The Nuggets couldn’t throw it in the ocean if they were already knee deep in the breakers. As a team, they shot 39.1% from the field, and to no surprise with that kind of percentage, only combined for 16 assists. Allen Iverson was about the only Nugget bright spot offensively and finished with a game-high 29 points, nine assists, five rebounds, and three steals. If he could have only limited his turnovers (8) it would have been a masterful performance, but nevertheless, it’s not like he got much support. The Nugget bench only combined for 19 points on 7-23 from the field. Starters Kenyon Martin, and Yakhouba Diawara were a combined 0-7, and usual bench sparkplug Linas Kleiza was 0-4. Even the ‘Melo man himself struggled to get into a rhythm (mainly because he settled for way too many jump shots of the first pass and long three attempts), despite finishing with 24 points on 8-23 from the field.
But the defense was really where the root of the problems were concentrated.
The Nuggets were out rebounded 50-40, the Clippers got way too many open looks and lay-ups, nobody got the message that Tim Thomas was a three-point shooter, and Chris Kaman absolutely ate Denver alive. As a team, Los Angeles shot a blistering 53% (8-15) from three-point range and had five players score in double digits. Led by Chris Kaman’s seemingly tireless efforts, and 17 points and 21 rebounds, the Clippers just passed the ball around until the Nuggets would fall asleep defensively and give them a great opportunity to score. And I would bet that if the NBA kept track of time of possession, it would have shown that the Nuggets were badly manipulated into a Clipper-favorable style of basketball. Los Angeles slowed the ball down and kept the Nuggets from fast breaking with their high percentage shooting. Limiting the game to just eleven transition points of which the Clippers had eight of.
Up next for the Nuggets is a day of turkey and stuffing before having a chance to get back on the right track against the struggling Timberwolves on Friday night at home. Here’s to hoping that the Nuggets don’t come out with any hangovers from the tryptophan.