By Johnny Mann
Tonight was the epitome of destruction as the Denver Nuggets came through to demolish the Sonics on their farewell tour by 42 points. No that’s not a misprint or typo. The Sonics were pounded by 42 points in what has to be one the worst losses in Sonics history. Denver shot a season high 67% from the field and over 50% from beyond the arc. While the percentages speaks volumes, the reality is most of the buckets came off of uncontested dunks, lay-ups and plays in the open court. The Sonics on the other hand just couldn’t get anything going shooting a lowly 36%. You could try and blame the integration of new players from the recent trade but Marshall, Newble and Elson barely got any burn. However, you have to figure some D from Kurt Thomas and an extra scoring punch from Wally were sorely missed. Anyway here are some of the highlights.
The game starts off decent for the Sonics as Kevin Durant drives to the basket and makes a nice pass in the lane to a cutting Johan Petro for a dunk. Petro adds another couple baskets to his team high 16 with a hook over Camby and a short jumper. A.I. starts warming up, first by crossing Durant and then dropping three jumpers in a row to help the Nuggets jump out to an 18-9 lead. Durant spent most of the first quarter forcing jumpers over Anthony Carter. Even though he towered over Carter and could just shoot over him, his shot was often rushed with the defenders’ hands squarely in his face and help D coming from the weak side in the form of Marcus Camby and Kenyon Martin. Melo really couldn’t get anything going, missing a few lay-ups and put backs but actually managed to score 8 of his 16 points in the first quarter. Mickael Gelabale (prounced something like jigglyballs) gets significant burn at the point since Earl Watson is out and Luke Ridnour came up empty. 31-19 Nuggets.
Nick Collison starts off the quarter strong with a dunk, but on the next possession is swatted by Melo, which sparks a fast break ending with A.I. going behind the back to Linas Kleiza for the finish. Wilcox gets a dunk on the Sonics end but nothing slows down the Suns-esque (formerly Suns-esque?) play of the Nuggets as they jet back down the court regardless if the other team scores, negating the effect of the dunk. Melo goes coast to coast and A.I. isolates Collison and toys with him before crossing him up and nailing a jumper. The Sonics keep trying to push the action but can’t get the lead below 14. After a few Kenyon Martin 15 footers, a Linas Kleiza layup, a JR Smith 3 ball and coast to coast lay-up this game basically became an exhibition and passing drill for the Nuggets. The most excitement comes when Melo picks up a tech from the bench for an offensive foul call he didn’t agree with. This didn’t derail the Nuggets momentum though as Smith drilled home a fall back 3 at the buzzer to make it 64-45 at halftime.
3rd and 4th Quarters
It’s just ugly now. Jigglyballs and Jeff Green both hit 3s but they barely make a dent as the Nuggets run the lead back up to 20. Kenyon Martin is playing his best basketball of the season right now, throwing down vicious alley-oops and making his short jumpers at will, shooting 11-14 for 23 points. The Sonics once again close to 15 before the Nuggets go on a run to push the lead over 20. An A.I. showcase ensues with him draining a 3 and dropping a no look to Kleiza.
By the 4th Q, the Nuggets starters are still in the game and shamelessly running up the score and padding their stats knocking down threes and running the floor. I guess this is just how George Karl does things. He won’t call off the hounds. A.I. schools Durant once again with a cross and step back jumper putting the Nuggets up 34 with over 8 minutes to go in the game. At this point P.J. lets Donyell Marshall make his debut in which he immediately throws up an airball and then posts up only to end up sprawled all over the floor after one of the Nuggets bench players pull the chair from under him ala Karl Malone. Turnover. Nice start. The Nuggets bench closes the show running up the score to 42 in a horrible night for the Sonics and their fans. OKC Supersonics?? That just ain’t right.