It’s starting to look like the Nuggets are going to lock up the 3-seed in the West. That’s good. Ty Lawson should be back for the playoffs, but might not be at 100 percent. That’s also good. Danilo Gallinari’s ACL appears to be in several pieces. That’s really, really bad. This GIF is gross, but I didn’t show Kevin Ware’s last week, so I’m going for it. Sorry if you’re squeamish.
So where do the Nuggets go from here? They should still lock up the 3-seed and will have home court in the first round against probably Golden State or Houston. They went 4-0 against Houston this season, including a 132-114 blowout on Saturday without Lawson or Gallinari. The Nuggets went 3-1 vs Golden State. The one loss came 106-105 in Oakland when Andre Iguodala’s last second three was determined to be after the buzzer.
If Lawson is able to play, the Nuggets should win a first round series, which is progress, but a lesser aspiration than what fans had in mind a couple weeks ago. Wilson Chandler should be able to step in and fill Gallo’s role in the starting lineup adequately. Chandler was even getting more minutes than Danilo for a multiple-game stretch a few weeks ago. Thing is, when Ill-Will starts, there’s nobody to step in and fill his role off the bench.
I considered the Nuggets a threat to make the NBA Finals because they legitimately have 9 different guys who can beat you on a given night. Their depth is what made them dangerous. Without the versatile offensive threat of Gallinari in their half court offense, that depth is diminished remarkably. This is particularly true in the playoffs, when fast-break points are harder to come by and the Nuggets will be forced to rely on running a half court offense. Gallinari’s slashing dunks and quick-release threes will be missed sorely against San Antonio in the second round.
The entire NBA looked at the Nuggets as an interesting experiment because they don’t have a superstar and play at such a high-octane pace. Many, including me, considered them a serious contender to come out of the Western Conference.
That standpoint was torn in half at the same time as Gallinari’s ACL.
SPORTS STUFF FROM AROUND THE WEB
The NCAA National Championship didn’t disappoint. I can’t remember watching a better college basketball game. It was back and forth. Surprise stars came out of nowhere, then faded (Raise your hand if you had heard of Spike Albrecht before last night). Huge dunks and alley-oops. The whole game was just played at a really high level. I’ve always thought “It’s a shame one team had to lose this game” is a corny expression, but that really applied to this one.
Rick Pitino thinking he was getting capped as fireworks went off in the Georgia Dome kind of stole the post game show last night.
Until, of course One Shining Moment played on CBS (after midnight on the East Coast). Nothing even comes close to perfectly wrapping up a great season like this song.
No CSU Rams snuck in there for the second year in a row. Kind of lame. Really, there’s no Mountain West in there at all. No CU either.
Sunday marked the 20th anniversary of the release of a cinematic masterpiece. The Sandlot is a staple of my generation and easily one of my favorite movies ever. If you’ve ever played baseball with your friends or just lived for the summer as a kid, it’s probably one of your favorites too. Bleacher Report had a fun breakdown. Here’s my favorite scene from the classic about nostalgia, summer, camaraderie among young boys, America, the good ol’ days and, of course, baseball:
Squints grabbing the back of Wendy’s head right when “This Magic Moment” starts playing is one of the great moments is movie history. Then the narration ending with, “But everyday after that the lifeguard looked down from her tower, right over at Squints… and smiled.” That’s some darn good stuff.
Here’s a long, in-depth piece from ESPN The Magazine inside the collapse of the Auburn football and the huge role synthetic marijuana played. “For lack of a better term, they were out of their minds.” Stuff sounds terrifying. Really good investigative journalism.
This screencap from Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) is gold.
So is the reaction of this kid sitting behind home plate. I could watch this GIF 1000 times in a row.
The Denver Post had a good breakdown of the decline of the Avalanche on Sunday. Pretty crazy how far they’ve fallen.
This is a called third strike to end a one-run MLB game.
Neither the batter, pitcher nor catcher appear to have initially thought that was a strike. Rays manager Joe Maddon wasn’t happy.
And finally, allow me to rain on your parade when it comes to the Rockies. They jumped out to a 5-2 start and their starting pitching looks really good, with six quality starts in seven games. Their lineup will be a beast all year. Opening weekend at Coors Field was great. I’ll just remind you that there’s 155 games left. In 2011 they started 11-2, then went 62-87. I’ll stand by last week’s prediction.