Sliding into the DMs gets such a bad rap. I’ve done it many times. For instance, when I needed assistance in doing projections for fantasy basketball, I slid into the DMs of a bunch of fantasy hoops analysts. Geez, I’m such a nerd. I’ve never slid into the DMs for sexy time, though, although I’ve heard that it happens. I’d imagine it gets steamy in there but you have to be careful as I’ve seen many women keep receipts and plaster them all over the internet. If I slide into a steamy DM, my wife would have nothing to worry about because it would be just me slobbering away at the performance of a fantasy baller. On Sunday, I was all about sliding into the DMs of Donovan Mitchell. But then I thought better of it because, while I’m a nerd, I’m a respectfully tasteful nerd.

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This summer I was looking over a sheet of future odds in a sportsbook with a wad of dollars that I previously did not have, when I noticed that the Denver Nuggets had the fifth-best odds of winning the west. Future bets are tough, especially in the west (especially in this current version of the west, too), but after considering the return of Jamal Murray, the potential of Michael Porter Jr., and the metronomic brilliance of the reigning, two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, I found myself at the window with a belief that this was an opportunity to turn money won into more money. Persistent injuries since the Aaron Gordon deal have hobbled the mile-high hopes for the Nuggets, but it’s not all that difficult to see a world where Denver is an especially tough out in the postseason. Having a two-time MVP puts you at an advantage like that. 

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The Denver Nuggets defeated the Brooklyn Nets 124-104, behind a well-balanced scoring attack and more Nikola Jokic brilliance. Seven Nuggets’ players scored in double figures, led by the Joker, who finished the game with 27 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals, and one block. It was Jokic’s 14th triple-double of the season and the 71st of his career. Will Barton added 21 points, six rebounds, four assists, and one block. Aaron Gordon tallied 17 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, and one steal. Monte Morris chipped in with 12 points, five rebounds, and eight assists and Jeff Green finished the game with 12 points, five rebounds, one assist, and one steal. Bryn Forbes (11) and Zeke Nnaji (10) also scored in double figures. Forbes (25), Nnaji (20), Bones Hyland (17), and DeMarcus Cousins (16) played the most minutes off the bench.

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The Miami Heat took home the nervy, 113-107 victory, but the Lakers nearly caught them slipping. In a game the Heat led almost the entire way and by as many as 26 points, the Lakers put together a fierce fourth quarter and nearly stole the victory. For three quarters, however, the Heat played the basketball version of “the beautiful game.” Offensive production was spread across the lineup and they were flowing into good looks. Jimmy Butler led the charge in Kyle Lowry’s absence (personal reasons) and he finished the game with a triple-double: 20 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, two steals, and one block. Butler’s 10th triple-double moved him into the first place on the Heat’s all-time list, surpassing LeBron James. Duncan Robinson was hot early and even scored some important points in the fourth quarter; he finished the game with 25 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Bam Adebayo had a decent, but uneven game. He was stifled a fair amount by LeBron’s defense, as he was LeBron’s primary cover when the Lakers went small. Adebayo finished the game with 14 points, eight rebounds, five assists, one steal, and one block. Gabe Vincent filled in admirably, once again, for Lowry and finished the game with 11 points, one rebound, six assists, and two steals. Caleb Martin also notched eleven points and further cemented his “best two-way player in the league status”—a dubious honor, he’d no doubt like to be rid of as soon as possible.

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When I first moved out to the East Coast, the changing of the seasons was kind of cool because I had never experienced it before. After a year, F that. NAW mean? The summers are so freaking humid. The winters are cold and nasty. Fall is kind of cool with the leaves and all but it’s chilly as well. Spring time is when people are most jovial because they’ve been cooped up all winter but it’s also the nicest weather. NAW mean? So, why not be in a place that is spring all the time? If you want to frolic in the snow, then drive a few hours to the nearest mountain. NAW mean? Anyways, sorry for the rant but Nickeil Alexander-Walker got me all amped up from his performance last night.

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After some significant in-season shuffling, the Nuggets came into this offseason having more or less locked themselves into a core of Murray/Joker/AG and then threw Michael Porter Jr. into the nucleus as well with a five-year, $172M max deal. As such, they didn’t have much of a hand to play in this summer’s free agency and the roster changes here are minimal. Jeff Green inked a two-year deal worth $9M and is tasked with picking up the big man minutes left behind by Paul Millsap, now in Brooklyn, and three-time NBA Champion JaVale McGee, who is wearing a shirt that says ‘Phoenix’ on it this year. Nah’shon “Bones” Hyland was Denver’s selection at pick 26 in this summer’s draft, and he showed out in their first preseason game. As long as Jamal Murray is on the shelf, there is definitely a need for good guard play, cracking open the door for Bones.  

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Life is what we make of it. We have to get off our asses and do work. We have to squash the internal hater and give him no light of day. But sometimes the Universe just gives. Back in 2000, I was given seats to the Lakers/Trail Blazers Western Conference Final game from work. I was sitting mid-level right behind the upper right corner of the backboard where Shaq grabbed that alley-oop pass from Kobe. What an amazing game and experience. Thank you, Universe. Last night, we were blessed with another such performance as the Universe took us to Jarrett, as in it was Jarrett Allen night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
26 17 2 0 3 3 0 11/11 4/7

In 42 minutes! Andre Drummond who? The loss of the unprotected first in 2022 hurts, but Allen is only 22 years old and looks to be a centerpiece for the franchise. Man, Brooklyn sure could use him, but they got freaking James Harden. And herein lies the lesson for today. When trading in your fantasy leagues, in order to get you must give. Same concept my wife and I adhere to. Sure we all would love to get something for nothing but that’s not how shit works. Make mutually beneficial deals. Alright, sorry for veering off-topic. Back to Allen. Over the last four games, he’s been a top 40 player and could finish inside the top 25 because he’s going to score points, grab boards, get his Mutombo on, dish out a few dimes, and has very good percentages (67% from the field and 73% from the line).

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Is Mason Plumlee the Great White Hope? This is the second consecutive time I’ve written him up for the lede to this internationally renowned fantasy basketball blog, and y’all know how precious this real estate is. Not good enough? How about the fact that not since B-Rabbit has a white guy gotten the folks in Detroit to get up off their seats, bob their heads up and down, and raise their hands to the sky? Still not feeling it? Then how about this?

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Comparing the Denver roster from last season with their current roster leaves a lot to be desired from a team that competed in the Western Conference Finals a season ago. On paper, the Nuggets lost their best defensive player in Jerami Grant and their backup center in Mason Plumlee. The hope is that what we saw from Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. in the Bubble were for real.

Before the Bubble, Murray averaged 18 points a game and exploded for 26.5 over 19 playoff games in the Bubble. During the playoffs, Murray shot 45% from deep, but that hot shooting won’t hold up for the career 35% three-point shooter. What could hold up is the shot selection. Murray shot more pull up three-point shots in the playoffs and was hunting for those looks inn the pick and roll. Denver also believes the guard is going to step up his defense this year. Michael Porter Jr. showed flashes of brilliance in the Bubble over the summer with his increased role.

Overall I think we see more of the same from the Nuggets this season, one of the better regular-season teams in the West, but I am not sure they got enough better to make it to the finals.

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