I am not sure if you can stomach this or not, but I put together some clips of the Denver Nuggets’ fourth quarter “offense” from game five. In my game recap I wrote about how their offense became very one-on-one oriented. There was practically no ball movement or attempt to force the defense to react to anything other than a quick pick and roll or a drive.
As you watch these clips take note of two things, how few passes were made and how aggressive Carmelo Anthony was.
As ugly as that was I really liked the way Melo went at the basket and tried to carry the team to victory, but he needs to be more patient and more willing to set up his teammates. Let the ball move from one side of the floor to the other to uproot the defense. As I mention in the video most of the time when Carmelo drove, no one was cutting and providing him with an option to pass, but there is one example of a drive where Melo takes a difficult shot even though Nene is available at the rim, but Carmelo takes the shot anyway.
I think this game represents another step in Carmelo’s playoff development. He wants to be a great player and has learned enough to drive and play tenacious, but he has not yet learned that even great players have to rely on their teammates.
LeBron James had that amazing finish against the Detroit Pistons in 2007 where he scored the final 25 points for the Cavs and we thought that was just the beginning of the amazing things he would do at the end of big games. I think there is a reason he has not done something like that since. He still has the ball in his hands during crunch time, but if a teammate is in a better position to score than he is, he makes the pass.
Of course I am disappointed in the results of game five, but I have a hard time being upset at Melo for how he played. He did what we have been asking him to do for years and that is to ignore the jumper and drive. It was another small step in his transformation from a playoff bust to a MVP caliber force who is capable of getting his team to the NBA Finals. At the age of 24 I think he is finally on that track.
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