Saturday, March 31, 2007

Nuggets Play One Half, Suns Play Two

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(Boulder-CO) There isn’t a team in today’s NBA that can be defeated by playing only one good half of basketball. Someone should let the Nuggets in on the big secret. Denver broke out of the gates quickly against the Phoenix Suns, but soon sputtered on both offense and defense before conceding to the Suns, 125-108, at US Airways Center. Now the Nuggets once again dip below .500, with an overall record of 35-36, and a team that was once jockeying for position in the Western Conference playoff picture is now just trying to make it.

In the first quarter the Nuggets jumped out to a twelve-point lead, 36-24. They were moving the ball, clearing defensive rebounds, and playing good transition defense. The Nuggets continued this streak of good play up until seven minutes remaining in the second half before the whole thing started to unravel. With 7:15 remaining till intermission, the Nuggets were leading the Suns, 51-33, before the defensive agenda went by the wayside and the Suns came roaring back. Within the next seven minutes the Suns went on a 27-14 scoring run and found themselves down by only five at the half.

Needing to regroup badly, the Nuggets did no such thing.

In the third quarter it would only take the Suns four and a half minutes to erase the Nuggets’ five point lead and before too long, (only another 3:45), the Nuggets found themselves down by ten. For those of you who aren’t so sharp at math that means that this game took a 27-point swing in less than a single quarter! Now let me tell you how it happened.

Leandro Barbosa routinely out ran the Nuggets to their own goal and kept dropping in lay-up after lay-up. Shawn Marion did likewise. The Suns hit 10-20 attempts from three-point land and as a result of all the lay-ups the Suns shot a blistering 55% from the field. And this is just the half of the story of the two halves.

The Nuggets completely stopped playing as a team on offense and went back to rec center basketball as everyone was seemingly out for themselves. Nobody, and I do mean NOBODY, wanted to pass the ball in an attempt to set up their teammates. The Nuggets finished this game with only twelve assists, whereas Steve Nash alone had eleven! Everyone with Denver on their chest also feels that they are some kind of great jump shooter. A little dribble here, a jab step there, and before you knew it another &*^$@%! jump shot was on its way with nobody in position to rebound. As a result of all the selfish basketball the Nuggets only scored 43 points in the second half, while surrendering 65, and the game was signed, sealed, and delivered; The Nuggets lose, again, making this the fifth loss suffered in the last six games.

Carmelo Anthony scored 32 points while grabbing ten boards, sliding five dimes, and stealing three balls. In my assessment, it was the first really good game he has played in over a week, but unfortunately he twisted his ankle in the fourth and didn‘t return. Allen Iverson scored 26 points, but did so in a very selfish fashion by only recording one assist. Nene continues to be a dominant force by scoring 18 points and grabbing nine rebounds and Marcus Camby had a nice game, for once, with 14 points and 13 rebounds before leaving the game and not returning with an injury to his leg in the fourth quarter. No word on the injury as of right now, but I’ll keep you posted.

I mentioned before that the Nuggets finished with only twelve assists in this game and you would be privy to know that five of those assists came in the first quarter alone. Pretty embarrassing three quarters of basketball if you ask me…

Now the Nuggets have a day of rest before traveling up north to Seattle on Sunday for a little revenge before back-to-back games with the Lakers and Kings on Tuesday and Wednesday. Losing any of these next three games is not an option if the Nugget would like to stay in the playoff picture with the seventh seed because now the Clippers are just a half game back in the eighth. Golden State is still on the outside looking in, but with seven of their last eleven games remaining on the road my confidence in the Nuggets is starting to waiver. It is too late in the season for excuses. The Nuggets need to buck up and make something happen if this year’s campaign is not to look like a stumbling mistake in comparison to last season’s 44-38 record because at this rate they are going to fall short of that mark and a first round bounce is looking unavoidable once again.


Tymes Rhymes said...

OK so technically Karl only played 6 players because DJ and Khouba only played 2 minutes so they don't count.

