In the first ten minutes of the first quarter the Nuggets looked incredible. Dahntay Jones was an early bright spot as he threw down a couple of nasty dunks including this gem as Adris Biedrins and Kelenna Azubuike watched helplessly.
It could have been because George Karl stayed with his bench too long, but it’s a little too early in the season to be throwing the reserves under the bus. However, the Golden State Warriors bench completely dominated the Nuggets subs. Don Nelson saw this and continued to play his second tier and they ended up erasing the Nuggets’ seven-point lead in the first five minutes of the second quarter and the game would be tied or change hands on and off for the remainder of the half. What was so troublesome about the way the Nuggets were getting outplayed wasn’t that Golden State was playing so much better then they were, but rather how lackadaisical Denver became after their hot start. For instance, the Warriors took their first lead, 45-44, when off of an offensive foul committed by Nene they proceeded to take the dead ball, inbound it, and beat the disorganized, arguing, and head-hanging Nuggets back down the floor for an easy deuce. And then there is this… After getting some flight time earlier in the half, Dahntay Jones didn’t get the FAA notification that he had not been cleared for takeoff and Kelenna Azubuike grounded his third and final dunk attempt.
After halftime, the Nuggets just flat-out imploded. Denver turned the ball over nine times in the third period alone, much to the credit of the Golden State defense, as Don Nelson continued to play the players who brought him back in the first half. And while being outplayed, the Nuggets could only muster 21 points in each quarter of the second half after scoring 35 in the first quarter alone. I don’t know if it was the lack of continuity by a team without a point guard or if the Nuggets just overlooked this game after being blindsided by Monday’s trade, but after five minutes into the fourth quarter Golden State’s control of the game was palpable as they would only lose the lead momentarily once in the fourth quarter after taking the lead, 66-65, on a Stephen Jackson free-throw with seven minutes in the third. The icing on the Golden State cake was Andris Biedrins “dipping one on Nene” to send the Nuggets home with their tail between their legs.
But besides that Andris Biedrins poster that Nene is now on, Big Brazil is the only Nugget who I would say played a good game. Nene finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds, and three blocks. He was an economical 6-8 from the field and a perfect 7-7 from the free-throw line in 34 minutes of burn.
Face it, this was a huge let down overall in the second half. The Nuggets are now 1-3 overall and have lost two straight. Hopefully Chauncey can come in and right this situation immediately because as the Nuggets lose games and the rest of the Western Conference’s elite continue to win them. The playoff hopes dim even this early in the season.