2012-13 Game 21: Denver Nuggets 106 – New York Knickerbockers 112

The Denver Nuggets faced old friend Carmelo Anthony tonight in New York and Carmelo proved to be too much as Denver’s bid to be the first team to deliver the Knicks with their first home loss of the 2012-13 season ended in another disappointment.

It has been a while since I wrote up an old school game recap so tonight is as good a time as any, although I am not planning on staying up until 4:00 AM to bang out 3,000 words as I used to when I was a younger man.

The Nuggets started off the game in strong fashion attacking the rim and running the elderly Knicks early and often resulting in an early 15-8 lead.  At that point the Knicks started pounding the Nuggets with the high pick and roll and Denver’s inability to deal with this most basic of plays proved to be the number one reason they lost their lead.

There are many different ways to combat the high pick and roll, the Nuggets chose to incorporate a mishmash of incompatible tactics as they had the guard fight over top of the screen while the big sagged back in the lane.  By doing this, you ensure the guard is trailing the ball handler while the big has to choose between the ball handler and the roll man.  In that scenario the big man is stuck in no man’s land unable to commit to the ball handler, who is several feet away when he drives off the screen, or to the roll man because if he does that, the ball handler can drive to the rim.  As a result Koufos and McGee were more often than not guarding no one, nor were they effectively defending the rim.

To make things worse, if a shot is missed, the middle of your defense is completely susceptible to offensive rebounds.

If the guard is supposed to fight over the top, the big has to hedge to slow the dribbler down.  If the big is not going to show in an attempt to protect the lane, the guard should go underneath the screen.  Of course this opens up the potential for the offensive guard to take an uncontested jumper.

The sad thing is we have seen over the years that by far the most effective way to cover the pick and roll is to have the big hedge hard on the ball handler while the guard recovers and as a result the ball handler must retreat or pick up his dribble.  For some reason George Karl prefers soft pick and roll defenses as well as lazy switching.

Despite the Knicks’ offensive onslaught over the final 18 minutes of the first half, Denver was able to stay close thanks to the exceptional play of Ty Lawson and smart movement by Corey Brewer.  Lawson continued to push the pace all half earning several easy buckets and he also made two threes for good measure.  Brewer did a very good job of finding the gaps in the lane which was proven effective thanks to some nice interior passing that earned him close looks that he converted on.

As the second half began I was looking forward to seeing what changes the Nuggets made to combat the high pick and roll.  The threat of the high pick and roll caused the Nuggets defenders to leave their man to help guard the rim and as a result one of the keys to the second half was the Knicks seven three pointers.

In the fourth quarter with Faried playing center, the Nuggets began to switch the high pick and roll, which only resulted in Jason Kidd repeatedly driving past Faried to the rim.  I guess we should be happy that there was at least a change made, even if it was just as ineffective as the first half fight over and sag (I sure hope that catches on as it looks as bad as it sounds) style was.

The Nuggets displayed a glimmer of hope that they could pull this game out posting an 18-5 run over the closing minutes of the third quarter and early in the fourth.  However, the Knicks deserve almost as much credit as Denver though as they became far too isolation heavy on offense completely foregoing the high pick and roll.  New York was able to right the ship early in the fourth quarter as Denver suddenly went cold with Gallo, who supplied 14 of Denver’s 26 third quarter points on the bench.

Down the stretch Carmelo did what he does.  The Knicks turned the game completely over to him in the final two minutes and he scored just enough to put the game out of reach.

Ultimately, the difference in the game was three point shooting and turnovers.  The Knicks converted 40% of their threes compared to Denver’s 29.4% while the Nuggets coughed the ball up 16 times to New York’s nine.

