2008-09 Game 58: Denver Nuggets vs Atlanta Hawks Game Thread

It is still February and the Denver Nuggets are playing the Atlanta Hawks at home.  Seems like just another monotonous regular season game?  Not so.  This is a must win game. 

A loss tonight means the Nuggets will finish this three game home stand with a five game losing streak (yes, I have written off the Friday game against the Lakers and I recommend that you do the same).  The Nuggets will be playing without Nene again and that means that out of the three games Nene has missed after today, two of them will have been against the Hawks.  Atlanta used a long range barrage to defeat the Nuggets 109-91. 

The Hawks are coming off a 108-89 loss in Utah where they only good thing they accomplished was to rough up the man we all love to hate Matt Harpring.  The Hawks do not always bounce back after big losses as they are 3-3 in the game after a loss by more than 14 points. 

The Nuggets are on their own losing streak and so far following games where they lose by 38 or more they are 1-0.  The Nuggets have not lost four games in a row this season and they have won three of the last four games against the Hawks in Denver.  The lone loss came two years ago as the Nuggets had a monumental collapse against Atlanta coughing up a 14 point lead in the last nine minutes of the game. 

This game is all about the Nuggets defense.  They followed up their best three game defensive stretch of the season with three straight terrible efforts.  The three great defensive games are starting to look more and more like a fluke.  The Nuggets defensive stats look solid thanks to their ability to put forth a lockdown effort from time to time, but Denver has lacked the consistent effort, physically and mentally, required to be a good defensive team night in and night out. 

I think we can expect a good effort from Denver as they will be looking to bounce back from the drubbing they received at the hands of the Celtics.  On the other hand, if they come out flat I think it is time to really start to worry about the mental makup of this team.  Nene is out, Kenyon has a sore back and Melo is banged up, but so is everyone else.  The Hawks will be without Josh Smith, who is missing the game because of a personal matter, not a suspension for his flagrant two on Harpring the other night.  Mike Bibby is a game time decision due to illness.  He tried to go against the Jazz, but was completely ineffective and had to leave the game early in the third. 

Regardless of who plays or who is sore I want to see a great effort from the Nuggets tonight.  If Chauncey Billups has any leadership cache then I expect to see him do some actual leading on the court tonight.  If not, look for more threes early in the shot clock and another sorry defensive effort. 

Denver Nuggets Game Notes

Previous Matchup:  Game 32 – Den 91 Atl 109

Featured Blog:  Hoopinion

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  • Josh Hopp

    What you have said about Billups is important. This season, people have pointed to the Piston’s struggles and the Nugget’s success as evidence of the fact that AI is a dumb chucker and Billups is a playmaking stud. In fact, Billups is absolutely capable of turning into a chucker and AI’s assist numbers say that he at least tries to maintain a playmaking mentality at times. I’m not saying the stereotype is completely wrong but people tend to look past Billups’ 3-10 from downtown nights but are reluctant to afford AI the same favour.

  • BeefySwats

    What the fuck Kenyon, that is some awful defense on Patchoulia.

  • BeefySwats

    Get your hands up!

  • BeefySwats

    Petro is actually developing into…

    Dare I say it…

    A good backup center behind Nene and Birdman. Maybe our big man woes aren’t so terrible after all.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    The Nuggets are trying to trap off the screen, but Kenyon is just meandering back into the play. He has to sprint back to recover to his original man.

    Denver looks confused and you can tell they worked on trapping off the screen yesterday, but they are still confused on how to do it. That should be a scheme everyone leaves training camp knowing how to execute.

  • BeefySwats

    Why does Chauncey not know how to run the fast break?

  • BeefySwats

    edit: Chauncey going into chucker mode, crap.

    Dahntay Jones leads in scoring? Hmmm

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    So far I am not overly impressed with the Nuggets play, but I am a couple of minutes behind on Tivo so maybe it gets better.

  • BeefySwats

    Nuggets are going to give up +30 in the first.

    Again.

  • BeefySwats

    KENYON HAS TO PUT HIS HANDS UP.

    I don’t know what the hell is wrong with him but that is just inexcusable. Horford can hit the outside shot and giving up 33 points to a team missing Bibby and Smith is really bad.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Hey Beefy, do not let the Nuggets know that Atlanta is missing two starters, then they will have a more difficult time pouting about missing Nene.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    That was not a clear path foul on Kleiza. Terrible call.

  • BeefySwats

    Haha, I’ve kinda noticed that too. The Nuggets have relied too much (imo) on Nene’s interior play and strong defense and having him out now is like having the rug pulled out from under you.

