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|
- 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.
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