Saturday, April 14, 2007

Good Lawrd! Denver Forgot the “D” in Memphis

(AP Photo/Nikki Boertman)
(Boulder-CO) It was a trap game anyway you look at it. The Nuggets, riding an eight-game win streak, went into Memphis tonight with the sixth seed locked up and basically nothing to play for. Sure, pride was on the line and the season’s longest winning streak, but really the Nuggets might as well have sat their starters. Tonight they step in their own scheduling bear trap and lose to the Grizzlies for the second time this season, 133-118.

There isn’t really any other way to summarize the game other than to say the Nuggets didn’t play even one iota of defense tonight. They gave up 133 points in total, a season-high, while allowing the Grizz to score more than 30 points in every quarter, including 38 points in the fourth to close it out. The game felt like a high school all-star game with all the lay-ups, late rotations, ole defense, and cheap-ticky-tack fouls for easy and-one situations. To be perfectly honest with you, I had to hold myself back from retching on numerous occasions.

Another area of the game that was flat-out repugnant for the Nuggets was turnovers. In the first half alone Denver coughed up the rock 14 times. Nobody was ready for passes, Allen Iverson was throwing terrible passes, and often times too many passes killed the Nuggets on the fast break. In total the Nuggets threw it away 21 times resulting in 23 Memphis Grizzly points.

And that’s not to say that Memphis needed any help scoring either. The Grizzlies shot a blistering 57.8% from the field and 66% from long range.

To add insult to the injury of losing to the league’s worst team for the second time this season the Nuggets were actually in a position to make the kill in the fourth quarter. After battling back to a, 95-95, tie after three quarters the Nuggets held a four-point lead early in the fourth before completely self-destructing. The Grizzlies would then go on a 38 to 23 run to finish out the fourth and leave the Denver Nuggets punk’d and looking for Ashton Kutcher to jump out from the sidelines!

It was no surprise that the defensive intensity was lacking so badly when Marcus Camby was plagued by foul trouble all night. Marcus would eventually foul out of the game in merely 30 minutes of action with 14 points, eleven rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and a steal. Nene would give a double-double performance of 22 points and ten rebounds, but was a far cry from an adequate substitute for the leading Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

Offensively, the Grizzlies brought out the bad-news-bears from the Nuggets. Denver shot an uncharacteristically high 28 attempts from three-point land while only cashing in ten times and found themselves on the wrong side of a despairingly big difference in free-throw attempts. Even more uncharacteristic was Carmelo Anthony finishing the team’s best three-point threat on 4-9 from downtown. ‘Melo finished tonight’s game the Nuggets’ high-scorer with 28 points to go along with five assists and four rebounds. Furthermore, as a team the Nuggets shot only 22 free-throws while the Grizzlies finished with 43 attempts, and to their credit, Memphis hit 33 of their freebies.

The loss brings my final ten-game prediction record to an even 4-4 with a pending win against the Timberwolves and a loss to the Spurs in a playoff preview to end the regular season. Hopefully my premonition will hold truth and the Nuggets can finish the season 45-37 overall, and one game better than last season. I could be bent out of shape, but why? We’re playoff bound!

Go Nuggets!


Tymes Rhymes said...

It was bound to happen, All great streaks come to an end,Your right we should have just sitted our starters with the defense we played but oh well. We need to tighten that up for the playoffs. I what to see the new Nuggets play, Von Wafer and Anthony Carter.

ThaAnswer said...

From the jump you could almost tell we were in for a loss. Hottest team in the league @ the coldest team in the league. First few minutes the Nuggets looked discombobulated. Good thing is, so what? A slight bump in the road on the way towards the playoffs! I'd still like to take home a W with the next game though!