2011 NBA Playoffs – Nuggets lose Game One 107-103

Box Score | Highlights

The Oklahoma City Thunder strike first and seize the series momentum in a hard fought battle on their home floor. As is the case with any tough loss there is no shortage of frustration over a game that at times Denver seemed to control. While both teams struggled to get into a comfortable flow tonight’s game was an exciting reminder that this is playoff basketball at it’s finest. It may not have been pretty, but after tonight any doubts about the intense physical nature of the series can be put to rest.

Unfortunately many of the concerns we had before the series came to fruition. Free-throw shooting and injury woes continue to be the fatal flaws this team cannot overcome without improvement. Overall my initial reaction is there is still so much that is equally encouraging. Unfortunately winning is all that matters and the Thunder greatly improve their chances of moving on having gained a head start. The onus is now on Denver to adjust with an already thin margin of error that just got a whole lot thinner.

If you watched the game I doubt my next point will be much of a revelation. As I expected before the series, other than Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook the Thunder offense is largely a joke. Admittedly that is quite a big caveat as Westbrook and Durant are two of the most elite young talents in the game. The duo combined for over 67% of the Thunder’s 107 points despite playing only 33% of the minutes.

That is an incredibly lopsided way to win a game. The question then becomes is Denver’s poor defense at fault or is it simply a case of better offense winning out? My take is there is definitely a bit of both. The Nuggets gave up only 28 points in the paint and 9 fast break points to the Thunder. Furthermore, the Thunder managed an uncharacteristically low 15 total assists. Durant and Westbrook did nearly all of their damage off jump shots in isolation. Add that to the fact that OKC was shooting nearly 60% from three most of the game and it is impressive that the Nuggets were able to stay in it as long as they did. The Thunder shot early and often from outside and most of the time they simply did not miss.

As I said before this kind of scoring is the essence of OKC’s predictable offensive attack. Their strategy revolves around creating tough looks for star players who welcome the challenge of making them. For the Thunder to go anywhere in the playoffs both likely have to shoot 50% or better and average twenty a piece. As we saw tonight this is a way they are more than capable of winning any game with.

Even so, the Nuggets knew what to expect and often did not do a good enough job defending against it. As Jeremy predicted, Denver gave Durant a variety of looks with Wilson Chandler and Kenyon Martin defending him a majority of the time. Towards the end of the game, George Karl went with a smaller bench unit and the Nuggets were switching all screens leaving Raymond Felton on Durant at crucial fourth quarter stretches. Durant had no problem attacking the mismatch in the post and was able to make every winning play down the stretch.

It cannot be overstated how much Denver is missing the presence of Arron Afflalo. Not only is he going to pull major duty guarding Durant but with him out Ty Lawson was tasked with defending Westbrook one on one. Westbrook was able to bully his way around the paint and with Lawson giving up so much size Wetsbrook had too much room to work with outside. There were a few times a Nugget defender barely managed to get a hand up on his shots and Westbrook was free to pull up and shoot the entire game. Denver did an admirable job forcing him into five turnovers and limiting his effectiveness at the rim, but he is too good a player to leave undefended on the perimeter.

All things considered, Denver played better defensively than the numbers appear to indicate. It was an ugly game in which the Thunder struggled to find easy baskets. Offensively is where the Nuggets fell on their faces and surrendered their early momentum. First off, credit OKC’s defense as the trio of Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collison, and Serge Ibaka were able to apply pressure and limit Denver’s effectiveness at the rim. In the first half the Nuggets were able to build a 12 point lead with swift off-ball movement and precision passing. Things broke down as the game wore on and as they encountered resistance the Nuggets seemed to panic a bit. Gone was the quick and confident shooting off screens as less offensive-minded players like Kenyon Martin and Raymond Felton often forced hurried shots off broken plays.

