Recap by GoldenNugget
Warriors we are not. Most of the time, that’s a good thing considering our record in comparison to theirs, but tonight that was not the case. For three quarters the Warriors made one 3-pointer after another, finishing the game exactly 50 percent from downtown in route to their 116-114 victory over the Nuggets. Then, in the fourth quarter the Warriors suddenly lost their touch from behind the arc and went cold, only scoring 16 points. Still our beloved Nuggets couldn’t capitalize, and with a chance to win or tie the game and only eight seconds to go the ball somehow ended up in Nene’s hands where he shot a mid-range clanker that sealed the deal for the Warriors.
Immediately following the buzzer to end the game George Karl was seen talking with Ty Lawson, likely questioning him as to why he didn’t take the ball to the rim, although knowing George, he could have been asking him what he wanted to eat on the plan ride home – just kidding.
I too wondered why Lawson didn’t drive to the hoop when there was only one defender between him and a game-winner, but then I remembered that he had been playing this way the entire game. From the moment the ball was tipped Ty immediately took a back seat to the rest of his teammates, virtually taking himself out of the contest. Although he did finish with 7 rebounds and 6 assists, he only added 8 points to his box-score, all while he saw the second most minutes of anybody on the team next to Afflalo. At some point in time, Ty Lawson needs to gain some assertiveness and take control of the game like he knows how to. We all love the kid and we know he’s going to be a huge part of our future, but he needs to understand that he can help us win basketball games right now. His combination of speed, fast hands, passing ability and excellent overall basketball IQ make him one of the most difficult tasks for opponents to handle, yet so often these skills go untapped. I’m not trying to rag on Ty, I just wish he could understand the impact he potentially makes if he’s more aggressive. There’s no doubt in my mind that had he made his personal stamp on the floor tonight and played with more self expression, we might be looking at a different outcome.
The other storyline that dominated tonight’s performance was none other than our old friend Mr. Defense. You can go across the board looking at the Warriors box-score, and nearly everyone on the team lit it up. Monta Ellis highlighted the amusement park of numbers the Nuggets allowed by going off for 31 points on 16-30 shooting with David Lee not far behind notching 16 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. But the real killer in my eyes was Dorell Wright who went 4-11 from downtown to go along with 23 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals. Those are not Dorell Wright numbers, even though the dude is having a great year. Flirting with a triple-double is just not something Dorell Wright should be doing, yet on our watch it seemed like it was meant to be.
I’d love to criticize Carmelo Anthony alone, I really would, but 116 points isn’t Melo’s fault alone even though many times he wasn’t even in the vicinity of where his man was. Everyone on the Nuggets got torched tonight, and in general there just seemed to be no desire to play defense. We simply got caught playing Golden State Warriors basketball and not Denver Nuggets basketball. Now, for those of you at home who are keeping score and might be thinking to yourself, “Aren’t those the same things?” keep in mind that the Nuggets occasionally play defense, where as the Warriors pretty much don’t at all.
The Nuggets are now 5-5 in their last 10 games as the Melo-to-(fill in random NBA team name) rumors appear to be reaching a boiling point. This season as a whole has been pretty miserable, and if not for the winning record most Nuggets fans would probably have no hair at all by now. But to me, what games like tonight prove is that more than anything keeping Melo through this season is just not an option. You think things are bad now? Just wait till the deadline passes and Melo hasn’t been traded. Our problems are only going to get more compounded by the day as this controversy wears on. Eventually, if we make it to the playoffs, there’s no telling just how turbulent our flight could be. There are those that say we have a good enough team to do damage in the playoffs; I just don’t see it. Even if you look at this team compared to the Western Conference Finals one from a few years ago and say we have more talent, that doesn’tmean we’re better now. Back then we had a true team, one with an attitude, who had something to prove and who played hard-nosed defense for one another. Now, we simply have a bunch of guys going through the motions and doing all they can to keep their numbers in check. Nobody is playing for the guy next to them on this team. Nobody is taking high-contact charges. Nobody is getting angry, upset and pushing themselves and their teammates to be the best they can be. We have talent, and because of that we keep ourselves in the game and often times win, but we’re a hell of a lot better than our record shows, and if we haven’t understood that 53 games into the season, I don’t know how we’re going to suddenly once the playoffs start.
Nuggets Gold (additional thoughts/reactions throughout the game):