Why play only 6 players when you have a total of 12 ready? Is Karl crazy? Eduardo got his 3rd foul in the 2nd quarter,left him in, got his 4th in the 2nd and left him in. Karl himself states that Eddie is one of the few Nuggets who really understand his role so why keep him in when you know you are going to need him to defend the pick as well as he does. Or to give that energy when he rushes for the loose balls. But Karl kept Eddie in and did not save him for the 2nd half. Kleiza was 1-7 in this game,1-7, If Karl knows that Linas is slumping a bit how come he is giving Linas shots? Do the Nuggets even run Plays? or do they just run like chickens with their heads cut off until Karl tries to so them back on finally at the end of the game at the last possible moment? Thats some bullshit rule by the Nuggets "If you are slumping, then keep shooting".That is why we are loosing so much, because our players are fatigued, we are not running any plays (it seems like most of the time),some dumb ass is telling our not shooters to keep taking 15ft plus jumpers and when we don't make them, the other team exploits that and runs out for the quick score when they know that the Nuggets won't run back to defend, then after that we jack up some bullshit shot again, wash rinse and repeat. In the time-out updates at Pepsi Center, you always hear Julie say that coach Karl says to "stop shooting jump shots and take it to the rack.'" Well someone is telling them to keep taking jump shots. You know what would happen to me in High-school when I didn't listen to my coach? I'm dead serious, I had to do 100 suicides, then 8 laps in 30 seconds, then 150 sit-ups and push-ups. This team is not disciplined at all, Just because they are pros, they think that they just get coaching in practice, come on now. Marcus Camby's turn, as much as I like Camby he is not an offensive guy. He would be much more effective if he could only focus on defense. Just because he nails a couple 15footers doesn't mean that he is a good shooter so he should not shoot, and against the rest of the Centers, he isn't that strong in the low post so he should not try to post up. The only points I think Camby should get are the tip-ins and such close to the basket. Camby can't even blow past defenders but he tries to every game then he hocks up a prayer and usually bricks it. Camby should not try to create his own shot, he is not good at it. Karl needs to stop his love session with Steve Blake and start benching the guy, fact is he is starting to look for his own shot more then he did in Portland so he is missing a lot of key open teammates who could make an easy shot WTF!!!!!!!!! Steve Blake is being put on tough stars who dominate him (Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Raja Bell,ETC) when you have Yakhouba who has been rotting on the bench for a long while now, who can give you more size them blake. Why is Nene taking turn around 12 footers and such? I don't care if he has made them before, he has missed most of them, so instead of drawing up plays to give Nene a 15 ft shot we should be making him stay around the basket. I see a lot of more bull plays from the other guys and J.R. Smith is the only one punished? I don't care what Karl says, J.R. has picked up his defense these past couple of games and he is our best shooter yet we let DerMarr Johnson play ahead of him. DJ is shooting a miserable 21% from the 3 and J.R. is shooting a great 39% from 3, yet we still play DJ ahead of him? Fact is Karl needs to get it together, we are fighting for a playoff spot and yet we have two of the leagues top scorers and we can't make it work? I personally want Karl gone because he is not doing his job, these last games, it seems like he has been purposely losing the Games for us.

Nugg Doctor said...

I do not have the foggiest idea as to why J.R. didn't play last night. Karl must have him in the doghouse for some reason, but I'm getting pretty tired of all the politics coming before the agenda.

George Karl coaches this team as if he is ready for a vacation. I'm not going to say whether or not he should be dropped from this team, but sooner or later, Stan Kroenke is going to have to make a decision.

As of this point I will say this though: I would have much rather have seen Andre Miller stay our point guard and Allen Iverson still be a Sixer. Just look at the overall records... And don't give me that injury and suspension bologna either. Marcus Camby has played far more games this season than he did last and I'll gladly take Nene over Kenyon anyday!

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

Tymes Rhymes said...

I agree, and sorry for my cursing, It's frustrating watching the Nuggets play now. But I agree with the whole Andre Miller staying and all.

Nugg Doctor said...

No problem, tymes. I like the passion because I feel that the Nuggets are team that usually only has a bandwagon fan base.

