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From coaching staff to front office to on the court, Denver Nuggets have deep ties to Baltimore

 
Pro basketball fans in Baltimore might feel a bit removed from the NBA playoffs, which began over the weekend.

The team that used to represent the city, the Bullets, moved away 35 years ago. The team they became in Washington, eventually renamed the Wizards, won just 32 games this season, out of playoff contention early.

Yet there is a team — albeit one located more than 1,600 miles away — that has more than a few ties to Baltimore.

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And after Saturday night’s 101-96 defeat cheap nba jerseys from china
at home to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of their first-round series, the Denver Nuggets might need all the fans they can muster. Game 2 is Tuesday night in Denver.

“I have people always tell me that they’re rooting for us just because of the Baltimore ties we have,” Will Barton said last week. “I feel that the more success we have, the more fans we will have back home.”
Along with Barton, the former Lake Clifton star who’s now in his fourth year in Denver after spending his first four NBA seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, Baltimore’s connection to the Nuggets can be found in their front office and coaching staff.

Tim Connelly, in his sixth year as the team’s general manager and vice president for basketball operations, was a 1994 graduate of Towson Catholic High.

Michael Malone, in his fourth season as Denver’s coach, played four years at Loyola Maryland (1989 to 1993) and began his coaching career at the Friends School.

And Wes Unseld Jr., a member of Malone’s coaching staff since 2015-16 and his top assistant the past two seasons, played at Johns Hopkins after growing up around his Hall of Fame father’s adopted hometown.

All have played a major role in Denver’s steady rise from a Western Conference bottom feeder into the No. 2 seed in the West. This marks the team’s first playoff appearance since 2013.

After narrowly missing the playoffs the past two years — including losing in overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves last season — the Nuggets finished 54-28.

 

Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac part of 2017 NBA draft class that faced injuries, other challenges

After acquiring Markelle Fultz in last week’s trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Orlando Magic now have two of the top six players taken in the 2017 NBA draft.

Fultz was chosen No. 1 overall by the 76ers, while Jonathan Isaac was taken sixth by the Magic.

While Fultz’s young career has to this point been slowed by injuries, Isaac is developing into the player the Magic front office envisioned when he was drafted.

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But what about the other players selected in the first round of that draft?

In what was the youngest draft in league history at the time, the first seven picks, and 10 of the first 11, were college freshmen. A few already have established themselves as future stars, a handful are significant contributors for their teams, some continue to seek consistency and others have bounced back and forth from the NBA to the G League.

Here is a closer look at the first-round picks cheap nba jerseys
in the 2017 draft, listed in the order in which they were selected. An asterisk indicates the player came to his current team via a trade, and the original drafting team is listed in parentheses:

1. Markelle Fultz, G, Magic (76ers)* – A shoulder injury, eventually was diagnosed in December 2018 as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, slowed Fultz’s progress in Philly, where he appeared in just 33 games and rarely got to showcase the skills that made him the top pick. The Magic, meanwhile, see Fultz as the archetype NBA point guard: strong, explosive and versatile with great court vision and high-level playmaking ability.

2. Lonzo Ball, G, Lakers – The second-year point guard out of UCLA began to show more of his playmaking skills this season before sustaining an ankle injury Jan. 21 that has kept him out of action since. Ball’s perimeter shooting has improved from last year, although his overall numbers across the board are down slightly.

3. Jayson Tatum, F, Celtics – Tatum has turned into arguably the marquee player of this draft class. He’s shooting 45.3 percent from the field this season, including 37.6 from 3-point range. In addition to his scoring (16.4 ppg from 13.9 ppg), Tatum’s rebounding and assist numbers also are up from last season and he continues to defend well.

Reacciones tras la canasta galáctica con la que Lillard echó a los Thunder

Después que Damian Lillard acertó el triple que sentenció el partido y catapultó a los Trail Blazers a la siguiente ronda de los playoffs, el astro de Portland saludó a la banca del Thunder .

“Esa fue la última palabra”, dijo Lillard.

El base encestó en el último segundo desde 37 pies y terminó con 50 puntos, su mejor marca en playoffs, para ayudar a los Trail Blazers a eliminar a Oklahoma City de los playoffs en cinco partidos, con una victoria el martes por 118-115.

Con el marcador empatado, Lillard hizo un amago cerca del logo de los Blazers en la cancha antes de saltar y hacer la canasta de la victoria.

