In these two teams’ last match-up a couple of weeks back the Nuggets won by 16 points without Carmelo Anthony. Allen Iverson had one of his best games (32 points and nine assists) and received a lot of help from Steve Blake’s 25 points. Defensively, the Nuggets did a marvelous job of keeping all the Portland starters out of double-digits in scoring and stymied Zach Randolph for a 1-12 night in which he finished with only four points.
But oh what a difference a couple of weeks make! In the Nuggets’ last three games they are surrendering an average of 111 points per game and have played by far the worst defense they have played all season long. Opposing teams are just gorging themselves on lay-ups and uncontested jumpers and the Nuggets fast break is suffering severely as a result of their poor defense.
So here is the remedy for all that ails the Denver Nuggets. It seems so simple, but in all actuality, the problem that is killing the Nuggets is a direct cause and effect situation. Because the Nuggets are allowing such a high opposing field goal percentage, 49%, 46%, and 51% in their last three losses, they are not getting the same amount of defensive rebounds and consequentially are not getting out in transition for fast break opportunities. The antidote for the Nuggets is to play solid defense, (elementary I know, but hold on for a second), with no gambling, and to secure the defensive rebound first and foremost. It wouldn’t bother me one bit if the Nuggets didn’t record a single steal tonight if they can nab better than their average 44 rebounds. Plain and simply stated, they need to stop taking chances that put their defense in a scramble which usually leads to easy buckets.
The recipe is simple: Stay home, box out, grab a rebound, and get out and run. Everyone’s involvement is eminent if the Nuggets can get their fast break going, and that same involvement will in return become infectious on the defensive end. The defensive hand will wash the offensive hand and hopefully both hands will wash the Nuggets’ face clean of all the grime that the last three games worth of defensive abominations have left the Nuggets wearing. It shouldn’t be that complicated and I think that if the Nuggets can get back to basics on the defensive end everything will be ok against the Trailblazers. Not only tonight, but on Friday night, and for the rest of the season. Be sure to head over to http://www.truehoop.com/ for Henry Abbott’s phenomenal input on tonight’s game, (he is a huge Portland Trailblazer fan) and all that is NBA basketball. Go Nuggets!