You always wonder what a vagrant does with the quarter or dollar you give him. Will he use it for food or for some green tea or will he use it for booze and mind altering substances? Imagine a starving panhandler getting $50 bucks, but instead of buying food he spends $25 on a hooker and the other $25 on some yam-yam only to find out that the hooker was a transvestite and the opium was actually sawdust.
That is exactly what the Nuggets pulled on us. The win against the Lakers was like getting the $50. Tonight’s loss to the Pacers was, well as the late Paul Harvey would say, “The rest of the story.”
The Nuggets have now lost four straight games against teams who are currently under .500. For some reason all the talk that every game is important seems to be just talk. I think we all knew that there was going to be some let down after the way Denver played against the Lakers, but this type of drop off is just unacceptable. I understand that there are nights where there is a lid on the basket, but effort and defense needs to be a constant. I am not saying the Nuggets did not play hard or want to win, but they did not match the effort of the Pacers.
The Nuggets posted a decent defensive efficiency rating for the game and the Pacers only made 38.5% of their shots, but it was not a great defensive game by Denver. They almost always had a breakdown that led to an open look for the Pacers. One unpleasant surprise was the return of switching screens. Indy ran some three man weave and Denver responded by switching. The bigs also switched on down screens. The Pacers had a set where they had Roy Hibbert set a down screen for Troy Murphy. The Nuggets had Nene stay out to prevent Murphy from getting an open look from three, but that left the seriously outmatched Kenyon Martin on Hibbert who was just too big.
I understand why on paper it may make sense to switch in those situations, but I continue to believe it makes for a passive mindset.
The Nuggets now face three very difficult games and do not look now, but there is a decent chance their once apparently safe divisional lead could be all but whipped out by this time Friday night. If the Nuggets have forgotten the importance of every game, they will soon be reminded of that fact.
Additional Game 60 Nuggets
Mindboggling Game Stats
Pace Factor: 95.6
Defensive Efficiency: 104.6
Offensive Efficiency: 98.4
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