Game 51: Nuggets at Cavs
DENVER NUGGETS (33-18) 111, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (16-35) 103
Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio
WHAT HAPPENED: The Nuggets don't have one representative on the Western Conference All-Star team. And, when you look at their deep and talented roster, they have no real superstar.
But if you equate that with not being a good team, you'd be wrong. Dead wrong.
The Nuggets are darn good. They are well-coached. They are also nine deep of legitimate players. Any team that brings Andre Miller off the bench must be pretty good, and they are.
They are long. They have three 7-footers on the roster. Small forward Danilo Gallinari is listed as 6-10, but you can't convince me he's not a 7-footer.
Power forward Kenneth Faried isn't a 7-footer. They generously list him at 6-8. He just plays so hard. He's a shorter version of Anderson Varejao, only way more athletic.
The Cavs hung with the Nuggets for much of the night, but had trouble closing out quarters. You have to play all the way through against teams like that. They're just too good.
The Cavs had two players with 20 or more points. Guard Kyrie Irving had a game-high 26 points, but 12 came in the fourth quarter. He sat for a long time in the third with foul trouble. That wasn't a good thing.
Forward Alonzo Gee, mired in a terrible shooting slump, had 20 points, two off his career high. However, 15 came in the first six minutes. After that, he didn't do much.
Tristan Thompson, who has been fabulous for the last month or so, was held to just 11 points and four rebounds. He wasn't much of a factor.
Speaking of being almost invisible, the two rookies played a total of 50 minutes. Center Tyler Zeller and guard Dion Waiters combined to score 10 points. Waiters was non-existent with three points. Zeller had seven points and six rebounds. He was 1 of 3 from the field. He had a total of one field goal in the two weekend games. Not acceptable.
I know he's going through growing pains. He's not getting it done for me. He's getting minutes right now not because he's earning them, but because the front office thinks he should be. He's not even been bad as of late. He's been nothing.
I'm actually kind of disappointed in his play.
The Nuggets are 7-2 on the road in the last nine games of the Cavs' series. Denver has also gone 10-3 against the Cavs since the start of the 2006-07 season.
In the past, the Cavs just haven't matched up well against Coach George Karl's team.
The Q was sold out on Saturday, only the fourth of the season. The others were the Oklahoma City game and the first two of the season: vs. Washington and Chicago.
NEWS FEED: Benjamin Hochman's story on Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried in today's Denver Post.
LAST GAME: The Cavs defeated Orlando on Friday, 119-108.
SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs.Danilo Gallinari (6-10, 225)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Kenneth Faried (6-8, 228)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Kosta Koufos (7-0, 265)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Andre Iguodala (6-6, 207)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Ty Lawson (5-11, 195)
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby
Nuggets - F Quincy Miller, G Julyan Stone
Bennis Adams, Derrick Collins, Scott Twardoski