2008-09 Game 71: Denver Nuggets 115 – Phoenix Suns 118

Box Score | Highlights

For a big picture breakdown of last night’s game click here and go to item number two.  I will post some additional nuggets with the game stats later this afternoon.

– Finally Updated –

Additional Game 71 Nuggets

  • For some reason the Nuggets had a terrible time trying to cover Grant Hill.  Maybe it is because he is not explosive anymore or because he is not a great shooter and they did not feel a need to do something like pay attention to him when he moves from one side of the floor to the other.  The worst example of this came at 7:10 in the first quarter where Kenyon switched to Hill, but then chose to stand all alone, with nary a Suns player near him, on the right side of the lane as Hill slid over to the left side and was wide open for a 16 foot jumper.  Hill was basically left alone all night long with Nugget after Nugget switching onto him and then choosing to pay no attention to him.
  • Coming back from commercial with 5:52 left in the first quarter the camera was on the bench and you could not see George Karl directly, but you could see his hands moving which would leave me to believe he was speaking.  Anthony Carter was looking at Karl, but J.R. Smith was staring at the floor with a blank look on his face.  Renaldo Balkman was looking off into space, Melo was looking around at something outside the huddle on the court and I think Nene was the other player there, but it was too difficult to tell because of the towel draped over his head.  If that is the focus they show in the huddle is there any doubt why they do not play with focus on the floor?
  • The Nuggets played the pick and roll like five individuals instead of a team.  There were probably at least two dozen examples of this, but one that I found most interesting came with 50 seconds left in second quarter.  Chris Andersen trapped Nash off the high pick and roll and stayed with him pushing him towards the left sideline a good ten feet past the three point line.  Instead of pressing the trap Chauncey got nervous and left the trap to retreat to the lane and go into the post to defend Robin Lopez.  Without the pressure from Chauncey to help out Nash was able to avoid Birdman and the ball found Lopez in the post forcing Kenyon to foul him.  If Birdman was supposed to show, allow Chauncey to recover and then fall back to his man he was out of line pushing the trap.  On the other hand, if the scheme was to trap and try to force the ball back to half court then Chauncey was wrong to go to the paint.  The problem with this team is they seem to defend the pick and roll differently almost every time they see it and that is why I say they lack cohesion.  It almost seems like individual players have their own plans and some trap, some switch, some lay back in the lane and wait to see if something goes wrong. 
  • Nene scored six straight points against Shaq to start the third and the Suns quickly switched to zone.  Initially I thought it really helped the Nuggets.  They ran their offense and were finding cracks and earning good shots.  Everything fell apart when Melo started scoring.  Anthony scored 14 points in 4:30 and after that instead of cutting and exploiting the zone Denver started standing around waiting for Melo to do something.  After Melo’s run ended the Nuggets scored a mere four points in the final 4:35.
  • Even though their defense was sorry Denver stayed in the game thanks to Chauncey’s three point marksmanship in the first quarter and aggressive offense in the second.  Denver ended up shooting 20 free throws in the first half, but only ended up with 33 for the game.  To show how they stopped playing aggressively on offense as the Suns tightened up their defense the Nuggets only shot six free throws in the final 16:35 of the game.  Conversely the Suns took 32 free throws in the second half.
  • How frustrated is Linas Kleiza right now that the only three point shot he can make is a 30 foot hook shot/shot put heave?  I certainly do not want to see him earn more minutes, but part of me feels sorry for him.  He is not as bad of a shooter as he appears right now.  Then again, few NBA players are.
  • Nene certainly did not get his moneys’ worth for his flagrant two on Louis Amundson.  Regardless, he allowed a lesser player get in his head and bait him into a head butt and then an elbow to the eye socket.   
  • Melo had a pretty good look at the end to send it into overtime.  He has made more difficult clutch shots, but no one hits them all.  That is why when you have an 11 point halftime lead you do not want to put yourself in a position where you are counting on a last second prayer.

Mindboggling Game Stats

Pace Factor:  97.9

Defensive Efficiency:  120.5 – The Suns have been on fire lately, but there is no excuse for the kind of performance the Nuggets put forth.  The only reason their defensive efficiency was not higher was the Suns committed 20 turnovers.

Offensive Efficiency:  117.5 – That should be good enough to win.

Featured Blogs:  Valley of the Suns | Bright Side of the Sun

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  • CCH

    Very cool. congrats!

  • Nuggets4

    Check out the big shot running this blog. 😉

  • DurangoNuggsFan

    Great recap! On ESPN no less. No one deserves it more. You run the best Nuggets blog on the web and I thoroughly enjoy reading your articles. Keep up the great work!