2008-09 Game 44: Denver Nuggets 117 – Utah Jazz 97

Box Score | Highlights

I am going to keep this short so as to avoid going to bed too late to start the work week as I had to watch the replay due to a DVR malfunction.  Fortunately the game started at 6:00 instead of the typical 7:00 so the replay was on an hour earlier as well.  Anyway, on to the game.

Is there anything more enjoyable than watching the Denver Nuggets pound on the Utah Jazz? 

What made it even better was the fact that they played very good defense.  The Jazz did score quite a few easy baskets as they tabulated 54 of their 97 points in the paint, but the way they execute their offense you know that Utah is going to score some easy hoops.  Do not let the handful of open layups Utah earned take away from the way the Nuggets defended. 

The Nuggets defense started off a little sluggish, but once Chris “Birdman” Andersen checked in with 2:50 left in the first quarter they really clamped down.  The Jazz run a lot of tight screens and cuts right in the lane in front of the rim.  That allowed Andersen to basically guard the rim without worrying about a defensive three second violation.  His presence deterred the Jazz from entering the ball in the lane. 

When Andersen entered the game Anthony Carter switched over to cover Deron Williams.  Williams checked out about a minute later and Carter switched over to Kyle Korver, which is a pretty good matchup for AC. 

Carter had entered the game previously when J.R. Smith picked up his second foul with 4:36 left in the first quarter.  It seemed like a disappointment at the time as Smith was dominating on offense, more on that tomorrow, but his defense was just deplorable.  Utah may be the worst stylistic matchup for J.R. because of the constant motion.  He has improved on defense over the past couple of seasons, but he still lacks the positional and spatial awareness needed to defend the Jazz.  As we all know Carter is a much more savvy defensive player and he did a more than adequate job on Williams. 

It seemed like the Nuggets became more and more comfortable on defense as the game wore on.  They did allow the lead to fluctuate in the second half, but the Jazz would never get closer than ten points after Chauncey started the second half with a three to put Denver up by 12.  Some of that could have been due to fatigue by the Jazz though too as they played last night in Salt Lake City and reportedly did not get to fly into Denver until today.  The Jazz are now 1-10 on the second night of back to backs and Denver is 6-0 on Sunday this season.

That is all for now, but I promise a more in depth post tomorrow including a quote from Chauncey explaining why he will never surpass the franchise record of most shots without a miss in a single game that Nene tied tonight by going 12 for 12.

Mind Boggling Game Stats

Pace Factor:  97.3

Defensive Efficiency:  99.7 – That is right, after 18 straight games where they posted a defensive efficiency of over 100 they now have back to back games of sub 100 defensive efficiency ratings.  It is one thing to do that against the Kings, but another all together to do it against the Jazz.  Plus Denver held the Jazz to 40.5% shooting.  That is their best mark in that category since the December 15th game where they held the Mavericks to 34.9% shooting.

Offensive Efficiency:  120.3 – Superb.

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