2009 NBA Playoffs Round 2 Game 5: Denver Nuggets vs Dallas Mavericks Game Thread

The Denver Nuggets have another chance to close out a series in game five at home in the Pepsi Center.  Following their game four loss I fully expect the Nuggets to come out with a strong desire to put Dallas away. 

Denver better be ready to play because the Mavs have been slowly figuring out how to beat them.  Dallas has done a better job attacking in transition (I cannot believe they have not used J.J. Barea more), swarming Nene in the lane and decreasing the Nuggets dominance in the paint and Dirk has been absolutely on fire.  The Mavericks also have tried to ramp up their own physical play committing two flagrant fouls. 

Hopefully the Nuggets will respond by locking down on defense, fighting for rebounds on both ends of the floor and playing aggressive and unselfish offense.  If the Nuggets just think they will win tonight simply because they are at home, they will surely be booking another trip to Dallas for game six.

I hope that George Karl decides to make an adjustment on how they are going to defend Dirk.  If I were in charge I would put a stop to the perimeter switching just as they did to close out game three and double Dirk in the post.  Dirk has been destroying any smaller player who has switched onto him and he has broken out an impressive array of fakes and pivots to get to the rim in the post. 

Those adjustments will make it more difficult for Dirk to score and it will prevent him from getting to the line so frequently.  After averaging six free throws a game over the first six postseason games, Dirk has averaged 15 a game over the last three games against Denver.  Part of that has been due to how the games have been officiated, all the complaining after game one seemed to have worked, but it is primarily a product of how Denver has chosen to defend him. 

With all the X’s and O’s and change of venue the biggest adjustment from game four to game five will be having Chris Andersen in the lineup.  Had Birdman been on the floor for game four I would be stuck watching Lost tonight instead of enjoying a Nuggets’ game. 

It will also be interesting to see if George Karl continues to play Linas Kleiza and if so, for how long.  When the only thing a guy can do to help the team is score and the tip of his thumb is fractured I would hesitate to play him.  Sadly, any hope of seeing Renaldo Balkman hounding Josh Howard all over the place and finding the nooks and crannies in the interior of the Dallas defense is sure to go unrecognized.  

I expect the Nuggets to close this series out just as they did against New Orleans and six hours from now we will be celebrating the Nuggets’ first appearance in the conference finals since 1985.

Denver Nuggets Game Notes

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Take this with you:  Apparently the key to winning in the playoffs is not to shoot 9-21 from the three point line, which is what the Nuggets did in game three in New Orleans and game four in Dallas.  

  • Business Socks

    As the late Heath Ledger’s wonderful portrayal of the Joker would say: and here. we. go!

  • magster

    Last game Melo had good luck raking Nowitski before Nowitski could get into his shot. Tonight K-mart got a steal (and a bogus foul) and now Nene did it. I wonder if the Nuggets see attacking a 7 footer’s dribble as he’s trying to back in is the best defense.

  • king_couttsy

    Good start, boys…

  • king_couttsy

    I know, I know – we shouldn’t be winning this by outscoring Dallas.

    But I’ll take the 14 point half-time lead any day of the week. Get The Can cranked, and let’s blow these pretenders away in the third…

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Halftime Stats

    Pace Factor: 94.7 – average for a home game

    Defensive Efficiency: 116.2 – Similar to what the Mavs have averaged the last three games.

    Offensive Efficiency: 145.8 – That would easily be a season high. Nuggets shooting 63.8%. Crazy.

  • TCuz

    With the first half over, things are looking up for the Nugget Nation. The team is playing selflessly on offense, and Melo seems to have picked up right where he left off from game four. Offensively, J.R.’s flurry of missed shots after starting hot was troubling, but clearly the rest of the team has picked up the slack, scoring 63 points in the half.