Game 21 Notes

  • It was interesting to see Igoudala covering Ray Felton.  It was a decent matchup for the Nuggets that was undermined by the fight over and sag (it just rolls off the tongue, you should say it right now, no matter where you are, look at the person next to you and say it).  On a couple of occasions Igoudala did something very weird, but it was effective.  Twice Felton beat Iggy dribbling to his left.  The natural inclination is to swivel your hips and drop step to try to recover to the side you are beaten on.  Iggy simply backpedaled while managing to stay in front of Felton.  After a couple of steps Felton dribbled back to his right giving up the advantage that he had gained by going left.  It was almost as if Iggy knew Felton would eventually drive back to his right and never gave in to the fact that he was beat.  The second time Igoudala utilized that odd maneuver he actually ended up with a steal. If one day you see players simply utilizing this technique, you will know who created it.
  • As in Atlanta we saw Ty Lawson fumble the ball away in the closing seconds.  I do not know why I had to mention that.  It is just odd to see him play so well in the first half and then fumble the ball away again.  The Knicks did a good job of defending him in the second half, but Lawson also allows himself to be taken out of games.  New York had no answer for him in transition, but because of the way they collapsed on him in the half court, he seemed to allow that pressure to take him completely out of his game.  After scoring 19 first half points on 11 shots, Lawson only took four second half shots netting four more points.  There is always discussion on RMC about Lawson being aggressive.  Too often he allows his mindset to be determined by the defense.  That has to change.
  • It was disappointing to see Denver only acquire five offensive boards, but when you consider they shot 55.6% for the game, it makes more sense.  Still, Denver’s 16.1 offensive rebound rate was their lowest of the season surpassing their 22.1 rate in the second game at Golden State, which was also a loss.
  • McGee had possibly his worst game of the season.  McGee returned to his past of poor decision making, such as his 18 foot jumper followed by an over the back foul attempting to corral the inevitable rebound.
  • Igoudala is a very good man to man defender, but he is certainly far from perfect.  One example was the last play of the third quarter.  Iggy had just made a pair of free throws to put Denver up four with 7.6 seconds left.  Brewer had been guarding J.R., Miller was on Pablo Prigioni, and Igoudala was covering Melo.  Melo had committed his fourth foul on the preceding play and was replaced by Ronnie Brewer.  On the inbounds play Iggy did not realize he was now supposed to be covering Brewer as he shadowed J.R. who was inbounding the ball.  Smith passed it to Brewer who passed it back to J.R. Iggy realized Miller was on J.R., but instead of finding Brewer, he simply drifted up the middle of the floor.  Iggy never found Brewer only half-heartedly looking over his shoulder at one point.  J.R. launched a three pointer with roughly 2.5 seconds left.  Igoudala took a couple of steps into the lane as Brewer rushed past him and was able to tip the rebound in just before the buzzer sounded.  It was the kind of play I expected Iggy to prevent his teammates from making when he arrived.  It was a mindless and lazy defensive mistake that made a difference in the game.
  • There have been some rumblings of Carmelo for MVP, but I saw the exact player who toiled in Denver.  He is a very good offensive player, who fails to make his teammates better and does not take advantage of his fine passing skills.  We even got to see the classic “Melo Tenacious D” out at half court with too much physical contact that eventually results in a foul as Melo turns away in disgust.
  • Sticking with the topics of former Nuggets, I am glad J.R. Smith has found a niche in New York. He plays hard and you can see he is not worried about getting pulled if he misses a couple of shots.  He did not shoot well tonight, but he did not take any horrendous shots.  He is playing hard on defense and you can tell he likes playing for Woodson.  I have always been a J.R. fan and hope he can thrive in MSG.
  • It must drive George Karl nuts to see the Knicks employing his small ball strategy so well especially employing his former franchise player.  The Nuggets struggled to take advantage of the Knicks small lineup.  On several occasions Jason Kidd was matched up with a much large player, but only one time did the Nuggets get the ball into the post and the result was a Faried dunk.  On one occasion Gallo had the ball on the left wing and took a contest three instead of dumping the ball to Faried on the block.  There were even instances where Kidd was covering Koufos and Kosta never went to post up.  There are many occasions where teams try to exploit a matchup like that only to get taken out of their offense and doing more harm than good, but when you have a point guard covering a center.  You should probably try to post the center up.
  • I have been completely silent on the George Karl debate that is continually ongoing on RMC, but I will say I expect much more from George Karl as coach of the Nuggets.  I would love to hear an explanation regarding what he expected to accomplish by his choice of their style of defense against the high pick and roll.  I suspect the answer would be partially to protect against their three point shooting, however, Denver’s inability to defend the paint was the trigger that opened up the three point line for the Knicks.  At one point we saw a beautifully designed play out of a timeout by Mike Woodson that encompassed two crossing high screen and rolls with Tyson Chandler diving to the rim. The result was a very easy alley oop.  It only underscored part of what a head coach’s job is.  When you have a chance to run a set play, you should run it.  George Karl has been a coach for decades.  He should have hundreds of set plays in his head, however, when he has a chance to call one, he never does.  Look at what the Nuggets do out of timeouts, even at the end of games.  They run their regular offense, and as a result, end up getting very average shots, sometimes even horrible shots.  At the end of close games after timeouts it looks like the only instructions the players receive is for Lawson to take the ball and do something with it, regardless of how often that type of play fails.  I also get incredibly frustrated with Denver’s half-court offense.  It deserves a more in depth post, but suffice it to say, there is only ever one thing going on at a time and is incredibly easy to defend.  For a coach who claims to cherish player movement and passing, his offense possesses almost none of those characteristics.  The bottom line is Karl has had tremendous success at the NBA level, but there is no evidence on this team of his effectiveness.  This team is compromised with a lack of focus and no attention to detail.  I realize this is overall a young team, but the core of this team has been in the league at least four seasons except for Kenneth Faried.  The mistakes they make belie their experience.  Karl must show me something over the final few months of the season if this team is going to avoid being an incredible disappointment.
  • Well, over 2,200 words and 2:15 in the morning and of course, only cursory proofreading.  I cannot believe I used to do this all the time.

