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News » Nuggets wary of, excited for trip to Asia


Nuggets wary of, excited for trip to Asia


Nuggets wary of, excited for trip to Asia Last preseason, the Nuggets visited mesmerizing metropolises such as Bismarck, N.D., and Edmonton (the Paris of Alberta). Today, the Nuggets depart for Asia - first Taipei, Taiwan, and then Beijing. It is an extraordinary excursion, but one with exhausting extracurricular activities.

The fact is, the NBA preseason is about bracing for a grueling regular season; the Nuggets are about to embrace a grueling preseason.

"I've heard some horror stories about teams getting fatigued and mentally drained, and we can't afford that," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Our beginning of the season is a very interesting time for us."

The Nuggets' first two real games are against division rivals Utah and Portland, and Denver won't have shooting guard J.R. Smith (15.2 points per game last season) for its first seven games because of his suspension.

The Nuggets didn't practice Sunday and travel today at 11:30 a.m. to Taipei, with a stop in Anchorage, Alaska, a total of 16 hours of flying time. On Thursday, the Nuggets will play the Indiana Pacers (and former teammate Dahntay Jones) at Taipei Arena, a game that will be aired live in Denver on Altitude at 5:30 a.m.

The Nuggets will then fly to Beijing, with a stop in Incheon, South Korea, and Sunday will play the Pacers again (10 p.m., Altitude), this time at the Wukesong Sports Center, the arena where Denver's Carmelo Anthony won Olympic gold in 2008 with Team USA. (Incidentally, Melo is known in China as "Tian Gua," which translates to "Sweet Melon.")

After the game, the team will travel back home, a nonstop, 12-hour flight to Denver International Airport.

This trip is going to be draining. And the Nuggets had to cut their summer short and start camp a week earlier than usual, just to compensate for this. But the Nuggets are trying to spin it all into a positive.

"Just being over there, traveling for all those hours together, and being together as a team, is good for us," said Anthony, who knows a lot about bonding over international waters with all of his Team USA trips.

Karl has seen some footage on NBA TV of the Celtics' 2007 trip to Italy, and the coach hopes the Nuggets can connect the way the eventual champs did during their overseas jaunt. For instance, the Nuggets are going to visit the Great Wall of China on Friday.

"Maybe we can run a mile on the Great Wall," Karl said. "And I'll walk a mile."

And on Saturday, the team will do an NBA Cares event at a local school, along with NBA commissioner David Stern.

"I've never been overseas before," Smith said. "I can't wait to go and see what it's like."

As for actual Basketball, the Nuggets will have two practices and then two shootarounds on game days.

"I'm not going to push the progression curve there - we'll probably just clean up and review," Karl said. "But I don't want to drop off either. I don't want to go backward."

Benjamin Hochman: 303-954-1294 or bhochman@denverpost.com ----------- "I've heard some horror stories about teams getting fatigued and mentally drained, and we can't afford that.

Our beginning of the season is a very interesting time for us."

Nuggets coach George Karl


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 6, 2009

 

 
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