Feel free to blow off steam here on The Nugg Doctor where your sentiments are heartfelt. Doing so other places just gets you ridiculed.

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

Nugg Doctor said...

And maybe I throw this out there for argument's sake. What about if we would have givin up Camby instead of Andre in the AI deal? With the emergence of Nene this season, and the hopeful return of a healthy Kenyon Martin next year do you think we would have been better served by moving Camby in hindsight?

Thoughts, disagreements, and supporters are always welcome.

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

Haig said...

JR's painful absence was exacerbated by Blake's mediocre game. Blake forces passes and helped contribute to the string of TOs in the 3rd quarter. At least JR would have injected energy into a struggling 2nd half.

ThaAnswer said...

LOL, Nuggets better without AI? Nugg Doctor, prescribe yourself something.

Nugg Doctor said...


What or who then will be the Nuggets' scapegoat if they finish with a worse record than last year, or god forbid, not even make the playoffs?

Everyone that was on the team last year had better numbers this year while the Nuggets are most likely going to finish worse than the year before. When I mentioned that a couple of comments back I was not thinking Miller is a better player than AI, just perhaps better for the Nuggets' chemistry.

Did the NBA just get that much better that even with the addition of AI we couldn't keep pace?


Could the Nuggets have been a better team without AI?

I love AI, always have, but my love for the Nuggets burns much deeper than Iverson and what is good for the Nuggets always comes first in my eyes.

Your thoughts?

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

Jason said...

Let me throw out my two cents...

As far as the whole AI/Andre Miller argument. I have to say I agree with you Nugg Doctor. However, I still have faith that in the end, this will turn out to be a good trade, just not for this years team. AI is the better player, and brings a lot to this team that Miller did not. is hard to argue with results. Enough about excuses, this team is underachieving BIG TIME!!!! With AI, Melo, Camby, Nene, and JR we should be tearing up teams.

But that point goes directly to my increasing desire to see Karl gone. If Karl cannot get this team to buy into what needs to happen to win, then he must go. Yes, the team is full of a bunch of whiny underachieving and underperforming players. But...every team is like that. The difference is other coaches are getting the putting their players in the best position to succeed and are motivating them in their various roles. Management 101!!! If GK cannot get the job done, then he should go.

Unfortunately, this team is not going anywhere this year, guaranteed. We all know they can play awesome, as seen in the first quarter of the Suns game, but the consistent is where great are set apart from mediocre teams. And until the team gets motivated to be great, we will continue to see this underachieving nature to this franchise.

Go NUGGETS!! Even though I tear my heart out watching them, I forever will bleed blue and gold with you Nugg Doctor!

ThaAnswer said...

Well I guess there's our small difference. My love for AI burns deeper than that of the Nuggets.

From what I've seen the current Nuggets either play really great or really terrible. Which tells me the parts are there for this to be a great team. AI has played a certain way for 10 years. Melo has played his game a certain way, as has everyone else. I think it's unrealistic to expect everyone to adapt and adjust in half a season. Don't get me wrong, missing the playoffs is not acceptable from this team. But I do believe the experience they are gaining now, along with the benefit of training camp etc is really going to help this team gel in the future.

I'd love to see the Nuggets win a championship like everyone else, but I think anything behind putting up a good first round fight is a long shot. What have you done for me lately? Sure, but think about the next few years when the kinks can get worked out.

Also some things I would change, or atleast I feel like commenting on. JR was having a great year until the suspension/injury. Perhaps a move back in the starting lineup can boost his confidence and get him going again? AI handles the ball most of the time anyway, bring Blake off the bench. Also, two of the best scorers in the league are on our team. Why are we depending so much on the roleplayers? They can only do so much. AI and Melo's points should not both be down. Crazy as it sounds, I don't think they're getting enough shots and they're not working off of each other like they should.

One last way to look at it, it's almost like Denver did a fantasy draft. This team hasn't had much time to practice and gel. Especially when there is a game nearly every other day. Nene didn't play last year. Blake, AI new to the team. DJ, Reggie have no clue what their roles are, if any. Whew...what ya think?