Game 21 Stats

Pace Factor:  97.0 – It was a fast paced game that was fun to watch.  Denver did a lot of their damage on the break compiling 25 fast break points over the aged lineup of the Knicks.

Defensive Efficiency:  114.0 – Unacceptable, fifth worst mark of the season.

Offensive Efficiency:  110.7 – Adequate, they did not lose this game because of their offense.

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  • Tonia01

    The problem is not the D. I was disgusted by our attack after the first half. One thing is run and fast break, another thing is one pass one shot, whoever is the first player who gets the ball: that’s not professional basket, it is nonsense. Our best players never get in rhythm, sometimes are excluded from the game for minutes. Gallo has been playing as the pick&roll screen maker the whole first half without receiving one decent ball to play. Players need roles and continuity, look any other team in the NBA, they have schemes that put their best players in conditions to play their best game. We don’t. Gallo is not playing at his best, Iguodala is not, Ty is not. Is it a coincidence ? I guess not it is just bad coaching.

    • http://knickerblogger.net Nick Ruland

      The basic problem is that the Nuggets have built a team that should be playing at the fastest pace in the league, and should do a lot more trapping like Karl’s teams did in the ’90s.

      The problem is that the Nuggets players are not particularly smart or passionate enough to make such a defensive scheme work. Maybe that is GK.

      Offensively, they don’t have the shooting to make a real half-court offense work, not that GK would ever implement one anyway, but they aren’t good enough on defense to create the consistent transition points they need.

      This team has a lot of physical talent. The Nuggets are probably the most athletic team in the league.

      But they have no identity, they don’t have a player they can run an offense through in the half-court which kills them in close games (Andre Miller is the best shot-creator on the squad which is scary)

      and again, they just don’t play hard enough on defense. Maybe that’s on GK, too.

  • ChuckinJapan

    For what we were expecting Iguodala has been not even close. Defense not as stout as advertised. He only takes hard shots and dunks. Worst of all his body language is terrible. He sulks, hangs his head and looks like a bummer to play with. I hate to rag on the guy as I think he is better than what he has shown, plus I took some giant lecture courses with him at UofA, but his play and demeanor are way below what they should be.

    • al68

      who trade Iggy? Ujiri. He is very bad GM

  • http://Knickerblogger.net Nick Ruland

    As a long-time Nuggets fan, it’s a shame that you ( Jeremy) don’t recognize the ways Melo makes his teammates better offensively. Statistically, Carmelo has consistently improved his teammates efficiency relative to their career norms. The now famous Nate Silver dedicated analysis to that effect prior to the trade. Melo makes his teammates better in the same way Dirk Nowitzki does. The contrast between the Nuggets and Knicks half-court offense was not just the difference in executing high pnr( only one team has defended the Felton/Chandler high PnR well this year) it was that one team–the Knicks– had a player who could create offense for himself and open shots, rotations from the defense and thus ball movement for his team by simply catching the ball and dribbling it into the paint.

    Carmelo’s assist numbers are down this year because the Knicks perimeter passing is perhaps the best in the league, meaning whatever defensive attention Melo creates on the block that comes back out to the perimeter leads to crisp around the horn passes for the open shot.

    Also, you pointed out the two fouls Melo commuted but failed to mention the job he did in isolation against Iguodola and Lawson, while also keeping Koufus and Faried off the glass.

    Melo is not the best player in the NBA, but he’s an MVP candidate this year, and many times in your analysis, just line tonight, you underestimated his impact. It’s disappointing that fellow Nuggets fans choose to pretend that the second best stretch in franchise history is largely attributable to Carmelo Anthony.