Confidence and toughness are not what the Nuggets lack in this series. They were a physical and aggressive presence throughout. Where they faltered is in maintaining poise and control when Oklahoma City challenged. The complete lack of structure on offense is what I feel is the team’s achilles heel. They are simply not great at creating something on their own out of nothing. Denver is at their best when they commit to an offensive game plan and never deviate from it. The pathetic free-throw shooting is indicative of it. The Nuggets set themselves up with a winning formula and fall just short in terms of executing it. It is something the Nuggets have to clean up quick if they hope to extend their postseason run.

Both teams likely did not come forth with their best efforts tonight. There is no more time for excuses at this point, only adjustment. If the attitude and intensity of game one is any indication it should be just the beginning of a battle I do not expect the Nuggets to go down in without a fight.

Game One Notes and Developments

  • Felton’s three  pointer at the end of regulation was horrible. Not only could the Nuggets have held for the last shot but they had just come out of a time out. It was literally baffling seeing that was the play they came up with and poor execution like that is why Denver did not deserve to win this game. Felton is a good player of whom I am really a fan but a couple of his decisions with the ball towards the end were mind boggling. Lawson should had the ball and more control of the offense down the stretch. He was consistently the Nuggets best game changing threat throughout the night.
  • Nene suffered a knee contusion after colliding with Kendrick Perkins in the second quarter. He later returned to the game to complete the Nugget performance of the night with 22 points and 8 rebounds on 9-11 shooting. Personally I am going to speculate that Nene is not 100% physically although he was a complete warrior tonight. Nene looked slightly reluctant attacking the rim, hesitating and settling for outside shots more than he normally does. Nene also did not perform the jump ball at the start of the game with the Nuggets instead opting for Kenyon Martin to do it. An odd choice which leads me speculate Kenyon is currently the healthiest big body on the Nuggets’ front line.
  • Speaking of Kenyon Martin, he played a pretty fantastic 33 minutes notching 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. His defense was commendable all game although he struggled on offense getting a ton of his shots blocked by the explosive Serge Ibaka. Kendrick Perkins and Nazr Mohammed are decent additions to the Thunder’s roster but not even close to what the Nuggets should be worrying about in this series. If Ibaka is allowed to become an x-factor and make his mark on the series it could be a serious problem for Denver as it is a very difficult matchup for the Nuggets to deal with.
  • Denver’s bench didn’t have a great game. They played only two guards and two bigs off the bench and while they were solid Oklahoma City’s lineups routinely outplayed them. Going small hurts Denver and I really struggle to see why JR Smith deserved such a small role with Arron Afflalo sidelined. Smith is the only offensively competent player off the bench and made things happen in the few minutes he got against Eric Maynor and James Harden. Denver’s depth means nothing if it’s not used and the Nuggets won’t get far without a playmaking threat off the bench. If JR can play decent and get so few minutes with AAA out I shudder to think of how he might be used with a healthy roster available.
  • Going small is not likely to work against the Thunder. They have too many athletes and don’t have to adjust to the Nuggets’ current rotation. Al Harrington isn’t much of a threat who will get eaten alive inside by Nick Collison and Nazr Mohammed. The options are limited with the number of healthy bodies available but if the offense isn’t able to pick itself up Karl’s insistence on a two point guard lineup could contribute to his teams’ undoing.

  • Alex

    Dailythunder and RoundballMiningCompany are two of my favourite blogs to follow.

    This is some good analysis but I think it is a bit petulant about Durant and Westbrook being the only offense OKC has. OKC are a massively scoring squad themselves and got some rough nights from some otherwise dependable contributors in Harden and Ibaka.

    I wouldn’t expect much less from a Nuggets blog, particularly considering that things arent seeming to break the Nuggets way in this series already and they were probably the better team on the night. Just wanted to point out that I think that it was a case of the rest of the team letting down Durant/Westbrook offensively rather than them being wet fish.

  • Aussie Nugs Fan

    Yeah that final possession was brutal, I know Raymond has shot the 3 pretty well since he got here but I really feel it has to be Danillo, or even JR. Not to mention there was definitely enough time to go for 2.

    All i can say is we need to play game 2 as if it is game 7. Really feel like the series will be riding on it.

