I only have time for a few thoughts on tonight’s 111-93 win in Indiana against the Pacers.
- Carmelo looked more like the Melo of old. I think he got caught up a little too much in trying to score on Dahntay Jones and took more difficult shots than he has been in the first three games. Even so Melo scored 25 points on only 17 attempts.
- The game was very sloppy and I thought the Nuggets were lacking focus for much of the evening. There were several occasions where there was a long rebound or a loose ball and no one went after it until they all realized no one was trying to run it down. The worst example was when Kenyon Martin perfectly executed the “pull the chair” defense on Roy Hibbert and Hibbert, who was on his butt nearly retrieved the ball before Anthony Carter jumped in and beat him too it. There were also numerous occasions where Nugget players did not even raise their hand in the air when their man was shooting.
- Arron Afflalo is not a player who is very good at creating his own shot, but he did an excellent job of doing so tonight. Whether he was dribbling to get to the rim or to gain space for a jumper, he was able to clear space all night long.
- Anthony Carter should not be starting, nor should he be playing 30 plus minutes as he did tonight, but he deserves a lot of credit for only turning the ball over three times in 90 minutes on the court so far this season. Could he be experiencing a late career renaissance? Yeah, probably not. Chauncey continued to do a good job of taking care of the ball too as he has not posted more than two turnovers in any single game this season.
- After Ty Lawson said he was very tired following the first back to back set this season, I wonder if George Karl purposely held him to only 13 minutes in order to try to keep him fresh for the rest of the road trip and that is why Carter was on the floor for 31 minutes.
- We have noted that Nene has been known to shy away from going at taller players in the paint, but he clearly is not intimidated by Hibbert. Nene was aggressive in the paint for most of the game.
- Danny Granger, Troy Murphy and Brandon Rush combined to shoot 2-18 on threes while Nuggets not named Anthony Carter were 8-13. I do not think we can credit the Nuggets defense with all of those 16 misses. The Nuggets did a good job of making shots whenever it looked like the Pacers might make a run to get back into the game.
- The Nuggets’ transition defense was once again very shoddy. On one occasion Danny Granger was bringing the ball up the middle of the floor and when he reached the top of the free throw circle Kenyon realized no one was paying attention to him, but was so far out of position that when he tried to reach out and grab him he was too far away.
Tomorrow the Nuggets are in New Jersey and they have the opportunity to wipe away two of last season’s worst memories. The last time the Nuggets were in Indy, Carmelo ended up being suspended a game for not coming out of the game when Karl told him to. Even worse than that memory is the 44 point drubbing the Nets laid on Denver last year at the Meadowlands. Hopefully Denver will exercise that dark night as well.
Check out the concise recap of the game over on Eight Points, Nine Seconds. And I mean concise.
There was also a Nuggets related blog post over at Basketball Reference looking at Melo’s hot start and his plus/minus. Whether you agree with the analysis or not, it makes for an interesting read.
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