Lillard saludó a la banca del Thunder tras encestar y después fue rodeado por sus compañeros. Mientras el Thunder se retiraba, el astro local daba vueltas por la cancha chocando la mano a los aficionados.

Encestó 10 triples, batiendo el récord de la franquicia.

“Todas las cosas que hicimos para darnos la oportunidad de ganar fueron enormes”, comentó Lillard. “Y mi aporte, yo creo, ha sido quizás mi actuación más importante”.

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Portland avanzó a las semifinales de la Conferencia Oeste para Wholesale nba jerseys
enfrentarse al ganador de la serie entre los Nuggets y San Antonio. Denver ganó 108-90 esa noche para ponerse 3-2 arriba en esa serie.

Fue la 12ma derrota seguida del Thunder como visitante en playoffs. Se han quedado fuera en primera ronda de la postemporada durante tres temporadas seguidas.

Russell Westbrook terminó con 29 puntos, 11 rebotes y 14 asistencias para firmar el 10mo triple doble de su carrera en playoffs. Paul George añadió 36 puntos.

“Muy, muy decepcionante, así de sencillo”, comentó George. “Se nos escapó este partido, pero es lo que hay”.

El Thunder llegó al último cuarto ganando 90-88. Westbrook encestó un triple para aumentar la ventaja mientras Lillard se tomaba un descanso en la banca.

Cuando quedaban 7:45, Dennis Schroder puso el 105-90 mientras Portland trataba de responder.

Un triple de Lillard acercó a los Blazers 108-103, pero Westbrook respondió con su propio tiro de tres. CJ McCollum recortó la diferencia a 113-109 y después Maurice Harkless les puso a dos puntos tras encestar dos tiros libres.

McCollum igualó el marcador cuando solo quedaba un minuto, pero George anotó en el otro extremo de la cancha. Una bandeja de Lillard restauró el empate antes de que encestara su espectacular triple.

“No me importa lo que la gente diga ese fue un mal tiro”, señaló George sobre el triple de Lillard. “Pero lo metió y quedará grabado en la historia, pero fue un mal tiro. Hay que aceptarlo”.

To Learn to Win, the Denver Nuggets Had to Lose (Badly)

DENVER — The Denver Nuggets’ worst loss of the season was less than 48 hours old when Tim Connelly, the team’s president of basketball operations, found himself courtside before a game against the Chicago Bulls assessing some lessons of the defeat.

“A loss is never a positive,” Connelly said, “but we have to be realistic about where we stand. We’ve done nothing, and that team has done everything several times over.”

He was referring to the Golden State Warriors, a superstar collective cheap nba jerseys from china
that has demolished its share of opponents in recent years. But what the Warriors did to the Nuggets one night last week was particularly gruesome, in part because Denver had entered the game with a slim lead over Golden State in the N.B.A.’s Western Conference standings.

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But then, on Jan. 15, in front of a briefly enthusiastic crowd here, the Warriors scored 51 points in the first quarter and sailed to a 142-111 victory that sent a message to everyone on the opposing bench, inside the building and across the league: We are not going anywhere.
It was, for one night at least, illustrative of the gulf that still exists between the Warriors and the rest of the N.B.A. While Golden State’s dominance had led many to despair, the Nuggets entered the game ahead in the standings and hopeful that they were bridging the gap. They came out of it understanding that there is still work to be done.

“We got a little comfortable,” Nuggets forward Paul Millsap said. “It was a humbling experience for us.”

Nets Beat Nuggets on Last-Second Shot

Caris LeVert hit a jumper in the lane with less than a second left, and the Nets rallied to beat the host Denver Nuggets, 112-110, on Friday night.

Left with 0.3 seconds, the Nuggets got a 3-point attempt at the buzzer from Malik Beasley, but it missed.

LeVert finished with 17 points, D’Angelo Russell had 23 and Jarrett Allen scored 18 for the Nets, who have won three in a row and four of five.

Nikola Jokic broke out of a funk to score a season-high 37 and tied a career high with 21 rebounds, but Denver lost its first home game of the season after winning the first six.
LeVert got the chance to win it when Jokic traveled with 22.1 seconds left. LeVert fought off tight defense by Gary Harris, got into the lane and hit a floater to win it.

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The Nets scored the last 6 points of the game and got back to .500 at 6-6.

