2009 NBA Playoffs Round 1 Game 4: Denver Nuggets 121 – New Orleans Hornets 63

Box Score | Highlights

Tonight in game four of the first round playoff series between the Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Hornets the Nuggets did many things well.  You have to do a lot of things well to tie the all time NBA playoff record for largest margin of victory at 58.

Denver played great defense, great offense and I thought Carmelo took another major step towards proving he has finally figured out how to play in the playoffs.  Out of those three I cannot decide which to discuss first so in the spirit of the choose your own adventure books that I used to read in college elementary school I will let you choose what you want to read about first.  Make your choice below:

Read about Carmelo first Read about the defense first Read about the offense first

Additional Round 1 Game 4 Nuggets

 

  • David West is a fine player, but he has been taken completely out of this series and I think the thing that has rendered him ineffective is the space between his ears.  He started off shooting poorly and has missed shots that he would normally make in his sleep.  Beyond that he is so concerned about the way the games are being officiated he was flipping out at the ref while he was guarding Chauncey Billups, who actually had the ball.  West was upset that Chris Paul had been knocked to the ground on a screen by Kenyon Martin and because of that was gesticulating like a madman and almost on the verge of tears.  Apparently West did not know that it is perfectly legal to knock a defender to the ground on a screen as long as the screener does not hit him with his shoulder or elbow.  For some reason West was not complaining when Melo was knocked down by a screen just seconds before.  I am going to say that after his performance in this series on the big stage of the playoffs, David West will not make another All-Star team.
  • It was not the only time a Hornets player lost his cool over a play that had just been made by a teammate.  Rasual Butler was called for a technical after Anthony Carter made an admittedly hard foul on him to stop a breakaway dunk.  Butler went over to get in Carer’s face even though Carter was laying in a heap amongst the photographers.  I am not saying Butler should have gone over to Carter and told him he made good smart play to stop his dunk attempt, but spare me the tough guy act.  Just before Carter’s play Tyson Chandler not only grabbed Nene by the arm, but also gave him a forearm shiver to the ribs while he was in the air at the rim.  Not one Denver player even thought about getting in Chandler’s face.  They just went out and played basketball.  I am really shocked by the Hornets lack of composure.
  • In my game preview I said the Nuggets would have to win this series without Nene.  Once again as soon as I gave up things turned around.  Nene has been bad, but on the Nuggets’ second possession of the game when he caught the ball on the left block David West left Kenyon Martin immediately to double Nene.  Nene had scored ten points over the previous two games so why they are doubling him I have no idea.  Nene passed the ball to the wide open Kenyon Martin and the result was a huge dunk for the Nuggets first two points of the game.
  • Let’s hear you complain about the refs after that one Hornets fans.  Oh, wait, they were chanting refs suck even though they had a big free throw advantage in the second quarter.  Do not be embarrassed.  Nuggets fans have been there.  Five years ago we were complaining that Denver could have beaten San Antonio if only the refs would stop giving Manu Ginobili all those calls.  Guess what.  We were wrong.
  • Melo took a left handed shot for the first time in months tonight when at 4:36 of the first quarter he cut back door from the right block and finished on the other side of the rim.  It bounced around inside the rim quite a bit, but it went in.  Sadly, later on in the game Melo drove in from the left side and chose to shoot the ball with his right hand and blew the layup.
  • There is a lot of talk about how important it is to finish out quarters.  What is the difference between a 12-2 run in the middle of a quarter and a 12-2 run at the end of a quarter?  If anything the run at the end of a quarter gives you a built in timeout to break the momentum.  The only time I think a big run to end a quarter is significant, other than the fourth quarter obviously, is when a team has a lead that is cut down below ten points before the end of the first half.
  • Peja Stojakovic is not just missing shots.  He is bricking them, even air balling them.  He had shed his playoff choker label over the past couple of years.  I think we have to reapply that label after his performance in this series.  He has been just abysmal. 
  • In college at Wake Forest Chris Paul punched future Nugget draft pick and I-76 shooting victim Julius Hodge in the gonads.  He has had brief moments in this series where he has temporarily lost his cool.  In game two Paul threw a punch in Game two and threw an elbow at Dahntay Jones in the corner in game four.

Mindboggling Game Stats

Pace Factor:  87.2

Defensive Efficiency:  72.2 – Best single game of the season topping their 80.7 from game 53 in Orlando.