    • ParkHillNative

      Well, Felton can hit the 3 if he’s open, right? He was definitely not open on that one.

  • Other Aussie Nugs Fan

    While I can’t stop thinking about how well Nene played (while facing down injuries) it seems we need to exploit our size more. So where is Timofey?
    This game was within Denver’s reach for so long, we just needed someone to step up, either defensively against Kevin and Russell, or offensively. Here’s looking at you Danilo. Tonight the energy was only at 70 percent; in order to play with a team like OKC it needs to be at the maximum. Bring on Game 2!

    • ParkHillNative

      I think Mozgov is still recovering from injury.

  • wowza

    A brutal game to watch, and a helluva game to watch!

    The two stars were great, but can they do “that” every night? The rest of the Thunder were “ehhhh”, but will they be like that every night?

    Denver looked good and bad at the same time. The free throw shooting is so d@mn frustrating, I can’t stand it. The play calling down the stretch harkens back to the Western Finals two years ago (key waking up in cold sweats).

    All that being said I still like the Nuggets’ chance here. They went into a wild arena (kudos Thunder fans! I can only hope the crowd at the Can matches that energy!), played without anyone getting hot; and was still “this” close to getting the W. And I’ll be the firs to say the very questionable non-call on the offensive goaltending was OFFENSIVE, and didn’t lose the game for the Nuggets, but it was big.

    I do hope Swish gets more of an opportunity with or wothout AAA in the lineup. When he (or any Nugget) finds his rhythm, it’s game changing.

    And I have to say, while normally I hate the playoff schedule; this long break may be good (read: I pray to the basketball gods) in breaking any kind of momentum OKC could have gained.

    Cheers!

  • nugoftruth

    I hate to blame the refs but I have to ask what were they thinking on that non-call? It completely changed the complexion of the final few minutes. If it was bang-bang play I could see how they could have missed it but it wasn’t even close. The end of that game was completely changed by the refs. Not guaranteeing a Nugget win with a call there but the ending would have been a lot more dramatic.

  • LC

    I am not sure that you can call the rest of OKC’s offense a joke. Maynor looked spectacular off the bench, and you can’t expect Harden and Ibaka to miss those easy looks every night. Look for them to shoot much better in game 2. That being said, Denver looked pretty good last night. Overall, they looked better than the Thunder. The Nugs lost at the free throw line. I don’t know if I can blame them though. That arena gets LOUD. Also, who knows what would have happened if the refs caught that offensive goaltending.

  • wawo_kalbo

    im an okc fan and just went to this blog out of curiosity with regards to the postgame analysis of game 1. the author of this blog and the commenters are very very classy. that is all. keep up the good work and looking forward to an excellent series!

  • LC

    I agree with Wawo_Kalbo. I too am an OKC fan, and I think that this blog and its readers are fantastic. Keep up the good work.

  • doktarr

    nugoftruth, the bottom line is that the refs choked. They swallowed their whistles for much of the fourth quarter. There were a number of wild sequences towards the end of the game where they allowed a TON of contact (some by both teams) without any calls. One that stood out to me was the sequence where they reset the shot clock because they said Galinari had possession (while sitting on the floor) before coughing it up. That’s an extremely questionable position on the face of it, but even if I take that as granted, it’s obvious that Galinari didn’t just spontaneously cough up the ball there. If he had possession, he was fouled. You can’t have it both ways.

    My least favorite call of the night, though, was the blocking foul called on Nene in the first quarter. Put a video of that play next to a video of the charge called on Felton in the fourth, and explain to me why one was a charge and one was a block. I dare you…

    Unfortunately, stuff like this is a big part of why home court matters so much in the NBA. Basketball is hard to officiate, referees are human, and the crowd influences their calls. That’s really just how it is, and it’s not going to change. Maybe if the trade had happened two months earlier, we would be the ones benefiting from this. Oh well.

