The first half of the game was essentially a jailbreak for the Denver Nuggets on defense. The Nuggets were outscored 69-45 at intermission. They were out rebounded, hustled, and scored with ease by the Bucks. The consequences of the lackadaisical defense were three fold. With no identity on the defensive end the Nuggets never got any type of fast break going, were beat up on the offensive glass, and allowed easy ten to twelve foot jump shots for the first 24 minutes. It looked as if the Nuggets were expecting the likes of Michael Redd and rookie Andrew Bogut to shoot 25% collectively. Bogut would finish 8-10 and Redd 7-16 respectively, while the rest of the Milwaukee Bucks followed suit by all shooting a high percentage.
Consequentially for the Nuggets, with no fast break they struggled to get anything going consistently on the offensive end of the floor. The only Nugget to shoot 50% from the floor and score double digits was Marcus Camby. No Nugget snatched double digits in rebounds and Andre Miller had an uncharacteristic night turning the ball over five times while dishing eleven assists. Carmelo Anthony was held to 19 points; nearly seven below his season average and as a team the Nuggets were 1-11 from downtown. As for reasons why Denver was unable to right the ship; Defense creates offensive opportunities; Good offensive opportunities lead to easy scores; Scoring is contagious and all of this was illusive.
There is absolutely no reason to dwell on this game. If you’re George Karl you just have to tell your troops that sometimes this kind of thing happens and to forget about it. The NBA is not an exact science. Now it is more important to figure out a way to slay the looming giant in the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night. If the Nugget’s track record is any indication they will bounce right back and rise to the challenge of one the league’s top teams (remember the win against the Mavericks?).