2010-2011 Game 53 Recap: Denver Nuggets 114 Golden State Warriors 116

Recap by GoldenNugget

Box Score | Highlights

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.

Closing thought

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):

  • I love the Curry/Ellis combo in the backcourt. This Warriors team is really an All Star away from competing out West.
  • Nene had 10 points at the four minute mark of the first quarter, yet somehow I knew he wouldn’t break 30. I swear Nene’s got some kind of governor on his point total that prevents him from breaking 30. I don’t know how many times he’s been on pace for 40 and couldn’t even crack the 30 mark.
  • Someone please remind me how Monta Ellis wasn’t an All Star this year and Time Duncan was. Say what you want about team record and name recognition, but he fact of the matter is Monta is playing at a much higher level right now than Duncan is.
  • Just when I thought we’d flatlined Al Harrington comes in and immediately gives us CPR. The only problem: I think he was breaking one to many ribs in the process. Give Big Al tons of credit for playing with heart, that is greatly appreciated and truly is a breath of fresh air considering everything that’s going on right now, but a couple of his plays tonight were real head-scratchers.
  • I have to wonder, would you rather have the Cavs season with all the loses, or our season with all the Melo Drama? It’s hard to say because I don’t know what it’s like to lose 25 games in a row, but at least you know what to expect right?
  • K-Mart looks done for. He just doesn’t have that trademark explosiveness that he once did.
  • At least somebody in Oracle Arena lost their popcorn tonight as AC’s token errant pass goes flying into the stands.
  • Eh, good for the Warriors. We lost, but at this point in time I’m pretty sure wins mean more to them than they do to us. Next up: Dallas at home on national TV. Can’t wait to hear Barkley rip the Nuggets even more than he has the last few times he’s had to watch us!
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Charlie Yao

Managing Editor at Roundball Mining Company and writer since 2010. Unhealthily obsessed with Nuggets basketball since 2002. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at the links on the left.
  • ParkHillNative

    Last time the Nugs came to Oakland, Big Al was something like 5 for 7 on 3’s. I think he tries to have a big game against the Dubs just because of having played for them at one time. IIRC, it was not an amicable split.

  • http://roundballminingcompany.com Charlie Yao

    PHN is correct. Al Harrington was a big part of the surprise warriors team that ousted the 67 win mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. He later clashed with coach Don Nelson over a lack of playing time and asked for a trade. There was some controversy over the fact he sat out his final weeks with the warriors while waiting to be dealt. In fact there’s a bit to suggest he actually faked the back injury he said was keeping him out before getting traded to the NY Knicks