Deron & Boozer beat the Nuggets; NBA tells players to sit down

By: 10.02.09

Deron Williams

Thanks to some sloppy play by the Nuggets and that same ol’ sharp execution by the Jazz, there wasn’t much excitement left by the end of last night’s NBA preseason opener. Deron Williams (16 pts, 6 asts) and C.J. Miles (16 pts, 3 stls) led Utah as they teased a 20-piecing before halftime, allowed Denver to cut it to single-digits by the break, but pulled away in the second half to win 103-87. Carmelo (13 pts, 4-11 FG) and James White (13 pts) led the Nuggets, who had 27 turnovers as a team … Carlos Boozer started at PF and finished with seven points and seven boards in 20 minutes, while Paul Millsap came off the bench for seven points and three rebounds in 18 minutes. Boozer somehow didn’t get resoundingly booed by the home fans, but he didn’t exactly get a hero’s welcome, either. After Millsap was re-signed over the summer it seemed inevitable that Booz would be traded, but now that everyone is on the court, we can see this working out. Do you think Boozer will spend this whole season with the Jazz? … Arron Afflalo started at SG in place of J.R. Smith, and Birdman Andersen started in place of Kenyon Martin, who has a quad injury … The battle of the rookie backup PG’s didn’t really pan out. Eric Maynor posted four points and two steals in 12 minutes, while Ty Lawson had four points and one assist in 11 minutes … Two of the surprisingly effective guys? Johan Petro (11 pts, 9 rebs, 3 blks) and Renaldo Balkman (10 pts, 11 rebs). That would be huge for Denver if those two can do something this season besides take up space. Behind Nene, K-Mart and Birdman they’re hurting in terms of frontcourt depth … Dontaye Draper is back in Nuggets camp again, fighting for a roster spot he likely won’t get. Draper has been one of the shining examples of summer-league nepotism over the last couple years, always getting a look with the Nuggets when he just happens to be one of Carmelo’s boys from back home … The replacement refs weren’t much of an issue. Jerry Sloan started to go off on them at one point, but it was nothing he wouldn’t do to a full-time union ref. But what’s up with the NBA warning teams not to publicly criticize the replacement refs, when the whole reason they even have replacements is because the League can’t come to an agreement with the union guys? … You want more habitual line-stepping from the NBA? The League also informed teams that they’ll start issuing fines this season for players who stand up in front of the bench — because they’re blocking the view of fans sitting in those pricey front-row seats. No lie, the official memo actually said players were allowed to stand up to “spontaneously react to a notable play,” but then “immediately” had to sit back down. Really? So now we’re regulating when grown men can stand up and sit down? Are dudes like Kenny Thomas and Marcus Banks just supposed to sit there for two hours and get their legs all stiff? And how will Jerome James get any exercise? … One of the teams known for their spontaneous (perhaps excessive) standing is the Cavs, who could now be subject to quite a few fines. But they did get Delonte West back at camp yesterday, so that’s good … According to Rudy Fernandez, the Blazers plan to get him more involved and active in the offense this year. “(Nate McMillan) hasn’t said anything to me, but the plays, I can see it. I receive the ball more than I did last year,” Rudy said after practice. Rudy still primarily plays SG and/or SF on the second unit, but he’s been initiating the offense and has more opportunities to create plays. For such a good athlete and finisher at the rim, Rudy was standing around and spotting up a lot in his rookie year. Sixty-three percent of his FG attempts were treys, the third-highest number in the League behind Steve Novak and Shane Battier … While Phil Jackson and Larry Brown are holding it down with their blatantly insulting comments about players as training camp gets underway, Mike D’Antoni lobbed an unintentional stinger at Darko yesterday. “We think we’ve got him at a good spot,” Coach D said. “We think that he’s intriguing at least.” Six years after he got damn near as much pre-draft hype as LeBron and ‘Melo, now Darko is just “intriguing at least”? That’s a blunt reminder that he’s accomplished approximately jack-shit in the League … More weight loss/gain updates: Dirk Nowitzki dropped 12 pounds in the offseason, and Marc Gasol lost around 25-30 pounds. For Gasol, less weight could mean baggier shorts, which means maybe he won’t have to spend so much time at the free throw line adjusting his junk. It got so bad last year that we wondered if the Grizzlies broadcast production meetings actually included “Gasol fondling himself” as an issue to be addressed on the agenda … And that brings us to Thursday’s “PAUSE” of the day, courtesy Kevin Garnett. Complimenting Rajon Rondo on his summer workouts — Rondo gained 10-11 pounds of muscle — KG said, “Rondo looks razor sharp. If you were to slide down Rondo right now you’d probably be cut.” No comment … Andray Blatche has switched from #32 to #7 this season, because he says he’s now spending seven days a week in the gym working on his game. So THAT explains why Benoit Benjamin always wore #0 … We’re out like Darko …

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