It was tied at 106-106 when Jokic blocked Allen’s shot, grabbed the rebound and then brought to ball up the floor. He fed Beasley with a look-away pass, and Beasley cheap nhl jerseys china
laid it in to make it 108-106 with 1 minute 23 seconds left.
After Allen missed a short hook, Paul Millsap dunked to give Denver a 4-point lead, its biggest of the night. The Nets tied it again at 110-110 on Allen’s dunk with 29 seconds left.

Jokic, who entered averaging just 4.2 shots per game since the start of November, was aggressive from the start. He hit all five of his field goals in the first quarter and had a double-double by halftime with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

His 12 shot attempts in the first half nearly matched his total for the previous three games (13).

Denver trailed by as much as 14 but got back into the game with an 8-0 run early in the third quarter. Murray hit two free throws with 5:15 left in the period to tie the game for the first time and Jokic’s tip with 3:34 left gave the Nuggets their first lead at 68-67.

How the Nuggets discovered Nikola Jokic and turned Denver into the NBA’s fastest-growing market

The decision-makers inside the Denver Nuggets’ front office used to play a parlor game concerning franchise pillar Nikola Jokic.
Had the Nuggets not chosen Jokic with the No. 41 selection in the 2014 draft, a prescient pick that laid the foundation for this season’s surprising success, how high, they wondered, would he have gone a year later after a breakthrough season overseas?

By then, the rest of the NBA would have discovered cheap nba jerseys
what the Nuggets already knew: That Jokic, though he does not look the part, has a preternatural gift for the game. No one could have predicted that Jokic, the team’s first all-star in eight years, would spawn a hoops renaissance in Denver.

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The Nuggets are the hottest sports ticket in town, with 18 sellouts this season, four more than all of last season. The raucous environment has made Denver devastating at Pepsi Center; the Nuggets’ 23-4 home record is tied for the best in the NBA. And TV viewership on Altitude has soared by 93 percent, according to data provided by the NBA, the top growth for any market.

“You can feel it and hear it, man,” veteran forward Paul Millsap said of the budding excitement at Pepsi Center. “It’s a big difference. The spirit of basketball in this town has really evolved. It’s up to us to get out there and keep performing for them.”
Come April, the Nuggets, currently second in the Western Conference, will return to the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season. They’ve been building toward this moment for years.

The root of the team’s revival can be traced to April 2014, when the Nuggets tracked Jokic, a 7-foot center from Serbia, at the Nike Hoops Summit in Portland. The annual showcase of prospects routinely brings out dozens of NBA power brokers, and it was there, inside the Trail Blazers’ practice facility, that Jokic proved he could compete against NBA-caliber talent.

While most team executives saw Jokic as a lanky, unsculpted big man and were put off by his lack of classic athleticism, the Nuggets looked beyond aesthetics. They saw a crafty scorer with a shooter’s touch, a center who could handle the ball like a guard.

Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray rank a cut above, thanks to this barber

The Western Conference standings are Mike Malone’s masterpiece. That slash dangling above Jamal Murray’s eagle eyes? Classic Sway. Peak Sway.

“If there’s something he wants for a cut or to have it trimmed a little, for the most part, it’s been all the same,” Josue “Sway” Navarro explains from the bowels of the Bellwether, the coffee shop/barbershop/hipster-bar that’s served as his personal Batcave for almost four years. Or, rather, cutting. “I think, for example, the latest one he added was the slash on the eyebrows. He’s always had the two slashes on the back.”

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Sway is one of only a handful of locals with the green light to see Murray, so to speak, with his hair down. Navarro has been cutting the Nuggets’ star guard since he joined the franchise three years ago, topping a client A-list that also includes teammates such as Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris, Torrey Craig, Trey Lyles, and Will Barton.

“He’s just the best, and he knows how to get you right,” Barton says of Navarro. “It’s real important, especially for a guy like me. I take a lot of honor in my swag, my drip. With my haircut, my clothes, cheap nba jerseys  my shoes, everything’s got to be on-point, because when I walk into the arena, for me to play good, I’ve got to feel good. And in order for me to feel good, I’ve got to make sure I’ve got a good haircut, a good line. I mean, everybody’s watching.”
The Bellwether, to flip a hair cliché on its head, is a party in the front, business in the back. The East Colfax café is lined with funky java, fine whiskeys, and hip little surprises: When you ask if Sway is in the house, the server tending a long, diner-style bar sashays all the way to the end of it and pushes against what you thought, at first, was a painting. Only it spins, the way an old bookcase does in a haunted house, to reveal a gap through which she can check out which barbers are chilling in the other half of the building.

