I want to know what George Karl expected to happen. I have written more than once as the season has wound down that desperation counts for a lot in the NBA. With the Denver Nuggets knowing they had already wrapped up the second seed in the Western Conference and the Portland Trail Blazers knowing they had to win in order to have home court advantage in their first round series with the Rockets it was pretty obvious which team was desperate and which team was not.
Sure it would have been nice to have shocked the Blazers in their own house, but that was not going to happen. Karl should have benched Melo, Chauncey, Nene and only let Kenyon play the first seven or eight minutes since he is still trying to get back in a groove after returning from his rib injury.
Apart from the exposing the Nuggets key players to additional injury risk Karl might have damaged their psyche. I suspect the Nuggets will be able to simply shake the muck and mire off and move on with renewed focus to take on the New Orleans Hornets in the first round of the playoffs, but instead of rolling into the playoffs with confidence they will have a game where nothing went right for them fresh in their minds.
The Nuggets definitely played hard, but the focus was not there and I find that to be completely understandable. The Blazers on the other hand were one fired up unit. The end was written before the game even started.
As far as the play on the court I loved the way Melo attacked the rim time after time. Even though he was not finishing and certainly did not get any calls I was very encouraged by his aggressive play. I thought Nene played hard around the rim and did not show any of the hesitancy he has displayed recently against other large centers. Birdman was his typical energetic self and recorded his typical three blocks in 20 minutes.
I am not going to waste any more time on that monstrosity. The playoffs are here.
Mindboggling Game Stats
Pace Factor: 89.3 – Definitely Portland’s pace.
Defensive Efficiency: 116.5 – Not quite as bad as it seemed with the Blazers raining threes down on Denver’s defenseless noggins.
Offensive Efficiency: 85.1 – That number even seems a little high. Portland played very stout defense for most of the night.
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