carter, Diawara, Melo, Kleiza and Camby. Dre came in for Diawara shortly thereafter and we finished with the small lineup. We actually did that a few times tonight and it worked pretty well. Melo with 11 at the half as we had a 55-44 lead.
Started the third with Melo, Dre, Kleiza, Joe Smith and Marcus. Camby looked good all night. Around four minutes left in the quarter we had Boykins, Evans and JR Smith all come in. A few minutes later Diawara joined them and we had Earl, Diawara, JR, Melo and Evans on the court. JR Smith had some nice drives, but didn't shoot real well (going by memory which means he probably shot around 60%). Smith & Diawara are pretty good. We got lucky there. End of three, we were winning 88-66. Melo had 22 & 5 boards, JR had 11 points and Reggie Evans had 11 points and 6 boards.
The fourth started with Boykins, Kleiza, JR, Diawara and Evans on the floor. Reggie got quite a bit of playing time. We still didn't appear to have any outside shooting, but I think it was more of a case of it not being necessary than anything else. Efes Pilsen couldn't stop us from driving, so we just kept attacking. ~8 minutes left Carter came in and Antoine Hood joined him. I can't imagine Carter not making this team. He didn't look great, but he was solid and if he had to fill in some extra minutes during the season I wouldn't worry too much. Around 5 minutes left Sampson came in. He's not as good as Elson, but he's decent for a 12th man. Busts his ass. Gives us 6 fouls. Highlight of the game came with 15 seconds left as Carter stole the ball and had a breakaway lay-up. Instead he bounced the ball off of the backboard, JR Smith caught it and slammed it home. Nugs win 118-102.
No Nene. No Najera tonight. Depending on who starts at SG (I'm betting that it'll be Smith with Diawara close behind him), our rotation is pretty much set it appears (I imagine that Nene will grab Evans' minutes and Evans or Najera will get the minutes that Joe Smith got).
One question; The paper said Kleiza started at the 3 and Melo at the 2. Was Kleiza really as effective as they made him out to be?
Honestly, I thought that article oversold Kleiza a little. He looked decent, better than last year, but if he's starting that means that JR Smith and Diawara are struggling. I think Diawara is going to be a pleasent surprise this season. Don't get me wrong, I love Kleiza, but he's not someone I want playing 30 minutes a game.
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