“He’s here, he’s finishing up,” she says, spinning the gap back into a painting again. “Third door on the right.”

Recap: Denver Nuggets take care of business, blow out Cleveland Cavaliers 124-102

The Denver Nuggets look to be fully past the big loss to the Golden State Warriors earlier in the week. After blowing out the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, Denver followed it up with a 124-102 thrashing of the Cleveland Cavaliers to close out their four game homestand 3-1. Nikola Jokic needed just three quarters to get a triple double and Jamal Murray once again was red hot from the floor. Cleveland got solid performances from Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic but the Nuggets were too much to handle and win this one going away.

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The Nuggets opened the game by letting the Cavs get some decent looks and fast break points but they hung with Cleveland. The Nuggets were giving up too many turnovers and too many easy baskets near the rim. On the positive side Malik Beasley was hitting his threes but Osman was scoring for Cleveland. Denver’s defense wasn’t offering much resistance to dribble penetration so the Cavs continued to get inside for points. Wholesale jerseys
Jokic responded with a pair of threes and with five minutes to go the game was tied at twenty. Cleveland struggled with Joker’s size and coach Malone doubled down by inserting Mason Plumlee to go with the twin tower line up. Behind Jokic the Nuggets built a lead as the quarter was winding down. He buried another three with 28 seconds left to put Denver up 37-25.

The Nuggets opened the second quarter with a full bench* unit (*Will Barton and Gary Harris both came off the bench) and got a 6-0 run out of the gate, mainly from Trey Lyles. The Cavaliers regrouped after a timeout to bounce back briefly through Jordan Clarkson but the Nuggets had an answer, this time from Monte Morris. At the halfway point of the quarter Malone brought back in the starters and they immediately went on a 5-0 mini run to push the Nuggets lead to twenty-five. The Cavs came back with their starters and got a nice drive from Osman but he could not convert the and one opportunity. The Nuggets were clearly the more talented team and it was showing. Osman and Sexton put together a few nice plays for Cleveland to stop the bleeding but Denver didn’t let the Cavs get any closer with a 70-46 lead at the half.

Sexton and Zizic opened the second half with energy to trim the lead a touch but Jokic continued to assert himself on offense which kept the lead above twenty. Murray, who was quietly having a very nice game, started to heat up with seven straight points for Denver. Cleveland took a timeout but Murray immediately hit a pull up three out of the TO and then followed that up with a nice kick out to Craig who buried a corner three. With a little over three minutes to go in the quarter Jokic secured his tenth rebound which marked his sixth triple double of the season. At about the two minute mark coach went to the bench and you had to wonder if that was a wrap for the starters on the night. The Nuggets went to Plumlee down low, continuing their night long assault on the paint but Cleveland’s bench was able to find some life and trim the lead. Morris knocked down a three just before the end of the quarter to put Denver back up by twenty-five going into the final period.

Inside Nick Young’s journey from the couch to the Nuggets

Rather than duck out of the Nuggets’ locker room and veer left, down a long corridor that leads to the court, Denver’s newest acquisition, Nick Young, was aimlessly wandering toward the floor using the path typically reserved for the visiting team.

Young, 33, had made the short, familiar trek before on numerous visits to the Pepsi Center, most recently with the Warriors and Lakers.

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That scene played out on Monday night prior to the Nuggets’ game against the Grizzlies, the same day the Nuggets signed Young via a hardship injury relief exception. The Nuggets, down three starters, a key reserve and two rookies, qualified for the provision due to a plethora of injuries.

Despite their lack of depth, Young didn’t get off the bench on Monday night as Nuggets coach Michael Malone rode eight guys, nine if you count Tyler Lydon’s two minutes,Wholesale nba jerseys
to a win over Memphis. In the days since, Young has had the benefit of one-on-one sessions with coaches to learn the plays, and it culminated in his rousing debut Friday night against the Thunder.

There was an electric current running through the crowd from the moment Young entered the game in the second quarter. He wasted no time firing a pull-up 3, which he made. He then buried his second attempt on the very next possession. Lest anyone think this was a novelty addition, Young sank a clutch 3-pointer in the fourth quarter that whipped the crowd into a frenzy and drew the entire Nuggets bench off the sidelines.