2008-09 Game 48: Denver Nuggets 104 – San Antonio Spurs JV Team 96

Box Score | Highlights

Do you guys honestly expect me to write cohesively about that monstrosity?  What a horrible display of basketball.  The Denver Nuggets struggled to put away the San Antonio Spurs JV squad after Greg Popovich chose to hold Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili out of the game.  Reportedly Manu has a hip contusion he suffered the night before in Oakland, but there was no apparent reason that Duncan and Parker sat out.

The Nuggets had some problems of their own as Kenyon Martin was home with tonsillitis and strep throat (Tonsillitis?  Really Kenyon?  I had my tonsils out when I was four.  I freaking missed Halloween.) and Chauncey missed the second half after tweaking his right ankle in the second quarter.

The Nuggets appeared to take control of the game late in the first quarter as they turned an 18 to 12 deficit into a 29 to 21 lead in just over four minutes.  They carried a double digit lead for most of the second and third quarters.  The Spurs would not go away, or more accurately, the Nuggets would not give them a reason to go away as they kept sloughing off on defense. 

I have not seen the Nuggets so confused on defense from start to finish of a game all season.  Perhaps that had something to do with Denver not having time to adjust to the Spurs scaled back roster.  The Nuggets made about every mistake you could imagine at some point.  They failed to rotate, they overrated frequently as it was fairly common to see two defenders running at a shooter, the bigs failed to step up on picks even late in the game after they should have realized that the one player that could bring them down was Roger Mason, in some instances both players would go with the player coming off a screen and there were other times where neither player would guard the man coming off the screen.  It was the most disorganized defensive effort I have seen in a long time.

Offensively, they mailed the second half in as they have been prone to do settling for jumper after jumper.  The offense had good flow to it in the first half and Denver did a good job earning easy shots.  I wish I could blame the insipid offense on the absence of Chauncey, but we know he has been prone to join in the chuck fest when the Nuggets start getting completely perimeter oriented. 

Even when the Spurs pulled to within two in the fourth quarter it was frustrating, but I never got the feeling that Denver would completely let the game slip away.  There was a lot of a wins a win type analysis after the game, but the way Denver’s defensive effort yo-yoed all second half long it only creates more concern in my mind about their mental toughness. 

With that Denver now embarks on two road trips broken up by the All-Star break and game one is tomorrow night in Oklahoma City.  At this point it is not known if Chauncey will be able to play.

Additional Game 48 Nuggets

  • Anthony Carter made probably five or six of the ten worst passes I have ever seen, and that includes the rec league games my six year old daughter played in this year.  You can imagine my surprise to peek at the box score and see that Carter led the Nuggets in plus/minus with a +15.  How is that possible?  I guess he did play pretty well in the first half.
  • Chris Andersen was great as the Nuggets defense seemed to pick up once he entered the game. 
  • Carmelo once again proved to be rust proof as he drained jumper after jumper to ensure the Nuggets kept their lead.  Most of his 35 points came from the perimeter and the free throw line.  He was feeling it.
  • If I were Popovich I would have told Parker and Duncan that if the game was close they were going to play the last six minutes.  They could have warmed up in the hallway or something.  Had he done so, there is no doubt in my mind that the Spurs would have won.
  • The really weird thing about Popovich sitting the three stars for the Spurs is they have four days off after tonight’s game.  Is the regular season really that insignificant that they can sacrifice the tie breaker with the Nuggets?  I guess they do not consider the Nuggets to be much of a threat.  Then again, I could see Popovich playing mind games with the Nuggets where should the two teams face off in the post season both teams know that San Antonio pummeled Denver in the one game where Parker, Duncan and Manu all played.  Maybe that mental edge is worth preserving.
  • Nene really needs to stop glaring at the refs after every shot he takes.  At this point his visual protest is easily dismissed because you know it is coming.  Although I do think he had a pretty good case on several occasions tonight.

Mindboggling Game Stats

Pace Factor:  95.9

Defensive Efficiency:  100.1

Offensive Efficiency:  108.5

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  • willbyrne

    Nice post, I’d have to agree that this was one of the ugliest games of the year. The defense is remarkably inconsistent, most notably your example of the big man not hedging out on roger mason EVERY TIME. If Kenyon is in the game, I hope this isn’t an issue, but I honestly can’t tell if it’s an issue of our big-men not being smart enough to know the gameplan, or the coaching staff not getting it across clear enough.

    Nene can glare at the refs all he wants, if you ask me. He’s been the Nuggs best player, and he’s getting fouled pretty much every time he shoots within 3 feet of the basket, plus he’s not getting techs. I would complain about his palming the ball after he gets a rebound–it almost gets jacked every time.

  • Frontrange

    Carter was awful and I think the stats crew credited at least one of his turnovers to JR Smith. The +/- is easily explained by the fact that he played 40 miuntes . . the only time he sat was the first quarter when the Spurs took the 8 pt lead – since the Nugs won by 8, that equates to ~+16

    Even though ‘Melo often initiated the offense in the fourth quarter, Carter had more turnovers by himself in the second half than the entire team in the first half with Billups on the floor.

  • sleepydog

    anthony carter. throwing a lob. in traffic. to DANTE JONES?? did i really see that happen? of course its a turnover, what the heck did he think would happen?

  • Nuggets4

    I don’t want to look a gift win in the mouth, but wow…

  • Stumbleweed

    Heh, we were 3/4 on alley-oops last night… that horrible try by AC to get it to Dahntay was the sole miscue. It was strange.. it was like Karl said, “Okay guys, you can alley-oop again, but just while Chauncey is hurt.” I haven’t seen any others as far as I can remember all year (the Birdman reverse was it)… just kinda came out of nowhere. But even with that one ill-advised lob to Dahntay, a 75% success rate isn’t bad at all (I’m counting getting fouled on the attempt as a make).

    And yeah, I had the displeasure of watching this in person… thanks Pop, for ruining the 3rd game of my Holiday Pack. Hopefully the Celtics won’t rest their Big 3 on the 23rd, because I have tickets to that one too hah..