Offensive Efficiency:  138.7 – Second best of the season behind their 139.7 in game 68 against New Jersey.

Featured Blogs:  Hornets 247 | At the Hive

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  • b.archy6

    Does anyone remember the quote from Byron Scott before the series started when he said that no one on the Nuggets “makes him lose sleep”, I think Julie Browman asked GK about it before game 1. With all the questioning on his job status in the past 12 hours, do youguys think BS got much sleep last night?? LOL
    Jeremy, thanking you for pointing out the obvious frustration building in the Hornets, exemplified by Butler and West. I can’t recall ever seeing a player act like that while the play was still going, I think it freaked out CBill too because he barely drew iron. And Butler was just being ridiculous but I do want to give some credit to JR for mostly keeping his cool. AC was just laughing which I liked. And I also wanted to point out the large contingent of people who were saying before the series began that the Hornets had a pretty clear path to the WCF. I know one Mr. Henry Abbott was clearly not a believer in the Nuggets, and in your chat with the 247 guys they did not give us much respect either. That win last night was just satisfying all around.

  • no hoper

    As much as I was impressed by the Nuggets play in the two and a half quarters before the game was well and truly decided, I was equally impressed by their play in trash time — particularly JR. A couple of plays stand out. First, mid-way through the third, JR got the ball at three point line with a pretty open look. Instead of shooting, he saw an opening and drove the lane. Then, instead of forcing a shot when the D collapsed, he kicked the ball out to a wide open Kleiza, who drained the three. Second, when Rasual Butler shoved JR in the chest after being fouled by AC, JR’s demonstrated the maturity we’ve been waiting to see. He let Butler get the tech and didn’t over-react to the provocation. If JR plays this well in more competitive games, he will go a long way toward realizing his potential and will be pivotal to the team realizing its potential.

  • fowlkjt

    Very good insight, Jeremy. It now seems quite evident that the Nuggets’ loss in Game 3, and moreover, the blown 23-8 first quarter lead was a blessing in disguise. After taking another big first quarter lead, the Nuggets continued to play physical, stayed energized, and prevented the home fans from ever getting into the game. The Nuggets played with a sense of urgency, the likes of which I haven’t seen in a playoff series. That urgency was typified in crushing the will of the Hornets’ players in last night’s 3rd quarter. Moreover, the overall health of the Nuggets players compared with that of the Hornets was clearly exposed.

  • BeefySwats

    Some insight in the Denver Post as to why Nene has struggled:

    http://www.denverpost.com/nuggets/ci_12242364

    Interesting…insomnia has struck Big Brazil! I guess that would explain why he’s had some poor games. Hopefully he rests easy tonight back home in Denver with his wife. :D

  • Othe33

    I’m still reeling. What a win. I played for an awful team in college that lost by 50+ on a number of occasions…needless to say, it feels much better to be on the other side of that equation (even merely as a fan).

    I’m very eager to see how both teams play tomorrow night. From everything I’ve read, the hornets have given up – on each other, on themselves, on their coach, on the season. That said, the Nuggets have got to force the issue and refuse to let up.

    I’m excited by the possibility to eat my words about George Karl. I’ve got them seasoned to taste, I’m just waiting to chew and swallow.

  • jakester

    Oh man. Four more quarters. I know, the opposing team is supposed to be battered and bruised and barely capable of walking or looking themselves in the mirrors. But I guarantee you that Chris Paul and company have pride. They’ll have spent 48 hours listening to how they’re chumps, how they quit, how they shouldn’t bother to even fly to Denver. And they’ll put up a fight.

    This is the same team (again missing Tyson Chandler) that took it to the Nuggets on national TV on Thanksgiving. Jeremy said then that there was no shame in losing to the league’s 4th best team. Then a couple of months later, this team (sans Chandler *and* West) that kicked us in the teeth in NOLA and had Jeremy doubting the character of our dear Nuggets.

    Now we know that our (hopeful) second round opponents, the Mavs, will be rested and ready for us should the unthinkable happen and we get extended to six or seven games. (Regardless of what happens to the Nuggets, I sure do like seeing the Spurs go down in the first round, on their home court. If only Robert Horry could be there as well!) This game tomorrow, she is big.

  • jakester

    It’s a little depressing, but just since 2000, the only teams NOT to win a first-round playoff series are the Rockets, Grizzlies, Bobcats, Hawks, and Nuggets.