    And while still flawed physically relative to Lebron and Durant, is playing smart, elite, team oriented basketball on a team that fits him better than any in blue and gold.

    Melo has matured, Jeremy, wouldn’t you know it?

    • GK4Prez

      His assists are down, but….. Another post made by a typical Melo Homer, find an excuse for an area he continues to not improve in, and then go onto to say he has matured. I agree with Jeremy, I saw the same old Melo.

      • http://knickerblogger.net Nick Ruland

        He set his career high in assist percentage last year and look where that got him? But he’s playing less selfishly and smarter this year, in large part because of his teammates. Melo is who he is, which is to say he’s a less efficient, higher usage (which is good for an offense), more versatile version of Dirk Nowitzki. He influences defenses the same way, and like Dirk, he creates a lot of hockey assists and shoting opps. for teammates.

    • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

      Hi Nick, you are correct that Melo draws a lot of defensive attention and that does allow his teammates more quality looks, but he is capable of so much more. Plenty of players had career best years playing alongside of Allen Iverson too, who actually did accumulate decent assist rates to directly help his teammates score. I do not think Iverson is seen as that type of transcendent player who makes his teammates better either. I really want Melo to succeed, I was not upset he found his way to NY as I thought it was the right time and the best thing for both he and the Nuggets if he was traded. I write that to try to show that I was not watching the game looking for any and every opportunity to rip on him. He obviously played a very good game, but I did not see any additional maturity or growth. It was clear to me he was motivated facing his former team and played with additional passion and purpose. So I should have been more clear that while Carmelo does help his teammates, he has never taken that next step of raising the level of play of his teammates. Maybe I am expecting too much, but simply drawing defensive attention is the least a player with his talent should do.

      • http://knickerblogger.net Nick Ruland

        I think this distinction you make between helping teammates and making them better is pretty nebulous.

        Also, while Carmelo is a good passer, and certainly can playmake on occasion out of the pick and roll or when his drives attract attention underneath the rim, he is not a drive and kick kind of player. He is much more of a post-up/ isolation player who demands attention and passes out of double teams like a Dirk Nowitzki.

        So, I’m not sure where you believe he has this great untapped potential for being a great playmaker, as you seem to imply.

        He is not Lebron James. The Thunder are trying to turn Kevin Durant into a playmaker, and he’s more mobile than Melo.

        The interesting this is that Melo has a higher career assist rate than Durant (and Nowitzki) of course. Durant has a really high turnover rate as a playmaker, so I’m not sure if that’s his best role.

        See, the thing is, the Knicks are not trying to turn Melo into Lebron James like Mike D’Antoni did. But they aren’t just giving up on the whole thing like George Karl did (Karl’s patented no structure offense)

        They have surrounded Melo, one of the dominant offensive forces in the league, with players who complement the many things he does well.

        He is shooting 43% from 3 not just because of the work he’s put in on that shot or that his wrists and elbows are healthy, but also because Woodson’s high pick and roll creates spot-up shots at Melo’s best spots– the slots. (Melo also shot an extremely high percentage there when D’antoni played him off the ball when he first arrived).

        Melo is getting more off-screen action, running high pick and roll in certain situations (Melo the last two years is one of the elite pnr scorers in the NBA), and posting him and isolating him within sets after the defense has had to change positions.

        Carmelo has the 7th highest +/- in the NBA, and the Knicks, one of the best offensive teams in the league, are 16 points better with him on that end when he’s in the game — that is a staggering number, almost as much as the point differential per 100 possessions between the best and worst teams in the league.

        And, as someone who watches both teams, Woodson at this stage of Melo’s career, is a much better coach for Melo and really, a much better coach in general.

        Melo has matured, though I think he could have matured much earlier had he been immersed in this kind of situation.

        He is making a lot more of the smart , extra rotations and hustle plays on defense. Doing a great job of keeping his bigger defender out of the paint (he’s an elite post-up defender with his great hands)

        He is letting the offense come to him, and often come to him out of another primary shot-creation mode — the high pick and role.

        He’s never played within a system that has the personnel hat helps create assisted shots for him.

  • Thomas

    I must say I got tired of watching Nuggets games – there is just nothing to look forward to with this coach and his “strategy” or lack thereof. I’ve been a fan of this team for 20 years and the turn-off of horrendous line-ups, two-guard play, non-existent defense, lack of plays, “glue player” favoritism is just too much for a fan that wants more than a “one and done” in the playoffs.

