Saturday, February 23, 2008

Dr. Jekyll Meet Mr. Hyde

(Boulder-CO) The Denver Nuggets were unsuccessful tonight in many facets of the game, but the only one that matters is the, 115-109, defeat. Denver is only the 21st win of the season so far for the Bucks. For the Nuggets, things remain the same. Inconsistent with a touch of dual personality.

In the first half, it was the story of the Dr. Jekyll. The Nuggets were up by as many as 23 points before entering intermission up by 14, 64-50. Kenyon Martin had already recorded a double-double at the break with 13 points and eleven rebounds. Allen Iverson was the team’s high scorer with 17 points. Collectively, the Nuggets shot 26 free throws by aggressively attacking the basket. As for the three defensive departments I mentioned in this game's preview (blocks, forced turnovers, and steals), the Nuggets were having a good showing. They out-played the Bucks in all three categories 6-4 in blocks, 5-0 in steals, and 7-4 in the turnover battle. Denver was also out rebounding the Bucks 30-24 in the first 24 minutes of play while holding all Bucks except for Michael Redd (26 points at the break) to single figures in scoring.

After halftime, enter Mr. Hyde.

The Nuggets only grabbed three rebounds in the third quarter and a total of ten for the second half losing the overall battle of the boards, 53-40. Denver also collapsed defensively. After holding the majority of the Bucks in check offensively, Milwaukee finished with four players in double figures including a season-high 42 points for Micheal Redd. The Bucks came into this game with the 27th ranked offense scoring only 94 points per game, but the Nuggets went to pieces and allowed them to score 65 points in the second half and paste them with 115 points, 21 more than they average. Offensively, the Nuggets managed only 45 points as they fell in love with the jump shot and cooled off considerably from the first half. The Nuggets also only shot three free-throws in the third quarter (and eight overall in the half) before I stopped counting how many times they could have attacked the basket in hopes of getting rewarded with a trip to the free-throw line and started to count how many times they made one pass and hoisted a jumper. The result was a stagnant offense that fell short of the magic mark of 25 assists, which the Nuggets average when they win, as Denver finished with 22 dimes.

Talk about stubbing your toe. This was a game that the Nuggets needed to stash away a W in before the schedule gets considerably tougher for the next eight games. Denver has to play Detroit on Monday night before having to face Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio (twice), and the conference rival Utah Jazz.

The obligatory box score recap reads Allen Iverson 26 points and five assists, Carmelo Anthony 25 points and seven rebounds, J.R. Smith 20 points and four assists on 6-15 shooting, Kenyon Martin 15 points and a season-high 14 rebounds, and Marcus Camby six points, ten rebounds, and four blocks.

Now we’re going to really see what kind of character this team is made of down the stretch. With their backs against the wall, I have a sneaking suspicion that things may be on the brink of unraveling. I hope I’m wrong, but the road ahead is tough and the Nuggets are not showing me much in the cardiology department. How much do you want it, Denver? We’re going to see clearly what this team is made of in this next stretch of eight games.


ThaAnswer said...

2 must win games, and we come away empty. Nothing else to say. Disgusted.

mr.bobbysteels said...

Well what can i say? i dont want to say i told u so, but were not a very good team. its basically because were inconsistent, because we have inconsistent players aka LK and najera. 2 guys we should've traded to get someone that can produce more than 0 points in 20 minutes. See chicago last nite. If its not for JR we would've been blown out. As for tonight we lost because we have no defense. You really think Artest would let Redd look like kobe? Im not bitter, this just shows how big of an ego our coach has to think we can win with this team. Serves him right. We just lost to 2 EAstern conference teams with losing records. Important games we need to win just to make the playoffs. Im not talking about advancing in the playoffs, just making the playoffs. NICE! your a great coach KARL! keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Yep, should've gotten Artest. We had to at least taken some sort of gamble or make some kind of significant move to light a fire under this team and to actually have the personnel that we're going to for the Playoffs... Our perimeter defense is terrible -- even AC hasn't been doing much on that front lately. You stick Artest on Redd and that doesn't happen -- bottom line.

With the race this tight and the other Western teams stockpiling talent, I can't believe we didn't do anything. Taurean Green isn't going to get playing time. Kleiza is a nice young player, but he's a natural SF and Melo is our franchise player -- there's no way he ever gets starter's minutes unless we move him to the 2 where he seems to think he should just chuck up threes rather than play his natural game. Really bad decision by the front office, even if Artest split after the end of the year (which I personally doubt, because this would be a GREAT situation for him). The owner and his mancrush/family bond with Kleiza is what screwed this over, I'm almost positive. George probably doesn't want to lose him either because he also has a mancrush on LK, but only Warkentein and Melo/AI were seeing clearly, I guess.

Ah well, we'll see how it goes the rest of the year. Nene probably won't be coming back... Chucky will be back soon enough, but is that really the difference-maker when we're talking about DEFENSE? No effing way, that guy is a revolving door on defense... We blew our shot to land an All-Star for two bench players -- that's the rub of the whole thing.


RIDICULOUS -- I don't care if Kleiza turns into a 20 ppg scorer, we needed a guy lke Artest and we blew it. Watch us acquire him this off-season after wasting Camby's career year and AI's most efficient year on another first-round exit (or a lottery season, as it's looking presently). Very frustrating. George will hopefully hang it up or get fired if we don't get into the 2nd round, so there's our silver lining I guess...

START JR!! Dude is a monster, all he needs is to get a rhythm and have some confidence that he's not getting pulled after a questionable shot. When he comes in for 2-3 minutes, he shoots threes... when he plays significant time, he attacks the rim, hustles, and creates turnovers. I'm glad LK is banged-up so he gets some burn finally. Still my favorite player to watch (along with Baron Davis).

NoYPi said...

I guess we'll never know if Artest was the kind of player we needed to win. For now, with what we have, as a Nuggets Fan, I'm not even confident that we'll make the Playoffs. What's really sad is that it looks like AI's old team the Sixers with such a bad record compared to the Nuggets have a much better chance to make the Playoffs! =P

JamesOClark said...

It's time to really start considering Karl's departure. This team doesn't play defense, it's not like they aren't capable, they just don't have the mindset. Plus Karl - call time outs when the other team goes on a run. He lets the run go on too long - 8, 10, 12 point runs before a time out. You watch Popovich and he calls them after a 5 point run, to get his team focused on defense. They should have brought in Artest for D.