Post Up: Melo’s Mission

by October 30, 2009

by Holly MacKenzie/@stackmack

Through two games Carmelo Anthony has scored 71 points. In the Charlotte Bobcats opener they managed 59. Yeah.

Thanks to Melo’s 41-point performance against the Blazers last night, the Nuggets won their second game in as many nights, claiming the 97-94 victory.

It’s early, but I feel like it’s already safe to say that Melo is on a mission. I’m thinking his mantra is “Only God Can Guard Me.” He looks damn near unstoppable on the offensive end of the floor out there, but even more impressive than his points is the focus he is wearing on his face. It’s exciting. I felt like we watched him grow up in front of our eyes during the postseason last year, but this just shows us it’s going to be an exciting year in Denver.

While Brandon Roy was solid with 30, 5 and 5, the Blazers shot just 34-percent from the floor while giving up 46-percent shooting to the Nuggets. Melo got to the line 19 times, making 18 and I don’t see him getting there less than 9-10 times a night if he continues to wear that game face and attack the hoop. If you’re guarding him and he wants to get to the rim, it’s going to be a long night.

Speaking of long nights, how do you think Greg Oden feels? Stepping to the line with his team trailing by one, 4.6 seconds on the clock and he bricks two free throws. I thought for sure he had the second one. I think it was wishful thinking as I was rooting for an overtime session.

Rudy Fernandez had 22 points off of the bench for the Blazers and he made me want to run out and immediately grab him for my fantasy team. I had a little add/drop mania last night, picking up Jason Thompson, dropping Jamal Crawford –I’ve got about five point guards without him, really–, impulsively grabbing Marreese Speights and letting Thad Young go, I was all over the place.

For me, it’s so damn hard to separate heart from mind when it comes to these things. This is how I wind up with Rondo, Rose, Ray Allen, Allen I. and Jason Terry all on one squad. Just love quick, little, scoring guards.

And this is why I love watching the Bulls. Derrick Rose is special, isn’t he? I wasn’t sure how he’d look after missing time during the preseason with that sore ankle, but he looked lovely last night, driving, dishing, draining jumpers and scoring on impossibly tough lay ins. He looked like Derrick Rose. So very happy to see that. Especially when he’s spinning and crossing people over with the quickness that makes you wonder how he possibly could have been nursing a sore ankle. Think about the combination of athleticism, control and then the ability to stop on a dime. Jeez, I cannot believe he’s only in his second season. We’re lucky to be able to watch this career unfold in front of us. I’m glad Chicago’s got him.

Now, if I’m going to talk about Rose, we’ve also got to mention Tim Duncan. At Raptors practice yesterday, Andrea Bargnani was asked about post players he admires and of course, Duncan was the first name to escape his lips. So efficient. So reliable. TD finished with 28/16/2/2/3 in 34 minutes of burn. He was fantastic but the youth and exuberance of the Bulls wore down the Spurs.

While Chicago’s energy rose as the game wore on and they were able to settle into a rhythm while maintaining the pace, the Spurs faded down the stretch, settling for three-pointers that clanged all over the place (4-of-21 from beyond the arc), and turning the ball over as they continue to adjust to Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess on the court.

Thought it was interesting that Tony Parker didn’t score in the second half. Didn’t expect that.

Besides Rose, it was fantastic to see Luol Deng balling and looking happy and healthy while doing so. Draining jumpers, being active on both ends of the court, he looked like a guy who is relieved to be out there. Joakim Noah is the guy who can make you crazy, but last night he was all over the court, blocking shots, getting offensive rebounds and creating for his teammates. Noah finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots in 26 minutes of action.

One of the biggest keys of the game was rebounding. The Bulls outrebounded San Antonio 52-44, while owning a 15-8 advantage on the offensive glass.

Now, Kevin McHale sitting with Kenny, Charles and Ernie. Thoughts? I honestly felt like I was watching a group of kids sitting through a dinner with their principal. Everyone was on their best behavior. With time, I’m sure the crew will get comfortable with one another and we’ll see some Barkley craziness with Kenny trying to make sense of the madness, but it was a little too subdued for my liking last night.

Looking forward to tonight. It’s time to step my NBA-watching game up. I missed most of the action Wednesday night so I’m really anxious to get my league pass working for me this evening. Queen of the channel surf when it comes to LP. Nothing sweeter.

Oh, Brandon Jennings having a fantastic debut woudl make my night sweeter. Yes. Have a great weekend, everyone!