Friday, November 14, 2008

Game 9: Nuggets @ Celtics

(Boulder-CO) Let me go on record right now as saying I don't like anything about tonight's match-up with the Celtics. Compounding my position is the way Denver played in the second half last night. The first half against the Cavaliers was marvelous, but in the second the entire ball of yarn unraveled for the Nuggets. There was no sharing of the ball, very little defense, and it looked as if everyone was out for themselves.
For instance, there was a point in the game when Carmelo, instead of passing out of a double-team, tried to split Zydrunas Ilgauskas and LeBron James and turned the ball over. On another occasion, Linas Kleiza, who had just hit a three-pointer, without conscience hucked up another heat-check attempt on the next possession. J.R. Smith did the same thing later in the game, which drew criticism from Reggie "Tayshaun Prince Ended My Playoffs" Miller. Same goes for Renaldo Balkman, who I do not think has the kind of range to be shooting from 20+ feet, when he decides to let fly from deep in the corner. Call it selfish, call it desperation, but I call it players playing outside of their game and the result last night was the Nuggets displaying old tendancies and taking a loss.
Contrary to the way Denver played last night is the way Boston has been playing since their current six-game win streak started. These Celtics know how to play as a team. There's no heroes on this roster, rather only guys who do their job, play within themselves and the situation the game calls for. Furthermore, the Boston Celtics don't take quarters, halves, or nights off on the defensive end. They are allowing the second fewest points per game league wide, and are doing so by keeping their opponents to only 30 made field goals per game on the league's best opposing shooting percentage so far this season. So, forget about this notion of how well the Nuggets shoot being a gauge of whether or not Denver walks away from the Garden with a victory tonight, but rather consider how many bad shots the Nuggets are forced into by the Celtic defense serving as the true barometer of the game's outcome.
I've got a bad feeling about tonight, but I'll say it anyway....
Go Nuggets!


Stumbleweed said...

Yeah... not feeling very positive, but who knows? We might have a hot shooting night and manage to play solid enough defense. The key with the Celtics is to not let Pierce kill you, because he's the only one who will really drag them to victory in a close game (as he's done at least twice this season, including against the Hawks on Weds). Putting Balkman on him for stretches should hopefully get him out of rhythm... the Celtics rely a ton on outside jumpers, so we have a fighting chance in this one if Pierce is held to around 20.

Stumbleweed said...


What'd I say about Pierce? They held him to 19, Ray Allen had a great night, and we still won handily. They don't go to the paint enough and we made them pay despite leaving the three open too often. I'm amazed a bit, but I always feel like the Nugs can beat anyone at any time -- it's just a matter of focus and effort... they DEFINITELY would've lost this game last year when those House and Allen threes started falling again late.

Shut Pierce down completely in the 4th -- that was so key because he's been a killer closing out games. Kenyon came up big after putting a scare into us with that hobbling around, and Nene looked strong and quick against Perkins, who got left in the dust a few times. All-around a great effort, especially from the bench. And like Van Gundy said, good call by George by bringing Balkman/Carter back in to stop the run.

For once I get to gloat to all the Celtics fans that I know.