    Yesterday, for example, we finally started to click and were up by 8 in the second half. Knicks call a time out and the camera zooms into GK scribbling on his “drawing board”. Sure enough, Knicks come out and outscore us something like 17×2, largely on the heels of a Nugget line-up with no center (against Tyson Chandler nevertheless!) and Andre Miller on the floor with Lawson and Brewer and Gallo on the bench (after finally coming alive).

    Basketball is a team game that is won mostly on the defensive end. We play Andre Miller almost 29 minutes last night, just because he is a “glue guy” in the eyes of Karl. Corey Brewer, who I think is a great 15-18 minute player, is now playing starter minutes and clucking 12+ shots per game, while gambling and losing on defense (for every steal he makes he lets his man run by him and score a couple of times). A line-up with Lawson-Miller-Brewer-X-Y will never stop anyone, let alone win the rebounding or long distance shooting battle.

    I don’t know what GK wrote on that drawing board – probably something like “give keys to Miller” or “take center out against Tyson and look foolish”… Whatever it is, it’s predictable and never works.

    The worst thing that could have happened for us was Andre Miller winning the game against Indiana. That cements GK’s convictions that his glue guy is the answer to our problems. Similarly, last year Miller won a game alone against Philly, and from then on it was the Andre Miller show until we were eliminated in the playoffs.

    For every game Miller wins for us (maybe one in 10, but only in the regular season), he will cost us dearly on the defensive end every game. He hinders Ty Lawson’s development, for better of worse. He changes our pace and doesn’t allow chemistry to develop for the starting unit (if he plays 25+ minute per game). He takes minutes away from a shooting guard, whoever that is (we won’t know with GK here).

    Game plan was simple yesterday, when we were up by 8. Defend the paint with Faried and KK, let Ty drive and dish the ball to Gallo (as he was feeling it) on offense, put Iguodala on Kidd and Gallo on Carmelo (double team him down low). That was it.

    GK chose to have Miller and Ty on the backcourt, no center and no shooter (Gallo on bench). When he put KK back in (when it was almost over), he took Faried out!

    We got beat by our terrible coaching. Same story, different year.

    • John

      Agreed…. I’m not even going to add anything.

    • Barry

      This is such an awesome post!

  • allAround

    Some notes from my side :

    Such bad defense.

    When a screen takes place the situation was like that our center was guarding the other teams guard and then this guy was serving the Ny’s center for easy bucket . Problem was that our guards are COMPLETELY sleeping and 1. they do not try to “break” the screen . 2. They do not try to push away the opponent’s center. Perhaps this is an issue related with the the fact that TY is small. But in any case this pattern killed nuggets yesterday.

    2. Who Boxs out ?? Most of our players when the time has come for a rebound they just look the ball. This is a mistake . Defenders should first try to look at the opponent and try to box him out ( do not give him space to come close to the paint ) and then watch the ball. But no in nuggets our players behave the same for offensive and defensive rebounding …..

    seriously those are elementary level mistakes . It is not a case of Karl to learn to some players the basics . Those kind of mistakes show little focus. Some players are sleeping during defense and wake up during Offense only.

    Regarding Offence I think we are scoring well . No basics mistakes there . However we should try have Gallo more relaxed I mean Gallo should not guard the PF of the other team . This is making him more tired and Gallo is our main weapon .

  • jp

    How do you lose a game when you outscore your oppenent in by 30 in the paint, plus your oppenent misses 11 free throws??? love the nuggets, but they’re the only team capable of losing a game under those circumstances…

  • Kyle Obergfell

    GK did nothing to stop the pivotal game changing momentum swing to the Knicks. As he has done so many times before.. He sat on his ass and watched. No substitutions, no time out to cool them off.. just a spectator like the rest of MSG.

    • Ryan

      Agree. What exactly does GK get paid for again?

  • steve

    typical game that shows why GK needs to go. We shoot 56% and still lose. Lawson and Gallo both showed up on Offense and we still lose. Brewer has a nice game off the bench along with them and we still lose. Why? when you give up 12 threes and lose the turnover battle. You blow an 8 point lead half way thru the 4th. His D schemes are terrible. As someone who watches tons of nba with league pass, GK is one of the worst. He never adjusts. He never counters anything that the other team does. Theres a reason why he’s been a coach for so long and been to finals only once! He’s not a big game coach. We need a big boy coach in Denver with this team.

    Another thing that’s been driving me nuts is Faried. How terrible is Faried on Defense. He’s becoming real close to David Lee type mentality. i’m sick of seeing -10′s on the scorecard for him, alot of times even in games we win. You would think his rebounding would prove otherwise but he gets beat so often that it really doesnt matter. Sad that the team is much worse when he’s on the court than off it. I love the kid but they need to work with him OT on D.