    • Kalen

      Yeah, agreed on the calls. That’s what always frustrates me more than anything — when the same exact play happens on both sides of the floor, but only one team gets the call. That’s just flat out, in-your-face evidence that the officiating was either biased or bad. Whether you want to admit it or not, that goal-tending call did change the complexion of the game, as you mentioned. We we’re on a 11-2 run at that point (or something close to that), and the Thunder were completely stalling on offense. If they didn’t get that bucket, it would have been three or four straight possessions where they went dry, and there’s a really good chance we would have scored a bucket on the other end. I’m not saying we would have won, but it definitely would have changed things, and to think of how dead obvious it was just sucks even more.

  • Peter

    Well, I agree with Charlie about the OKC offense. I think Harden missed a couple open looks, but overall I their other guys weren’t really doing anything. Who knows, maybe they pass more if KD wasn’t hot.

    And that “tip in” non-call was weird. I’ll admit I haven’t read the rulebook, but it seems like they call that every time.

  • DH

    There were a lot of “what ifs” in this game that could have resulted in a different outcome. What if the refs hadn’t blown that obvious offensive interference call? What if Nene hadn’t been out of the game for 7 1/2 minutes with the injury? What if the Nugs hadn’t completely screwed up that possession that ended with the Felton 3? (Go for the quick 2 there, unless you have a wide open 3, IMHO.) What if Afflalo had been healthy? (Westbrook rarely even had a hand in his face on his shots.)

    Because it was such a close game that could have gone either way, it gives me tremendous hope for this series, although that hope is tempered somewhat by the fact that we did just miss out on a good chance to steal a road game. The only things that cause me any concern going forward are the poor foul shooting (obviously) and some of the decisions by Karl. Other than that, it sure seems as if every game will be extremely close and either team could win any of them.

    To me, the game was lost during the stretch in which Karl had 3 guards on the floor – Ty, Ray, and JR. That’s when OKC stretched the lead, even though a couple of big plays pulled us close again. I realize that one of our greatest weapons has been the Ty/Felton combo, but it’s risky in this series. And using 3 guards is bordering on suicidal. I think we have to go with either Ty or Ray during key stretches, depending on who is having more success. If there’s any doubt, use Felton because he has a little more size. Then I would go with Afflalo (if he’s healthy) on Westbrook and Felton on Thabo. If Afflalo is out, use Felton on Westbrook and JR on Thabo (you could try JR on Westbrook, but I don’t think Karl would do that). Kenyon should cover Durant. Gallo on Ibaka. Nene on Perk. If Chandler is having a good game or JR isn’t, then Chandler could replace JR. I’m interested in what other people think would be our best 4th quarter lineup. Let me know.

    The only other comment I have is that I disagree with Charlie on one thing. He says the game “may not have been pretty” and “both teams likely did not come forth with their best efforts”. Other than the last few minutes, this was a classic playoff basketball game and it more than lived up to the hype. Maybe both teams fell a little short of their best defensive performances, but the offense was astounding for most of the night. Highlight plays were everywhere. It was a great, great game. In fact, one of the ESPN analysts (I think it was John Hollinger?) called the first half the best half of basketball he’s seen all year. I can’t wait for the rest of the series, although I hope the results are different than last night.

  • Andrew

    DH, I agree with your comment disagreeing with Charlie calling the game “not pretty”. This was a beautiful game to watch.

    I also like the idea of playing JR on Westbrook and seeing if he is up to the task. Westbrook had far too many open looks. I think that is why he shot so well. If Karl is going to experiment, game 2 is the one to do it in.

    I also like Aussie Nugg suggestion above of playing Mozilla. The Nuggets need more boards against this team, and although the Nuggets proved they can play with OKC, I really think Karl needs a game changer…something that can mix up the dynamics that are going on. Using Moz and/or Koufos might be the ticket.

    • DH

      I just assumed that Moz isn’t healthy yet. Is he ready to go? If so, we have to give him some minutes. I believe we need to get something from him at some point in order to win the series. In my opinion, though, I don’t think Koufos is ready for this stage. Maybe some very limited minutes for him.

