If I had an intern and an intricate stats database, I could tell you what the win-loss record is for teams who play in Denver when they played another game the day before. Sadly, I don’t have those resources at my disposal so I’m just going to have to assume that there is a distinct disadvantage to playing in Denver’s rarified altitude on the second of back-to-back games. That would help explain the total domination of the Nuggets over the Raptors on Monday night.

The Nuggets made it look easy, like they were a pro team playing a college squad. The Raptors looked tired, unmotivated and demoralized — and considering how this season has gone, can you blame them? Denver dominated in every meaningful statistical category: rebounds, points in the paint, free throw attempts, field goal percentage, fast break points… I could go on, but you get the point.

I found my mind wandering as this game got out of hand early on. I ended up fixating on the Nuggets’ General Manager, Masai Ujiri. While Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment waffles about whether they should extend Bryan Colangelo, Ujiri currently looks like a rock star in Denver due to his patience and savvy with the Carmelo Anthony dilemma. The contrast between how Ujiri handled the Carmelo standoff with how Colangelo managed the Chris Bosh situation is striking, and it’s worth bringing up because Ujiri was an assistant GM to Colangelo before the Nuggets poached him last year.

Thanks to the brilliantly inspired trade Ujiri made with the Knicks, the Nuggets have emerged from the Carmelo trade with loads of young prospects and draft picks while they’re already arguably a top-10 NBA team. They showcased their talent Monday night and I expect Ujiri will find a way to re-sign Nene this off-season as one of the keys to their future plans. He doesn’t get a lot of hype but Nene is a lot better than anyone on the Raptors’ roster and he made that abundantly clear in his 24 minutes of play.

There are 12 games left in the Raptors’ season before we can start enjoying playoff basketball without burdening ourselves with the angst of watching games like this. Hold on tightly to that thought like the life of your NBA fandom depends on it

Raptors player of the game: N/A

Nuggets player of the game: Ty Lawson — 23 Pts, 7-10 FG 2-3 3Pt, 7-7 FT, 4 Reb, 8 Ast

Goat of the game: Leandro Barbosa — 17 Min, 5 Pts, 2-11 FG, 0-4 3Pt, 1-1 FT, 1 Reb, Minus-28

Comments (9)

  1. Scott,
    you can’t be such a jerk comparing things on the Bosh and/or Carmelo issues!
    You can’t be serios stating that Masai Ujiri is a better GM than anyone, right, or that he is a GM at all?! The guy is a joke. Or a puppet, if you prefere.
    Please, don’t expose yourself so badly. You look stupid, this way. And you know how and why.

  2. Great point re: Bosh… Ujiri made off like a bandit, but I can’t help wonder if a Bosh move (and his refusal to state his intentions) wasn’t made mostly because nobody really coveted Bosh the way NYC did Carmelo.

  3. Denver was handed a gift when Carmelo insisted on being traded. Like the previous post stated, I don’t think other GMs were that interested in Bosh (not as a rental anyway). Let’s wait a year before we anoint Ujiri the greatest GM that ever walked the planet earth. They didn’t get a franchise player in the deal. They could easily be out of the playoffs next year. There are some good young teams out west that will be looking the take the next step (Clippers, Warriors). And they have franchise players.

  4. I agree with all the comments here, you cannot really compare both situations. On one hand you have Carmelo and on the other you have Bosh, one is viewed (although I don’t really agree) as a borderline superstar, while the other everyone knows is just an all-star. Also, I think it was a lot more clear that Carmelo wanted to leave and didn’t really have an intention of re-sigining then Bosh who made it look like he justtt mighttt re-sign.

    I don’t really like BC and his moves and I give Ujiri credit for his patience and the trade but you still have to look at the situations in their own context.

  5. It’s easy to analyze a situation one year later and determine what would have been the best move. Let’s remember that a year ago-ish, the Raptors were fighting for 4th place and to trade Bosh at that time would have been GM-Toronto-Suicide.

    We didnt know Bosh would make a pact with his buddies and shut it down….and bring the rest of the team with him.

    Ujiri did great on the trade due to the fact that his hands were tied and he was dealing with one team. Give credit where it is due.

  6. actually you wouldn’t need an intern if you’d watched the game. they mentioned the back-to-back records a few times. 9 – 0 this season.

  7. cb: Thanks for that info. I don’t pay particular attention to what the commentators say during the game. Of course, you’re also accusing me of not actually watching the game. I guess the fact that I had this recap up right after the game was over was simply a coincidence. I suppose you think I was playing Angry Birds on my iPad and just keeping the boxscore updated on my laptop on the side. Whatever, dude.

  8. always more comments after a blowout.

  9. Who’s keeping track? Is Barbosa in the lead for GOATs of the game this season?

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