Mountain (hot) air
"Of course I'm healthy," he said, patting his midsection. "Look at me. I'm fat."
He was also overjoyed that his son,
"Thirty-seven seconds," said Karl, referring to Coby's playing time. "I didn't even know he had been activated."
Karl was even happier after the game, a 120-103 victory over the rebuilding Sonics that, according to the excessively optimistic
To be blunt, I'm not sure I agree.
The optimism about the Nugs is based on several factors, two in particular: the continued maturation of Anthony, who by the end of last summer had changed the minds of almost everyone associated with USA Basketball who had doubted his commitment, game and maturity; and the return of power forward
In my view, though, the question marks outweigh the optimistic exclamation points for this team, which finished 45-37 last year. Here are a few:
• For all the growth in Anthony's game, the concomitant decline of
• Then, too, the chemistry between Iverson and Anthony has yet to be worked out. That doesn't mean they don't like or respect each other. I think they do. But Iverson has spent 11 seasons as the alpha dog, and it's going to be difficult to yield that role to Anthony, which he should do. That observation is not based solely on Wednesday night when Iverson got 25 points on 22 shots and 'Melo scored a seemingly effortless 32 on just 21. It's just a fact.
• The Nuggets' point-guard position remains unresolved. Iverson played virtually all of his 36 minutes there against the Sonics, but he is most effective when he's taken off the ball at regular intervals. That's going to be difficult with
• Power forward is another problematic position, with Martin and
• Finally, the Nuggets have said all the right things about becoming a defensive-oriented team, but saying it and becoming it are two different things. Exhibit A: Seattle, a team struggling to find its offensive identity, put up 31 points against the Nugs in the first quarter. "There were some times, in spurts, we showed we could be a great defensive team," Anthony said, "especially toward the end of the third quarter and in the fourth quarter. Everybody got on the same page and buckled down." Some earlier and more consistent buckling will be needed against the West's elite, of which the Sonics are clearly not one.
Still, this is a deep team -- significant contributions were offered Wednesday by reserve forwards