      • Kalen

        Karl said the other day in regards to Moz, that he wasn’t “ready.” But I didn’t know if he meant ready as in not healthy yet, or ready as in not experienced enough to play in this series. I’d certainly hope it was the first, because we need as many advantages as we can get and Moz can out-rebound Perk by a wide margin when given minutes.

  • Kalen

    So much to talk about with this game, but a few things that stand out: Karl’s bad rotations, lineups and poor set plays; the Westbrook/Durant killer combo; and of course Denver’s atrocious free throw shooting.

    If we want to win this series we have got to figure out some way to slow down either Westbrook or Durant. There was stretch in the fourth quarter when we went on that 9-0 run and during that time we doubled Durant. I don’t know if that’s a game-plan we want to continue throughout the entire series, but I definitely think it should be carried out during certain stretches of the game. Obviously Afflalo is huge, but we need people to step up. Westbrook is a great player, but last time I checked he wasn’t Michael Jordan. Trust me, I’m taking nothing away from him, as he was fantastic last night, but there are ways to slow him down. I wouldn’t label the Thunder’s offense outside of Durant and Westbrook as “a joke,” I think that’s going a little far, but they certainly don’t have huge play-makers who can create their own shot. It’s imperative to exploit this as the series progresses.

    As for Karl, I actually thought he did a fairly good job for the most part last night. He understands how to win games and I’m actually enjoying his talks in the huddle these days, as people seem to actually be listening and not staring off into space. But we cannot stray away from the things that have got us here in the first place, which is our use of depth, great defense and pushing the pace. I blame the latter two of those for the most part on the players, but Karl needs to take responsibility for the rotations. I hate to say it, but even our best eight guys won’t beat the Thunder. We have to make use of our full rotation in order to win. That’s why we’re so good, we wear teams out and constantly keep a barrage of talent coming even when the other team doesn’t. Also, the small-ball theory won’t pay off this series when you have Westbrook and Sefalosha out there. I can’t even believe Felton was guarding Durant for as long as he was. Gotta change that, but I fear Karl might be too stuck in his ways.

    I still got a lot of faith in our team and our ability to win this series. Even if we go down 0-2 I know we can win this thing. That said, it’s still gonna be huge winning this next game.

    • DH

      Concerning stopping either Westbrook or Durant… I say we should make Durant have to score 60 to beat us. In other words, stop Westbrook, Maynor, and everyone else. If Durant beats us shooting 60 percent, mostly from deep, then so be it. But you can’t let Westbrook go off on us and you can’t let anyone else be a major factor. Just my opinion.

      Obviously, I agree with you on the rotations, the use of our depth, and the over-reliance on small ball. We can’t stop Westbrook or Durant if Karl doesn’t change his ways a little for this series.

  • mikesuptown

    when nene went down i was hoping we’d get kousfos in there, since mozgoz doesnt seem ready; i think an occasional moz kousfos (if moz can go) has the potemtial to be very disruptive

    and plz put jr in so he can be hot down the stretch when we need a big shot…not this put him in out of desperation crap

    PLAY JR!!!

  • Andy

    What bothers me most from last night is our ineptitude during the last two minutes gives fodder to the “Denver can’t win without a go-to guy” argument.

    • nordmoose

      No kidding, Andy.
      I was on a bike at the gym and caught the beginning of ‘rome is burning’ on the Network – Jason Smith was hosting today (18 April). Annoyed the juice out of me, the smug and confident assessment that to win a championship, ‘teams’ are nice but you need at least one Hall’o’Famer on the squad. “Nice and cute little Nuggie team, now let the Big Boys and Real Teams, play.” was the message I heard. Grrrr. Maybe it’s true,…maybe it’s not but,….grrrrr, that smug voice’o’god Durant highlight reel positioning irritated me.
      Is it just me or do corporate sports messengers ignore or dog Denver/Colorado franchises more than the average bear; especially considering the relative success, I mean? Haven’t lived in CO for 16 years (born there, family moved in back in late 1850’s), but ‘my’ teams are still CO teams, and it just seems odd the kind of coverage that’s given.
      Anyway.
      I caught the game with Jason “the Ball doesn’t lie!” Kosmicki on the streaming feed and I can’t really offer much different than what all you fine fans have shared.

