A Little Limb Action: Denver Nuggets Will Win the Western Conference Finals

I felt like going out on a limb a bit today, so I’m going to predict that the Denver Nuggets will win the NBA Western Conference Finals this season.

Chauncey Billups - Denver Nuggets - autographed photo

Chauncey Billups is averaging 19.8 points, 6 assists, 43% from 3-point range, and 90% from the foul line

 After they beat the Celtics on Sunday, it’s clear that they can have their way with any team in the league.  They were up by 20 in the first quarter, then coasted (as they are wont to do on occasion) and let the shamrock dribblers back into the game to tie it at 66 in the third quarter, then went on one of their vaunted defensive/offensive tears (as they also tend to do) and won pulling away, 114 – 105.

 This win, combined with their victory over Cleveland last Thursday (118 – 116), and their killing of the Lakers (126 – 113) and Mav’s (127 – 91) right before the All-Star break, augurs well for their chances in the playoffs.  (That game against the Lakers was beautiful.  Chauncey Billups, who is having one of his best seasons, scored 21 in the third quarter on his way to 39 total.  J. R. Smith added 27.  Kenyon Martin had 11 points and 12 rebounds — I’ve lost count of how many double-doubles he’s had this season.  And all this with Carmelo Anthony sitting out.  L. A. did not play badly.  They were beaten.)

So, barring injury, I think the Nuggets are going to the NBA Finals this season, winning the Western Conference Finals against (most likely) the Lakers.

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Some would say this is premature.  After all, aren’t the Nuggets inexplicably inconsistent at times?  Many think they should have beaten the Lakers in the playoffs last season, except for careless last-second plays in games they should have won.  (Then again, you could say it was good defensive play by the Lakers.  Overall, what we can take from it is they definitely could have beaten the Lakers.)  I’ll give you that.  Nonetheless, even though they have lost to some of the Toyota-floormat teams this season, when they really focus on the contest, they play outstanding ball.  And a number of their victories have come with either Carmelo Anthony or Chauncey Billups riding the bench.  The team is really melding, getting more and more a sense of what they can accomplish.  The additions of Ty Lawson (the rookie one-man fast break) and Arron Afflalo have done nothing but strengthen them.

Here’s a play I can’t resist including, which happened against Minnesota on March 10.  On a fast break at 4:30 in the 4th quarter, Billups threw a long alley-oop pass to J.R. Smith.  What Smith did with it was pretty incredible.  Even the Minnesota home crowd was oooing afterward.  Of this play, Scott Hastings, former Detroit Pistons player who was color commentating for Altitude TV said, “Oh my goodness.  That’s the nastiest alley-oop I may have ever seen in my entire life.”  And Kevin Love, forward for the Timberwolves, who was trailing the play, said, “That was one of the most impressive dunks I’ve ever seen.  That’s just freakishly athletic.  Unbelievable.” 

 

So far this season, the Nuggets are 1 – 0 against Boston, 2 – 0 against Cleveland, 2 – 0 versus the Lakers, 1 – 0 against Orlando, and 1 -1 versus Dallas.

 

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Sure, they’ve lost to Minnesota and Washington.  Doesn’t matter.  What remains to be seen is whether they can beat a good team when they have to.  For some teams, as they develop, victories come when they get into the zone of the joy of playing basketball.  I’ve seen the Nuggets in that zone a number of times this season.  In that respect, they remind me a bit of the 1974-75 Golden State Warriors, whom people doubted even as they swept the Washington Bullets to win the NBA championship.  When a team can get into that zone, and also becomes totally committed to winning, that’s when a championship can come. 

This season, when it counts, I think the Nuggest will learn how to get it done.  And, from way out on this limb, it looks like they’ll do it with style.

Feel like playing a little ball?  Here’re some things that will come in handy…

Ball… 

 

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Click for Spalding NBA Official Game Basketball

 

Shoes and… 

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Basketball backpack  (for when, like me, you ride your bike to the court)… 

 

Nike Lebron Ball Carry Backpack currently on sale at eBags

Nike Lebron Ball Carry Backpack currently on sale at eBags

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Get all your team gym bags and other team gear at eBags… 


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Want to see an NBA game?  There are still tickets left to see Carmelo, Kobe, Lebron, Kevin Durant, Steve Nash, and the rest!  And of course, the playoffs are starting soon — order your tickets now and get them in plenty of time…

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