With a suddenly glaring weakness at power forward, the Denver Nuggets need to make a move to compete in the loaded Western Conference next season.
Unless the Nuggetsâ€™ front office can wheel and deal for the likes of Chris Bosh (Denver was not on his list of preferred cities to play in), then we will have to hope that Kenyonâ€™s knees hold, that Birdman can be energy off the bench instead of a late season burnout, and that Denver never, ever has to rely on Johan Petro to start a game ever again.
Down three games to one in the opening round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs, Denver needed a big victory on Wednesday night. More than that, they needed a big outing from absent star Chauncey Billups. The Nuggets got both in Game 5 at Pepsi Center, part of their 116-102 win.
Denver had a unique opportunity to crush the Jazz in Game 2, and they let it slip away. Utah is beset by injuries, losing Andrei Kirilenko & Mehmet Okur over the last few weeks. Granted, Deron Williams & Carlos Boozer had outstanding games in Denver, but the Nuggetsâ€™ bench was absolutely useless on Monday night. If Denverâ€™s B-Team canâ€™t beat Utahâ€™s C-Team, the Nuggets donâ€™t deserve to move on in these playoffs.
The cost of this whole thing is that now the Nuggets must win in Utah. Itâ€™s among the toughest places to play in the league. Itâ€™s tiny and steep and loud. It feels like the crowd is right on top of you. Literally, I think they sell seats in harnesses that hang from the roof of the arena. I think the Nuggets will still win the series though. The injuries for the Jazz are a little too much, and itâ€™s doubtful they can consistently produce the best half in their franchise history every game to win by 3.
Now, with Jazz Center Mehmet Okur going down with a ruptured Achilles tendon on Saturday night, Utah will have to move PF Carlos Boozer to Center for much of the game. That gives Carmelo even more room to work on the perimeter, and likely spells doom for Utah in this series.