Yes, the Denver Nuggets can still win this series. However, in order to do so, they will have to exhibit two characteristics that they have as of yet been unable to produce on the basketball court.
Utah far outclassed the Nuggets in game three, but Denver is capable of turning the tide as long as they play with patience and trust.
Offensively, Denver can win a shootout with the Jazz. The Nuggets have more offensive depth and talent to outscore Utah. Up until now the Jazz have been displaying the patience and trust on offense and Denver has not. The Jazz run their sets and do not just jump at the first opportunity to shoot the ball. They share the ball and believe that whether it is C.J. Miles, Kyrylo Fesenko, Kyle Korver or Paul Millsap who is sprung free that they will do their job and score.
The Nuggets have been far to reliant on creating offense individually. Both Chauncey and Carmelo had relatively efficient offensive performances, but they generated almost no offense for their teammates. That has to change. When the Nuggets run some semblance of an offense, whether it be pick and roll or even simply sending cutters through the lane, they earn easy shots. The way they played offense in game three reminded me of the Allen Iverson era.
When things got tough AI clearly only trusted himself. The result was excessive one on one play, bad offense and losses. Denver has a chance to show that they trust one another. If they do not, this series is as good as over.
Defensively, Denver will have to possess the same characteristics. The Nuggets have done a very good job of defending the pick and roll. Utah has scored very infrequently off that play. The problem is Denver has had no answer for the second, third and fourth options the Jazz throw at them. Right now the Nuggets do not trust one another. On one hand they do not want to commit fully to helping because they do not trust their teammates will cover for them and that creates a downward spiral of horrible team defense.
It may be a cliche, but Denver can win together or lose as individuals. Right now they are losing, but there is still plenty of opportunities to display patience and trust.
By the way, if you are not following the coverage of this series by Kevin Arnovitz on TrueHoop, you are really missing out. He is doing a tremendous job of providing first hand info from the coaches and players as well as in depth analysis.
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