    Also, I read that Truehoop on ESPN – I’m a political science graduate myself. :)

    Kleiza with the second clear path foul in 2 games, sweeeeeeet

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Notice how the Hawks’ intensity has increased in the second quarter because they realize this is a game they can win.

  • BeefySwats

    I would really like to see the Nuggets hold the Hawks under 50 this half.

    But I don’t see it happening.

  • BeefySwats

    Kleiza *facepalm*

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Now the Nuggets intensity is picking up a little, then as I type that they get beat back after a made basket. What the sam hill…

  • BeefySwats

    fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff

    if I see Kleiza take a pullup 3 with 19 seconds on the shotclock again i may have to kneecap him myself

  • BeefySwats

    This game has slowed to a crawl. I am very uncomfortable with Denver’s effort so far tonight.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    The play where Melo made a three bothers me because when J.R. drives instead of having a cutter to pass off to everyone (Chauncey, LK and Melo) is spotting up at the three point line.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Can’t complain how they finished the half. I think they were down 49-42 so that would make it an 18-4 run to end the half. The defense picked up and they ran more than they have the past few games.

  • BeefySwats

    It’s funny, Jeremy – I played my brother in NBA2K9 in a rematch of Monday’s debacle, Nuggets at home vs Boston, and I beat them by 30, 107-87.

    I had 42 fast break points, Chauncey had 9 pts 11 ast, Nene had 20 and 12 on 9-11 shooting, Melo had 25, 2/3 from 3 and 5 assists.

    I then beat playing the Hornets on their floor by 20, just by running the fast break on almost every play and getting down the court. Why can’t the Nuggets see that they are at their most effective when they don’t allow the defense to set up in the half court?

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Halftime Stats

    Pace Factor – 90.1

    Defensive Efficiency – 117.7

    Offensive Efficiency – 133.2

  • BeefySwats

    Just like that.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Yea Beefy, one thing I have not mentioned enough and maybe at all is how little they have been running lately. I want them to be a good half court team, but not at the expense of not taking advantage of their ability to run.

  • BeefySwats

    Johan has already done more for Denver following his trade than in the entire 2 years Chucky Atkins warmed the bench.

  • BeefySwats

    Chauncey, jesus christ. 33 foot 3 pointer? When Carmelo had hit 6 of his last 6?

  • BeefySwats

    Chris Andersen is almost as important to the Nugget’s post defense as Nene. 7 points, 6 rebounds, 5 blocks? Off the bench?

    After the past 3 debacles, I can say that I’m starting to believe in Petro as our “3rd big” behind Andersen and Nene. He’s really played solidly for us in the past two.

    Melo is ridiculous tonight.

  • BeefySwats

    3 straight possessions, 3 straight turnovers to start the 4th.

    CALL TIMEOUT KARL.

  • BeefySwats

    Hey Jeremy, you’ll love this line:

    0-2, 1 reb, 1 ast, 1 foul, FOUR turnovers.

    Can you guess who?

  • sdchlr

    Oh man.

  • sdchlr

    Just… wow

  • BeefySwats

    Jesus Christ that was a close game tonight. 8 point game with 1:38 to go and they won by one.

    Carter was terrible. As soon as I saw Karl sub Kleiza and JR out for Carter and Birdman I threw my hands up in the air. Kleiza was playing decent defense (for him) but I was okay with that because Birdman was coming in, but he sits JR because JR committed a turnover.

    Stupid, stupid, STUPID decision. If they lost the game I would have put that ALL on Karl.

  • sdchlr

    The Nugs didn’t do anything right in the 4th quarter. JR bailed us out with a couple of huge 3s and promptly benched for it.

    I wonder how many TOs we had in the 4th. What a collapse

  • BeefySwats

    10

  • NuggetsandRockiesGirl

    I agree with Beefy Swats, Carter isn’t right, they have been saying it on tv over and over…he has multiple injuries and near the game had a bloody nose. So what does he do? Play him more and more. Plays him even when Chauncey isn’t sitting. I don’t dislike Carter, I know he plays with a lot of heart, but it isn’t helping him or anyone else to play him like this. Meanwhile Balkman still can’t even get a minute of playing time, with Melo, K-mart, Nene, Carter and even Bird banged up.

    Chauncey was every bit as good tonite as he was bad on monday. Melo and JR both had key points. Birdzilla looked great on defense. Petro put up another solid effort.

    I was very relieved and happy to see the footage of Nene’s workout today and still thrilled that he is coming back soon. Things just seem a lot easier with the happy Brazillian on the court.