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Nuggets Bucks Preseason Game Recap

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a 10th row ticket for tonight’s Nuggets-Bucks preseason game, and I decided to bring along my camera and post a couple of photos along with my observations.

The Nuggets and Bucks face-off for one of the last preseason games of the 07-08 season

1) The Nuggets got out to an early lead - Denver was up 25-11 at one point in the first quarter, which is consistent with their goal of running visitors as much as possible as early as possible. The idea is that the mile-high air is too thin for visiting teams. The Bucks got tied it up by the fourth, but Denver ultimately prevailed. If the Nuggets learn to hold a lead through four quarters, look out.

2) The Nuggets have dancers AND cheerleaders! - Awesome! I already knew this — I’ve known it for years — but I’m still excited.

Denver Nuggets cheerleaders

3) Yi Jianlian is a rookie - After all the attention this kid got this summer, it was easy to think he might be the second coming of Dirk Nowitzki. While Yi might be as good as Dirk someday, this year he’s just a rookie. He’s hesitant with the ball, he’s not always sure where he should be, and the Bucks offense suffers when Yi is in for Charlie Villanueva (Charlie had a great game tonight - 21 pts, 11 reb, and 5 assists). When Milwaukee went small, Yi spent some time at PF and picked up 3 fouls in about 5 minutes. I don’t think Yi will spend much time playing PF until he learns to stop fouling.

Bucks rookie Yi Jianlian

4) Kenyon Martin is back — It’s still early, and he’ll need more time to get up to full speed, but K-Mart is healthy. He’s got a bounce in his step, he’s clearly comfortable with his knees, and he’s become one of Denver’s most active players. He runs the break better than any other big on the team, he steps out faster, and he’s got the energy and athleticism to play a little full-court press. If K-Mart can be this energetic all season, the Nuggets defense just improved 50%.

Denver Nuggets Dancers

5) Milwaukee isn’t a playoff team — The Bucks need an interior presence to make the playoffs. Ruffin is a beast defensively, but he’s also a turnover monster lacking offense. Bogut isn’t an inside player. Gadzuric and Voskuhl are past their prime. That leaves Villanueva and Jianlian to play PF/C. Villanueva is serviceable at PF, but he’s clearly a SF. Jianlian needs time, toughness, and muscle to be the player Milwaukee needs him to be.

Ballhype: hype it up!

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