Friday, April 10, 2009

Albuquerque T-Birds 121 at Colorado 14ers 129 (NBA D-League) - April 7, 2009

Tonight's affair was an NBA D-League game between Alburquerque (who are affiliated with Dallas and Miami) and Colorado, who have players belonging to New Jersey and Denver. I've never seen a minor-league basketball game before and was looking forward to the experience.

Car rental trick again

My flight to Denver was delayed about 45 minutes, but that didn't worry me as I would still have plenty of time to make the game,which was scheduled for 7pm. As I did in Phoenix, I planned to take transit to a car rental agency off-airport to save a boatload of taxes. I would then drive south to pick up my friend Meg who was to join me for the game. We would then drive to Broomfield, which was about an hour north.

After the flight landed, I made my way to the RTD desk to buy my tickets. It's $8 one-way, but you can't buy a one-way ticket at the desk, only round-trip, one-way fares are paid directly to the driver. I didn't need a return ticket, so I made my way to the bus stop just as the bus arrived. I boarded and gave the driver $20. Of course, it's exact change only! Why didn't the guy at the desk tell me that?! And why don't you sell one-way tickets at the desk?! Eight bucks in exact change is not necessarily something I always have with me, you know. Fortunately, the driver took pity on me and let me ride for $5. Big thanks to you, Mr. Bus Driver!

The ride to Stapleton is quick, but then I had a few problems. First, I had misunderstood where the bus drops you off, so I had a 20-minute walk to the the rental agency. Not fun. Then I had to sit and stew for another 20 minutes, watching the people in front of me take a ridiculously long time to rent a car. By now it was nearly 5, and suddenly the clock was becoming a factor. To make matters worse, my laptop bag had broken and stuff was falling out all over the place. I was not a happy camper.

Finally, the laggards in front of me were done. The agent though, was a chatty type, and this added to my anxiety. One thing that surprised me is that I had to say that I did not arrive at the airport within the last 24 hours. Love these cities that are so intent on screwing their tourists. Welcome to Denver, now bend over while you rent your car. It's not just Denver, most cities have significantly higher taxes on-airport rental cars, simply because they can: most travelers have far too much luggage to take to an off-airport location. But if I am smart enough to figure out a way to save money, I should be allowed to save the money without having to lie about it. Anyway, the rental agent had clearly seen people pulling this trick before, so I don't feel too bad.

By the time I was out on the road, it was already after 5 pm. I was worried that we might be late, but thankfully traffic was smooth, I didn't get lost, and was able to pick up Meg and then drive to Broomfield in just over an hour, which left us plenty of time to check out the stadium.

75% off

The Broomfield Events Center (pictured left) was opened in November, 2006 and also hosts the CHL's Rocky Mountain Rage. Parking is plentiful and free. Tickets to the 14ers are reasonably priced, but with no real security, you can get the cheapest and just sit where you want.

After getting our tickets and entering the facility, I went into the team store to see what was available. The clerk told me that everything in the store was 75% off as it was season's end! A great deal, so I picked up some souvenirs for friends back home. But don't tell them it was on sale!

It was now time to eat; there was a large selection available, although nothing looked particularly appetizing. I had a chicken burger and wish I hadn't.

Great Game

We spent the first half in the first row behind the 14ers bench, but moved closer to center court and a bit higher for the second half. The game was very exciting, with several lead changes, some great plays on both sides, and a few technical fouls for good measure. Billy Thomas and Trey Gilder were standouts for Colorado, while Will Conroy, a potential MVP, starred for Albuquerque. Mouhamed Sene, a 7-foot center from Senegal with no college experience, blocked 6 shots for the T-Birds but otherwise was not impressive and fouled out late in the game. (Ed: After I criticized him here, Sene was called up by the New York Knicks, where he sat on the bench for the last couple of games).

The game was tied after 3 quarters, but Colorado quickly built a 13-pt lead with about 7 minutes to go, only to see Albuquerque go on a 13-0 run in two minutes to tie the game. It was still tied with 3 minutes left when Thomas and Gilder each made field goals and then Josh Davis, who had struggled all game, made a key 3-pointer to clinch it with 90 seconds left.

With the win, Colorado clinched their division crown and they look like a solid team with the best record in the league. One last note is that when you sit so close, you can hear the players and coaches. During a timeout, 14er Kentrell Gransberry said something to an assistant coach who went ballistic and started screaming at him, telling him to get to the end of the bench. Gransberry did not play for the rest of the game, so whatever he said must have been pretty bad, but it was interesting to see the coach's reaction.

14ers Cheerleaders


Colorado is named after the term 14er, which refers to mountains that exceed 14,000 feet in height. The State of Colorado has over 50 14ers, so it would seem the name is more fitting than several NBA names, such as the Utah Jazz.

The two teams played again the following night and Colorado set a new league record for points in a game, scoring 155.




  1. Thanks for introducing me to NBDL. Meg

  2. The 14ers will be hosting the Erie BayHawks tomorrow (Tues) in the first round of the playoffs. Think I'll go.

  3. I'm watching the game on-line now, didn't see you. Looks like there'll be another game on the weekend.