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Friday, March 28, 2008

An Emotional Return and Torturous Chase

It was an unbelievably emotional day for the Denver Nuggets and their fan-base around the world. During the Nuggets' 118-105 much needed victory over the slipping, Nowitzki-less Mavericks, Nene made his return to the court.

Nene had been out since January 11th with a malignant form of Testicular Cancer. Fortunately for the big Brazilian, the doctors found the cancerous tumor in its early stages and were able to remove it with little chance of the cancer returning and a 100% recovery. It has been just over a month since Nene underwent chemotherapy.

Nene is officially a cancer survivor.

It was a memorable moment for everyone as Nene ripped off his warmups with 77 seconds to go in the game and went in for the rest of the game. Coach George Karl teared up, and as Nene was replacing Kenyon Martin, the stadium erupted in a standing ovation and Martin gave him the world's biggest bear hug.

"He's a teammate, and he's somebody we care about and we want around, but life is so much bigger than basketball," Allen Iverson said. "When it happened to him, it put it more in perspective for me that it's not just about this game, it's about life. It was a good feeling and I was happy to be part of it."

Hopefully this is a start of great things to come for the Nuggets as they work for that final playoff spot in the West (Where the Nuggets would be a 4 or 5 seed easily in the East). The Nuggets are closing in on that preseason goal of 50 wins as they won their last 3. But, unfortunately, if the Golden State Warriors keep winning, the Nuggets have only a chance at becoming the team with the best record ever to not make the playoffs.

The Nuggets and Warriors meet in a HUGE regular season game Saturday night in Denver. Only 1/2 a game separates the Warriors' 8th place that guarantees them the last playoff spot and the Nuggets. If tonight is any indication or preview of what is to expect Saturday, then we will see a strong Denver team that came off an impressive win over Jason Kidd and the Mavs against a Golden State team who had first half trouble against the Portland Trailblazers. 

Who knows if the highly productive offense of the Nuggets is going to be enough for the Beard and the rest of the Warriors.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A.I. Always Welcome In Philly

 It has been over 15 months since the Answer, Allen Iverson, was sent from Philadelphia to Denver; but tonight, AI and the Nuggets returned to Philadelphia to play the 76ers, bringing AI back to Philadelphia for the first time since the trade.

AI spent over 10 seasons with Philly, taking them to an NBA Finals and winning an MVP. He turned a once prestigious organization back into one when they were in a time of suffering. The 76ers were a laughing stock when they drafted AI out of Georgetown with the first pick of the 1996 NBA Draft.

During the introductions, AI was greeted in Philadelphia with a standing ovation and a huge uproar of an applause. Nothing could have been better for a man that has done so much for an organization both on the court and off. This future hall-of-famer is one of the most easily recognizable people of the NBA, noted for his natural appearance and his laid-back, "gangster" attitude. He is always known for his "Practice?!??!" speech and his "ghetto-swag," but he truly is a great NBA basketball player and personality.

Unfortunately for AI and the Nuggets, they left Philadelphia tonight with a loss, certainly not helping their chase for the playoffs. Even though the Nuggets have won 7 more games than the 76ers, the Nuggets would not make the playoffs while the East-lying 76ers would be a 6 seed if the season ended tomorrow.