With the second to last possession of the game and the score, 97-99, the Nuggets burned the majority of the twenty seconds remaining and settled for Linas Kleiza shooting a three without calling a timeout to set up an offensive scheme. Unfortunately, Linas missed, but the situation still left me with an uneasy feeling. Denver had timeouts, but didn’t call one with the game on the line. Were they worried about getting the ball in? My apologies, maybe that was a low blow.
The Sonics rebounded the ball and Camby fouled and AI quickly fouled again to put Rashard Lewis on the line for two. Lewis hit the front end, but missed the second and the Nuggets called a timeout with just less than two seconds remaining in the game. Denver was now down by three, 100-97, with the ball being placed just past half court. I was thinking it was time for the Answer or Carmelo to shine as they have so many times before in their respective careers, but to my surprise, the play went to J.R. Smith and he missed the potential game-tying trey.
So many times we have been in this situation and the play always seems to go to someone other than our stars. Why?
Maybe George Karl has bought into the idea that if the stars are expected to get the ball then by going to the role players it will be easier to get the job done, but I have not. Your stars are your stars for a reason. They have made those shots in the past and relish being in those kind of situations. Karl had unlimited options to talk it over with 20 seconds remaining, but chose not to draw something up only in need of a deuce. As a result the Nuggets didn’t run anything special and had to settle for a Linas Kleiza three after Carmelo was shut down and forced to kick. Sure Linas isn’t a bad option from three, but I would have rather seen a play develop a lot earlier that would have hopefully involved our best ball handler in AI.
Evidently George Karl and I don’t see the game through the same lens, so that leaves me to propose to you the title of this post. It’s not that I don’t like George Karl, but as of late it has seemed that he was been out-coached while dealing with a more talented roster of players than the opposition, (not to mention in comparison to last year’s Nuggets), and now Denver is going to have to go on a real tear to even tie or improve on last year’s record. So what gives Nuggets fans?