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NUGGETS BRIEFS 2009-10-27 News New Jersey Nets

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News » NUGGETS BRIEFS 2009-10-27





On Thursday night, the skywalker emerged from the sleepwalkers. The lethargic Nuggets lost by 16 to Utah, but Denver's James "Flight" White tied for a team-high 13 points because, as coach George Karl mused Friday, "someone had to score."

Angered by most of his players' play, Karl did say that "James took his opportunities to the rim, got the whistle, played well - he might have been one of the few guys I would have given a decent grade to."

White is known for his acceleration and ascension - "He's probably the best dunker in the league," said teammate J.R. Smith, who was in the NBA's dunk contest last season. In Denver's first game, White glided to the basket consistently, earning 14 foul shots, of which he made 10.

"He's a fast, athletic guy, a poor-man's J.R. Smith type of guy," Karl said of the 6-7 White. "We'll give him 30 days of Basketball and see what happens."

Denver liked White in the developmental league last season, and signed him to a nonguaranteed contract this fall. Denver also signed forward Joey Graham to a nonguaranteed deal, and though the Nuggets could keep both players this season, it's very possible that only one of the two players will be on the team come January, when the contracts become guaranteed.

On Thursday, Graham had five points in six minutes.

Karl's biggest gripe about the game against the Jazz was the extra possessions Utah got, via Nuggets turnovers (26) and Jazz offensive rebounds (17). White committed three of those Denver turnovers and Johan Petro had the dubious distinction of leading the team with five.

Smith had an excused absence in Denver's first preseason game, in order to attend to a personal matter. Karl said he expects Smith to play quality minutes in tonight's game.

Who? The Nuggets host Partizan Belgrade in a preseason game tonight at Pepsi Center at 7:30.

"They're a big-time Yugoslavian team, one of the premier teams," Karl said. "They're playing very competitive Basketball."

One of the team's players is Milt Palacio, who, one might recall, played at Colorado State from 1996-99 and bounced around the NBA in the 2000s, spending time with six different teams. He was on the 2007-08 Partizan Belgrade team that won the Serbian national championship.

National pride. Denver center Nene is from Brazil, the rejoicing nation that was awarded the 2016 Summer Olympics on Friday. Rio de Janeiro is the host city.

"That is special for the country, and it's going to help a lot of athletes because they'll build up new teams and courts," Nene said. "Sports are going to grow."

Nene flashed his big smile when asked if he'll play in the 2016 Games.

"I'm 27," he said. "I have a long time to think about it."

K-Mart questionable. Power forward Kenyon Martin didn't play in the Utah game because of his right quadriceps contusion. Karl said he didn't know whether Martin would play tonight, a decision that will likely be made at this morning's shootaround.

Benjamin Hochman, The Denver Post

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