Nene: Great At Home (Denver Nuggets)
It’s too bad for Denver Nuggets fans that their home court advantage runs out if they play the Lakers in the Conference Finals. The reason being is because of Nene’s apparent Jekyl and Hyde routine when Denver hits the road. During Denver’s run to the Western Conference Finals, Nene has averaged 16 points at home but only 7 points on the road. Of the four road games the Nuggets have played (two against the Hornets, two against Dallas), Denver is 2-2.
They are undefeated at home.
So while Carmelo, Chauncey and to a lesser extent, fan-favorite Chris Anderson gets all the love — rightfully so, I might add — Nene looks like a very important x-factor for Denver’s continued postseason success. Last night, for instance, the Brazilian destroyer had 17 and 7 (not to mention a nasty put-back dunk, as seen in the lead video) and look: Denver won the game by 14. While the Carmelo Anthony 3-pointer followed by the technical foul is getting all the love, where would Denver be without Nene’s 17 points?
Granted, without his stats, the Nuggets still win by three, but what kind of post presence would they have without him? Not much because it wouldn’t be logical to expect Birdman Anderson — no matter how cool his shirts are and no matter how much fans love him — to hold the paint down all by himself, especially with Kenyon Martin guarding the perimeter-oriented forwards.
Looking ahead, if Denver winds up playing the Lakers, how does LA match up with Denver’s center? Considering the way Andrew Bynum has been playing — or a lack thereof — Nene should have the advantage; provided, of course, he brings his game with him when Denver goes on the road. While it’s hard not to love Pau Gasol’s game, I don’t see him or Lamar Odom having much of a defensive impact against the Denver center.
So it comes back to Bynum, who can’t seem to get out of Jackson’s dog house long enough to make much of a postseason impact. If his minutes remain low against Denver, it’s easy to see Nene — even though he’s not one of the primary options in Denver’s attack — having an absolute field day against the Lakers; especially when the Nuggets are at home.
As for Houston, well, without Yao, I wouldn’t expect them to have much success either. Granted, everybody and their mother is talking about how good of a floor game Chuck Hayes has, but he’s also giving up about six or so inches to Nene.
So while the Anthonys and the Billupses are getting all the love, it would be wise to remember the Nuggets center, who already proved he’s capable of some huge postseason outings.