Dikembe Mutombo, a former Nugget of yesteryear, became the first player over the age of 40 to grab more than 20 rebounds in a NBA contest. “Dike” finished with an impressive stat line of 22 boards (eight offensive), five points, an assist, and a block. Mt. Mutombo was impossible to climb for any of the Nuggets in an effort that dwarfed any Denver players’ rebounding totals.
In this game we also saw the ol’ funky Nuggets in the third quarter. Denver reverted back to standing around and watching AI and Carmelo on offense and played ole defense. The unfortunate reality of that plan for the Nuggets was that of the miserable 14 points scored in the third quarter only six were scored by the not-so “Dynamic Duo.” The Nuggets didn’t even shoot a friggin’ free-throw in the quarter which proves to me, despite a couple of questionable no-calls, that they fell in love with jumper and stopped taking the ball to the hole.
I’m not too sure how to say this, so I’m just going to say it: scoring only 14 points in a quarter isn’t even going to win a high school contest, let alone a game in the NBA! When this type of funk settles in on the Nuggets, George Karl has got to call timeout, substitute his line-up, or even pull guys from the crowd in search of a spark because when the Nuggets struggle like that they essentially nail their own coffin shut.
Carmelo Anthony still scored 30 points despite only knocking down two in the horrendous third period. ‘Melo struggled the entire way through this game finishing 11-28 from the field and 1-6 from downtown. He grabbed seven boards and blocked two shots. Allen Iverson also struggled offensively. He was forcing his shot and as a result finished with 19 points on an ugly 7-19 from the field. AI dished five assists and grabbed four rebounds.
Marcus Camby threw a block party with seven rejections, but only scored a single point while grabbing a very quiet five rebounds. In another move I do not understand, especially when the Nuggets are getting dominated on the boards, is George Karl’s decision to consistently bench Reggie Evans. The Joker didn’t see any playing time against the Rockets as they out rebounded the Nuggets 51-40.
On a related note, the last stat that blows my mind is the total shot attempts. Denver only put 78 shots on rim while the Rockets somehow put up 98 attempts. Both teams were comparable in number of turnovers, except for Houston cashing in for 30 points compared to nine for the Nuggets, but due to the Rockets grabbing 18 offensive rebounds they puppeteered the tempo of this game.
The Nuggets have a much needed break before Tuesday when the Hornets come to town. Last time the Hornets were at Pepsi Center they defeated the Nuggets in overtime, 114-112. Hopefully, in the meantime they can figure out why they fall apart so frequently for 12 minute stretches at a time.