2008-09 Game 51: Denver Nuggets 70 – New Jersey Nets 114

Box Score | Highlights

Just so everyone knows I was not avoiding writing a post about this monstrosity, I did not get a chance to watch what went down until Sunday night and I was still too worn out from skiing on Saturday to whip anything up last night. 

I watched the entire first half and then it was time for me to grill up some burgers.  When I came back a few minutes later I was hoping to see the Nuggets had cut the Nets 20 point halftime lead to 15 or maybe 12.  Instead it was 27.  I did not bother watching another second of it.  Needless to say I was surprised to find out later on that Denver had lost by 44 points. 

One question kept nagging at me.  I have always believed the only way a NBA team could lose by 44 points is if they just quit and roll over.  I had to watch the rest of the game to see at what point did the Denver players throw in the towel. 

To my surprise, and relief, the starters never did stop playing hard.  Do not get me wrong, they stopped playing well late in the first quarter, but they never quit trying to defend, trying to run their offense (there was a stretch in the middle of the third where they launched quick jumpers on three or four straight possessions, but it did not last long) and trying to come back.  Even as the lead ballooned to more than 30 late in the third quarter they were trapping off of screens, trying to rotate and forcing turnovers.  In the fourth quarter the regulars off the bench were running the floor and trying to be aggressive.

It was just a night where in the second and third quarters everything the Nets threw up went in the hoop and almost nothing the Nuggets hoisted fell through.

I typically hate excuses, but despite the easy win in Washington, DC the night before you could tell that these guys were gassed.  They were always a step slow in recovering, chasing down loose balls and reacting to the Nets ball movement.

Fortunately for Denver a 44 point loss only counts as one loss and they are in a good position in the conference.  New Orleans, Houston, Utah and Phoenix are all struggling.  The Nuggets are three games up on New Orleans in the race for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs and two and a half games up on Portland for the division.

There are two games left before the All-Star break and Denver has two days off before a tough back to back in Miami and Orlando heading into the All-Star break.

Additional Game 51 Nuggets

  • There were so many plays that you could point to that exemplified the night for Denver.  I am going to go with a sequence that ended with 6:22 left in the third quarter.  It started with a decent possession.  Chauncey drew a double on the left wing and he passed out to Kenyon who swung it to Melo.  Melo drove right off a solid screen from Nene and got to the rim.  His shot is blocked off the backboard and it caromed out to the three point line.  Both Kenyon and Dahntay Jones are in position to grab the ball (it was a rare sight to see two Nuggets surrounding a loose ball), but instead of grabbing it Jones tries to dribble it and he bounces it right off of Kenyon’s foot and it rolls out of bounds.  The camera zoomed in on Jones look of blank bewilderment and you could see Chauncey smiling in the background at how comically bad the game had become.
  • If someone can explain to me why Vince Carter played four minutes in the fourth quarter of a game where the Nets were up 30 plus points I am all ears. 
  • I have been keeping track of the Nuggets current and projected Pythagorean record, which is based on point differential.  Statisticians believe that point differential is a better indicator of future performance than a team’s win loss record.  After a 44 point loss Denver’s projected record dropped from 52.4 wins to 50.0 wins.  Ouch.

 Mindboggling Game Stats

Pace Factor:  89.4 – Slow.

Defensive Efficiency:  127.5 – Bad.

Offensive Efficiency:  78.3 – Keep in mind the season low before this was a 90.9.

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