Starting 5: All Stars, Rose Loves MSG & Blake Won’t Dunk This Year


Every morning, we’ll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1:  So Denver’s pretty good, huh?

The Denver Nuggets have gone 33-14 in the regular season since the Carmelo Anthony trade.  In exchange for their superstar player, they got a bunch of role players and they still don’t have a “takeover” kind of guy. 

And they don’t need one.  

The Nuggets beat the Clippers last night pretty handily, taking advantage of a team playing its fourth game in five nights, and once again, it was a balanced scoring attack that did the job.  They don’t have any particular guy to hand the ball to at the end of the game when they need a basket, but that just forces the Nuggets to play a better brand of team basketball and execute down the stretch.  In reality, just about anyone on the floor can take and make the big shot for Denver.  

Just because they don’t have that one superstar doesn’t mean they don’t have very good players.  They also have some pretty young players, with an average age just above 27.  Players who are good enough to get the job done, unselfish enough to play team ball, and young enough to withstand this stupid lockout-condensed schedule is a perfect mix for Denver to make some serious now.

2:  LA’s All Star Story

So the All Stars were announced last night, and it’s a very acceptable group

Eastern Conference
F — Carmelo Anthony, New York
F — LeBron James, Miami
C — Dwight Howard, Orlando 
G — Derrick Rose, Chicago 
G — Dwyane Wade, Miami

Western Conference
F — Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers
F — Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City
C — Andrew Bynum, L.A. Lakers 
G — Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers 
G — Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers

I can’t really make too strong an argument against anyone here.  Maybe you can say Carmelo Anthony shouldn’t have made it ahead of, say, Danny Granger, but that’s not a huge deal. 

Out West, the Clippers got their first two starters ever.  And two of the other are Lakers.  Four guys from LA.  And they all deserve it, though I’d like to see a little more progression out of Bynum.  

Man, I almost miss the days of China stuffing the ballot box for injured players with highly recognizable names.  Remember how pissed off we used to get when Yao Ming would get in after playing only five games?  



Derrick Rose with the windmill lay-up in traffic


Amar’e Stoudemire flashes a little handle

Man, Josh Smith was really in a hurry to get onto Tony Allen’s poster

4:  Line of the night: Derrick Rose – 32 points (12-26 fg), 13 assists, 4 rebounds

So that unwatchable Chicago – New York game I predicted last night?  An exciting 105-102 barn-burner.  So, I’m a moron.   It looked like I was going to be right until the Knicks actually stepped up in the third quarter to prevent a 12 point lead from getting out of hand.  But Derrick Rose made sure the Knicks would never come all the way back, scoring 15 of those 32 in the fourth quarter.  

So I’ll repeat the sentiment from yesterday’s Starting 5 when LeBron scored most of his 40 in the first half in a loss… sometimes it’s not what you score, it’s when you score it.

Full NBA Scoreboard

5:  You can quote me on that

“I love playing here, man. The crowd really loves basketball. They know basketball. And I just love the energy here. Where they love their team. They talk about you and all that. I love it. I love playing here.”
     – Derrick Rose on playing at Madison Square Garden 

“As of right now I don’t plan on being in it.  Those dunk contests aren’t my thing, I said that last year. There’s a lot of guys that can put on a great show and do some good stuff.”
     – Blake Griffin on not participating in the dunk contest this year

“I honestly think I’d call their bluff.  I really would, because I don’t think any agent or player is going to leave $30 million on the table.  I just don’t believe that’s going to happen.”
     – Jerry West on how teams should handle star players making trade demands