Clippers-Nuggets, April 4, 2006
Here's an email I sent after the Clippers beat the Nuggets in their last meeting of the regular season:
Just finished watching one of the more interesting NBA games I've seen in a while. Nuggets made their first 12 shots, and shot 82% overall in the first half. Marcus Camby was 9-9. And I'm not talking 9 follow dunks. He got two easy ones, but the other 7 were 18 feet or longer. And you know when you watch Camby, and you're like, hey, he's not that bad on that shot. HE MADE 7 IN A ROW! Next time you go to a Nuggets game, watch him in warm ups, with no one on him. I guarantee you he won't make 7 in a row.
So, whereas the Clippers were certainly not playing great defense in the first half, it felt a lot like Denver was just having one of those nights. In addition to the aforementioned Camby 9 for 9, Reggie Evans made his first THREE jumpers, including, I s*** you not, a bank shot from 17 feet straightaway. I'm watching in disbelief, thinking, I actually think Reggie Evans is going to shoot that ball, and then it banks in. After they changed out the broken backboard, play continued, and I was pretty sure it was not going to be the Clippers night. Halftime score - 77 - 57. The Nuggets scored 38 points in the first quarter, and followed that up with 39 in the second!
Second half, Dunleavy starts Livingston, Ross and Radmanovich over Cassell, Mobley and Maggette, and they turn it around. The details of the comeback are not important, but I must say that Quinton Ross is Bruce Bowen without the rep, and Shawn Livingston is CLEARLY going to be the Clippers best player, and maybe pretty soon.
The play of the game belongs to Carmelo Anthony, who remains not the most mature NBA player I've ever seen.
Melo was 7-9 for 20 points in the first half. Second half, Dunleavy puts Ross on him (great move, although one wonders why Ross got exactly ZERO minutes in the first half - if we credit Dunleavy for the second half decision, don't you have to blame him all the more for the first half omission?) Melo goes 1-8 with Ross pretty much surgically attached to his shooting hand. Melo is getting, shall we say, a little frustrated. By the way, the Clippers had tied the game at 97, and even took a 3 point lead at 105-102, and DerMarr Johnson (huh?) basically kept Denver in the game in the 4th quarter. He scored 8 of their final 12 points, and his 3 pointer tied it again at 105. Without Boykins, and with Carmelo under wraps (which I guess doesn't happen much), NOBODY WANTED TO OR COULD MAKE A BIG SHOT FOR DENVER. DerMarr Johnson? C'mon!
Anyway, back to Melo. About 1:20 left, Clippers have a two point lead, Carmelo takes it to the hole, gets fouled. Well, I have NO IDEA what he's thinking, but I guess he's pissed off about being fouled, and he punches the basketball about 25 rows into the crowd. T and ejection. Now remember, this is a 2 point game at the time, and he's supposed to be shooting free throws. Instead, Cassell sinks the T, and the Clippers pick Evans (a career 54% FT shooter) to shoot Carmelo's foul shots. He clangs both shots. Clippers hang on to win. A lot of times you say that such and such a play cost the game, or cost some points, or whatever. But with 70 seconds left, he had a chance to go to the line and tie the game, and instead he got tossed, and the Clippers took a 3 point lead, AND HE ACTUALLY GOT THE CALL! What was he thinking? And then the Nuggets had a possession to take the lead with 20 seconds to go. How many times has Carmelo made last second shots to win games this year? Oh that's right, he's in the locker room because he got mad when a call went his way. Amazing.
I'm telling you, the guy's obviously a major talent, but something is not right with him.