    Defensively, Dirk seems to be getting automatic whistles, although the Nuggets have been fouling quite a bit. Jason Kidd seems to have also picked up right where he left off from game 2, appearing rattled and thus, committing several turnovers. The Nugs still need to improve on D overall, but we’ll take the lead.

    On a fashion note, Kenny the Jet Smith is looking very… Valet, I guess, in his Brooks Blazer. He can wear it all day and all night as far as I’m concerned as long as we win when he wears it.

    Let’s go, let’s close it out, and get some rest before the WCF.

  • magster

    69 pt half?! Isn’t the team record 74?

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    The defensive numbers are not impressive, but I like the way they are playing. They are showing good rotations and are trapping Dirk in the post from time to time.

    You are right king_couttsy, I will take that 14 point lead too. Run them off the floor in the third and cruise into the Western Conference Finals in the fourth. No lead is too large for me.

  • TCuz

    69 points. My bad. Ha ha. Sixty Nine, huh? Wink wink, nudge nudge. Ah, nevermind.

  • magster

    5 3-pointers for Dallas this quarter…

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Great big swing at Dirk by Chauncey on that three attempt. Dirk left it five feet short.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Nuggets not rotating at all here in the second half.

  • king_couttsy

    Come on, Nuggets – D up… Kidd hits 4 triples – maybe should close him out.

    Less jumpers, and let’s get to the rim – we’re halfway through the third, and have only attempted 3 free throws…

    COME ON, NUGGETS!!!

  • TCuz

    Incredible, the game Melo is having, while having been to the charity stripe… 0 times.

  • magster

    We’re only losing this quarter by one point.

  • TCuz

    Priceless Family Moment: As Jason Kidd went to the bench to stop the bleeding on his finger, you could clearly see a father encouraging his young son to join him in pointing at Kidd and laughing. Brings tears to my eyes.

  • king_couttsy

    Come on, Chauncey – 3 more boards for your triple-dip…

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Despite the Mavericks three point barrage in the third Denver retained their 14 point lead. Twelve minutes from the Western Conference Finals!

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    OK Denver wake up. Team and the crowd better get interested in this game.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    I do not understand how they can be flat any team this close to the conference finals should have rocket fuel in their veins.

  • magster

    Well, I just said “barring an epic collapse, we’re going to the next round.” We’re halfway there on the epic collapse part. LET’S GO!!!

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Someone tell the crowd that it is OK to try to fire up the team.

  • magster

    Much better after the timeout.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Mavs in a zone.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Why is AC shooting a 3? Just terrible.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    This is fricking ridiculous.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Thanks for the point Antoine Wright. Moron.

  • magster

    4 pt. play. AW is an idiot.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Mavs 2-3 zone burned by the simplest play, seal the forward for the open corner three.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Please quit fouling on layups Denver.

  • Kay

    We got this

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    Mavs no long hitting their threes. I am going to say it, this game is over.

  • magster

    Under 4 minutes….

  • Kay

    YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com jeremy

    I am high fiving all of you right how. Hugs all around.

  • Kay

    This is a great night. Like you said *hugs all around*

  • magster

    WOOT!

  • king_couttsy

    Congratulations to the players, and to Nuggets fans everywhere… A very very happy man sitting at work in Australia, having just wasted the last 2 and a bit hours doing no work!!!

    Now let’s get ready for the Lakers or Rockets – I’m watching and praying for Houston to pull off the miracle to give us home court in the WCF now!!!

  • Josh Hopp

    Another Aussie Nuggets head here saying a huge congratulations to the team, our coach and the fans.

  • snafuthai

    Tremendous offensive game by the Nugs…just wish the crowd wasn’t so tepid the whole time (or mb TNT just turned down the background noise).

  • Business Socks

    We did it! West Finals for the first time in my life. This is an incredible feeling. The best part is I truly don’t believe we are done yet. Bring on whoever. This Nuggets team is special. I am ready to get to business in another series. I have that special feeling y’all! I don’t want this run to end anytime soon.