Friday, November 14, 2008

The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

(Boulder-CO) For the Denver Nuggets it was the story of two halves in Ohio. In the first half, the Nuggets were good. In the second half, the Nuggets were bad. In the end, things got down right ugly as the Nuggets lost to the Cavaliers, 110-99.

The Good:

-Chauncey Billups finally found his shooting stroke as a Denver Nugget. Billups hit net on all four of his first three-point attempts in the first quarter alone on his way to an 18 point half. Chauncey would finish the game with 26 points and six assists.

-As a team, the Nuggets shot a scorching 59% (22-37) from the field in the first half. Denver's 36-point first quarter is also the largest scoring quarter so far this season.

-The Nuggets out rebounded the Cavaliers 18-12 in the first two quarters. Also, in what seems like a first this season, Denver gave up fewer than five offensive rebounds in a half.

-The Denver Nuggets, the NBA's leading free-throw shooting team by volume, got to the free-throw line 13 times in the first half and connected on 12 of 13 attempts. The Nuggets ability to manufacture points in this fashion played a huge role in Denver holding a, 61-58, advantage heading into intermission.

The Bad:

-Basically the entire defensive effort of the second half. It was perhaps the way Denver masked their shoddy defense in the first with their hot shooting, but it was apparent when the shots stopped falling just how poor the Nuggets defended. After allowing the Cavaliers to shoot 61% (27-44) in the first half, the Nuggets, who went cold offensively, allowed Cleveland to hit 20-38 shot attempts in the second. For the game, Cleveland shot 57% from the field.

-After winning the rebounding battle in the first half, Denver ended up losing the rebounding war, 34-33.

-Of Cleveland's 47 made shot attempts 30 of were assisted. A very bad sign for the Nuggets help and recover defense.

-The Nuggets only scored 38 points in the second half after scoring 36 points in the first quarter. This was largely in part to the Nuggets forgetting what a pass is. In the first 24 minutes of action, Denver recorded nine assists on their 22 made baskets. In the second 24 minutes of action, the Nuggets stopped sharing the basketball and only recorded seven more assists on their final 13 made baskets.

The Ugly:

- J.R. Smith completed a drive to the basket that was so sick it made me vomit a little bit in my mouth. After penetrating the right wing, Smith put Wally Szczerbiak in the spin cycle, jumped in the air, realized he was too far underneath the backboard to go straight at the rim, dipped the ball down low with both hands, reappeared on the opposite side of the rim, and spun the ball in from the left side with his right hand. The finish left me in awe of how much body control J.R. has. The video is pending post on youtube.

-The game became chippy towards the end as Cleveland was without a doubt going to win. I think it started after Carmelo was whistled for an offensive foul for elbowing LeBron in the face when trying to put in an offensive rebound in the fourth quarter. Regardless, Nene gave LeBron a little shoulder bump and a couple of words of wisdom, and few minutes later Kenyon Martin blew up a Daniel Gibson screen that drew a foul on. A few more words were exchanged over the duration of the fourth quarter and with Kenyon Martin guarding LeBron James, Anderson Varejao set a high screen on Martin and he and Varejao collided. There wasn't anything dirty about the screen or Kenyon's attempt to fight through it, but after what happened last night in Phoenix with Rafer Alston, Tracy McGrady, Matt Barnes, and Steve Nash Referee Joey Crawford wasn't having anymore of it and hit Kenyon with a flagrant-2 and the early shower. Kenyon then proceeded to give Crawford a piece of his mind while being held back by Coach George Karl and the rest of his staff.

So, with the first half of this back-to-back set behind them the 4-4 Nuggets now have to regroup and head into the lion's den better known as the Boston Garden. And something tells me the big frontline of the Celtics can’t wait to see the Nuggets…


Robert said...

Missed the game. Could you post that JR video or a link when you get the chance?

Thanks. He seems to get hot on these east coast trips, let's hope the kid is about to start getting weird. I already asked for a Smith jersey for Christmas. Rose City won't know what hit it.

Go Nuggies!

Commish CH said...

Something was brewing with Crawford and Scott Hastings. A few verbal jabs thrown about.