Sunday, December 16, 2007

Denver Not Ready for Big Test

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
(Boulder-CO) The Nuggets teased their fans for the first twelve minutes against the Spurs before going into a classic Denver Nuggets funk that last 24 minutes and sealed their doom, 102-91, in San Antonio. These types of uninspired stretches of basketball have been, and will continue to hold the Nuggets in a state of mediocrity for as long as the Nuggets A) continue to allow them to occur, and B) do not have any idea how to get themselves out said stretches until it is way too late.

The first quarter was fantastic with the Nuggets outscoring the defending NBA champs, 27-22, by result of playing good defense and getting high percentage shots on the offensive end. Even at half, with the score 56-50, I liked what the Nuggets were doing because they had shot 57.1% from the field, had limited the Spurs to only five offensive rebounds, had recorded six steals, and managed six blocked shots. The only area for concern at this point was the Nuggets low total of assists (13) of which nobody had more than two of individually.

Even after surrendering 34 points to the Spurs in the second quarter, I still liked the overall feel of the half. But, what I didn’t see foreshadowed in that second quarter was the collapse that was about to ensue.

34 points is way too many baskets to allow a great team like San Antonio to plaster you with, and when you come out on their home floor in the third quarter and allow them to bombard you with another 36 you have officially mailed it in. Evidently, noting that San Antonio is quite possibly the best three-point shooting team in the league wasn’t on George Karl’s points of halftime emphasis because the Spurs came out in the third and hit five long range bombs on the Nuggets, and at one point, seemed to be alternating lay-ups with threes. And per usual… There was not a single timeout called by George Karl and his bench full of silent wise men as the Nuggets not only played terrible defense, but also went completely stagnant on the offense only scoring 18 points in the quarter.

It was then at this point that I too mailed this game in!
I had high hopes for this match-up. Not only because it was a rematch of last year’s playoffs. Not only because I thought, maybe, the Nuggets might be making a push into the Western Conference’s elite. But, really because the Nuggets schedule up to this point has been less than challenging and I wanted a "reality check" game to evaluate Stan Kroenke’s big price tag product.

And as for all my pivotal points outlined in this game’s preview… The Nuggets went a disappointing 0-5. San Antonio completely dominated the game’s tempo after the first period, the Spurs completed the game with a 48% shooting percentage on 84 attempts in comparison to Denver’s 47% on only 76 attempts, AI did not double-double in dimes and scoring despite having 30 points by the game’s conclusion, the Nuggets did not get to my prescribed 25-30 assists, and my pivotal point of eleven San Antonio offensive rebounds was eclipsed by one as the Nuggets lost, 102-91.

The rest of the box score is pretty gruesome, but its main problem if you’re a Nuggets fan is how the Spurs bench outscored the Nuggets bench, 35-16. J.R. Smith was the Nuggets high-scorer off the bench with seven, and is now 1-18 from downtown in the month of December.

At least Denver has a chance to forget about this game tonight as they host the Trailblazers at Pepsi Center.

Go Nuggets!


nuggsfan15 said...

One thing you didnt mention, which in my opinion played a large role was the officiating.

I may just be overly biased as a Nuggets fan, but the officiating made me sick to my stomach.

We were totally screwed when Camby and LK got into early foul trouble on what I felt were very ticky tack fouls. Especially LK's.

I also have to agree strongly with something Scott Hastings said. Melo is gonna get doubled almost all the time. He's gotten a lot better at being able to kick the ball out of the double team, but if the guy you kick the ball to cant hit the shot, the why the hell would Melo even consider sharing the ball with anyone other than A.I.?

I really like AC. He's quick, can hit some shots when he squares up, and he takes pressure of A.I. But a pure shooter he is not.

We sorely missed K-Mart and Nene. For everyones bashing of these two for the amount of money they are being paid, K-Mart especially, it was very clear how much this team needed his intensity and defensive pressure.

I truly do think Denver has what it takes to measure up, but they need one or two more pieces. And they really need to find a way to kick the injury bug.

NoYPi said...

Nuggdoctor, I am unable to watch all of the games out here (only when they are on ESPN or TNT) but I have a question for you.

When looking at the stats of the game 2 things jumped out at me. First was the rebounding, it was like 40+ for the Spurs and something like 29 for us which is understandable without Nene AND K-Mart. The Second that was suprising was I believe AI had 9-11 free throws or something like that and Melo didn't have any? Why does it seem like when Melo's shot is off he doesn't try to make up for it by Rebounding or Attacking the basket? When I play and my jump shot is off work twice as hard to do Everything else.

Like I said, I wasn't able to watch the game but what are your thoughts on this?