      OKC fans: I love sport and I respect sportsmanship. I’m a good fan with which to share a rivalry. I look forward to a long and joyfully and playfully bitter relationship with you. And I would LOVE to catch a game in OKC as a Nugget fan. And I will let you buy me beverages. (don’t worry, I pull my part too.)

      GO NUGGETS!!!

  • magster

    The last two minutes of the 2nd 3rd and 4th quarters killed us:

    2nd quarter: last 2:10 OKC outscored 11-2.
    3rd quarter: last 2:05 OKC outscored 9-4.
    4th quarter: last 2:00 OKC outscored 7-2.

    That’s 25-8 in those 6 minutes of play.

    Lack of mental toughness here and at the FT line, amazing we didn’t lose by more. If we can mature in either or both of these areas, we can do this.

    • DH

      Agreed. But I have to say that we usually do close out quarters very well. My hope is that it was a one-time thing.

      • Kalen

        Nah, we’re a box of chocolates when it comes to closing out quarters. There have been times when we’ve killed it, then there have been times like last night where it’s our Achilles heel. Mags is right in that it’s a lack of focus. Your mind has to be in the game every second of every quarter. I partly blame Karl for this because he’s the type of guy who only sees the big picture, and often times ignores the little things like this that help you win.

  • Chris

    Lucky to be that close at the end IMO. We got some good and 1 plays to bring it back in when it was getting out of hand. Harden won’t shoot that poorly again, he’s averaging what 16 points a game since they traded for Perkins?

    also the Goaltending is unfortunate but not why we lost. We lost because of poor shooting/decisions in the last couple minutes of the fourth.

  • Warner

    Can’t agree more with Karl’s poor lineups in the 4th. I’ll even go as far as to say Chandler should have played over Gallinari in crunch time. Gallinari’s stats were better but he never really seemed like his head was in the game. I also found myself yelling at the television demanding Karl put Lawson in and take Felton out (and I like Felton a lot). Felton’s major drawback is he can have a tendency to shoot from the hip in big situations which you saw last night. Personally, I think Afflalo should play the majority of his defensive mins on Westbrook but that’s just me. Durant is too large for him. Anyway, if it’s any consolation to Nuggets fans for poor execution in crunch time, Melo single handedly lost that game for NY last night in crunch time so I figured I’d throw that out there. Go Nuggs step it up REFFS!

  • Frontrange

    Shoot . . .if KD can hit step back threes with Martin / Chandler in his face @ 80% clip, I am ready to sit back and watch him play for the championship. I wasn’t a fan of how many time he got to the line, but I thought the Thunder boys really tough shots. No crime in that, don’t change and make them do that three more times, but don’t let Harden / Maynor / Ibaka / Collison / Perkins beat us.

  • DH

    Does anyone else think Karl should mix in some zone defense to throw OKC off? I mean if Miami can go to a zone (and they have two of the best man defenders in the league in Wade and Bron), and it can work, then why couldn’t the Nuggets try it on a limited basis? If we did that, we would have to shift it a little towards Durant, or go man on Durant and zone everywhere else. Hopefully, a zone would keep Durant outside and entice Westbrook to shoot long jumpers instead of short/midrange jumpers or layups/dunks. Basically, we would use it (sparingly) to offset our height disadvantage and to prevent penetration. The only downside I see is that zones can hurt your defensive rebounding. So that could be a problem.

    • Kalen

      Another problem is that Karl would likely use the zone with Ty and Felton, then Durant and Westbrook would just shoot over them no problem.

  • Kalen

    Afflalo out for Wednesday’s game too guys. I guess his hamstring is pretty bad still. Not a good sign.

    • DH

      Obviously, it would be great to have Afflalo back for Wednesday. But in a way, I’m almost relieved that he’s not coming back yet. Even if we lose again, I can still see this series going 7 games, with each team winning their home games. So when AA comes back, I want him to be back for the duration. I don’t want him to risk coming back too soon again.

  • Drew

    This really has nothing to do with the game itself, but I thought it was odd that the Oklahoma City community decided to do a “Blue-Out”… It looked like they were all there to support the Nuggets rather than the Thunder.

  • Richard R

    Kalen says:

    “I partly blame Karl for this because he’s the type of guy who only sees the big picture, and often times ignores the little things like this that help you win.”

    I’m a big GK fan, but I think Kalen makes a fair comment. In fact, GK admitted he blew it after the non-goaltending call by not calling a TO. He realizes (now) that his team was all discombobulated and a TO would have gone a long way towards getting their heads straight. It wasn’t so much the loss of the lead as it was the Nuggs becoming unglued and unable to perform down the stretch.

    But as Kalen and others also said, that was one of many focus issues. Or lack thereof…

  • http://Dailythunder.com OKChris

    This blog is so much better than denver stiffs. Okc fan here going to the game wednesday. Zone worked really well for teams against us early in the season. However one of Perkins underated skills (which he doesnt have many cause on the whole he is overated allthough still a great defensive post) is catching the ball at the free throw line and turning to pass.

    Since the trade zones have been abismal at stopping the scoring production from KD. The do frustrate Russell but that usually means another charge or two from him, which means he sits more which means more minutes for maynor who is a zone killer by dribbling all up in it slowly. and making good decisions with the ball.

    The best defense on kd is to put someone who weighs more and is physical on him (artest) or a defensive stopper(hill, battier). If i was karl i would just stick Kmart’s old ass on him and have him hold and push as much as possible.

    • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

      Hey OKChris, thanks for the compliment. We are big fans of the team at Denver Stiffs, but we do have different tones to our writing and that is why it is important to read both!

      The Nuggets have never been a zone team and Karl has made the comment in the past that he hates zone defenses because he does not know who to get mad at when it breaks down. It sounds silly, but with no one being personally responsible for any offensive player you can see where he is coming from.

      Playing a team as good on offense as OKC, you do not want to start tinkering with a defense you are not adept with, especially with your season on the line.

      On the other side of things, with as poorly as Denver is shooting from behind the arc, I am surprised OKC has not thrown some zone at them.

      Thanks for reading and keep on coming back for the rest of the series!

    • Kalen

      Interesting comments. I’m frustrated with Stiffs to be honest. I am still a regular, but I can’t even believe they’ve hopped on the “Durant is just Reggie Miller” bandwagon over there. I just can’t believe it.

      So I’d like to apologize for them, and all the other Nuggets fans out there who actually don’t wear powder blue/gold glasses 24/7 and understand just how great of a player Durant is. Please don’t judge the entire fan-base off of one man’s comments. And please keep coming back, as your insight on the zone was really interesting. At this point, I just don’t know if anything can stop Durant or Westbrook. Those guys seem to be on another planet. I’d love to see Westbrook go up against Rose in the Finals though, how sweet would that match-up be?

  • http://Dailythunder.com OkChris

    I read both this is more like my home blog dailythunder Denver stiffs is sbnation as I’m sure you know.

    We haven’t played one possession in zone all season so there is no way they would ever do it. I think they are satisfied to let nene dunk on our faces as long as the nugs shooters stay cold. Although there is no way the nugs will make under 5 threes for the rest of the series.

    • slimjimzv

      Not true. OKC played the fewest % of zone defensive plays in the league. . but they did play it occasionally. More towards the end of the season than at the beginning.

  • http://Dailythunder.com OkChris

    Really I am shocked there was even a percentage. I would say it would be more likely that we would stop playing d at all then play zone. We did that more this year than play zone.

  • http://roundballminingco. Tracy

    Kudos to this blog. a class act all the way. I’m an okc fan, but read a lot of the nba blogs. Lakers blogs are the worst. One guy even praised Timothy McVeigh for the OKC bombing. Classy people are just better.