    • Thomas

      On GK, agree with you. I watch tons of NBA league pass and it’s clear that we have a large coaching deficit.

      Regarding Faried, I don’t agree. If this was his 4th year, I would agree. Guy is being asked to defend the much bigger PFs and is in fact struggling to do it. But he is learning and there is no one that can do what he does – make us a top 5 rebounding team. That’s invaluable.

      Put it this way, if he were on Pop’s team or Doc’s team, he would be allowed to play through mistakes (get 35 minutes per game at least), would get more favorable defensive match-ups and would always be flanked by a center and a PF.

      • clive

        Faried is an undersized 4′s who has no range to his jump shot. yes, he runs the floor well and really goes after rebounds. but he’s a liability on half-court offense and defense. we can’t play him alongside one of our 7 footers too long b/c it clogs up the middle, and there’s no room to cut or post. (faried’s man would just sag off of him). we can’t play faried as a 5, because he’s too small. even if he develops a jump shot (not even 3 point range, but 10-12 ft), it’d do wonders to the spacing on our half-court offense.

        • clive

          see ibaka

    • nugswin

      It’s true, Faried’s D is a liability. A big one. It’s not that he’s not good at it, it’s that he’s nest to useless at it. People like to compare him to Rodman but there really is no comparison — at this point it is obvious that his ceiling as a post-up defender is “gets good enough to not be a liability, especially at the end of games.” Rodman was one of the better post-up defenders of his generation.

      His defensive problems combined with his inability to shoot should have Nugget fans a little less high on him that I see. Right now his trade value is super high, Masai should be using that chip in his talks with other teams.

  • GIANLUCA

    gallo leader of nuggets..
    KARL FIRE.. in 12-0 Gallo and Iggy on the bench FIRE KARL

    ps LAWSON AND BREWER ARE EGOISTIC AND DON’T PASS THE BALL AT GALLO …

    • Kw

      Great post. Right to the point and spot on.

  • Keith

    Regarding Faried its not fair to evaluate him just yet. At the end of every game he plays center as GK wants to go small ball regardless of the opponent. As others have said, GK is going with Miller and Lawson and neither one is a legit defender or shooting guard. That leaves Faried as the only post defender and rebounder and the kid is worn out. Gallo won’t rebound if his life depends on it. He’s 6’10 and averages 5 rebounds (give me a break). GK has 3 seven footers on the bench the last 6 minutes of every game. Plus this team consistent of the same type of players. Not focused, not basketball intelligent and don’t have a game plan for the opposing team. Masai should start making calls for a new coach and trading one seven footer and Lawson and Miller.

  • Ckwizard

    Faried, Brewer, McGee All have bad tendencies when playing defense. All three are at their best offensively while playing with Miller, why because Faried, Brewer, And McGee all struggle to create their own offense in the half court. Miller is also not a lock down defender. Defense was the problem last night and it was simply because the worst defensive players were on the floor together for a long time in the fourth quarter. This is on GK and his rotations. Give credit to GK where it is due the starters minus Faried have good defensive chemistry and are keeping us in games and have given us leads late in games.

    It is amazing how people fall in love with Effort (Brewer and Faried) Talent and Athleticism (McGee) All three of these players are good players yes but the only way they can really get better is by improving on their fundamentals ie ball handling , passing, defensive positioning, blocking out. There is a reason to Kosta Koufos having a high + and it is because he plays with the other players Igoudala and Gallo who have good fundamentals all though Igoudala needs to improve with ball handling. Kosta plays sound basket ball that supports the “team” concepts almost all the time.

    If you can go back and watch the The fourth quarter of the Knicks game and only that quarter. You will see the worst basketball played by a unit this season and I’d doesn’t stop until Gallo and Igoudala come back in and Brewer and McGee leave. Fareid goes on to struggle and finally GK puts Kosta back in.

    The most amazing thing is that GK has the patience to watch a line up struggle and do nothing because he miss managed the game and had Gallo and Igoudala play the intire third quarter and they needed to rest.

    • clive

      agreed. mcgee ALWAYS bites on pump fakes.

    • clive

      and mcgee’s pretty horrible on pick-and-roll d. when the nuggest switch, all he has to do is extend those 8 feet long arms and he’d take away every possible passing lanes. but no, his arms are hanging by his side not doing anything. :(((

      • http://knickerblogger.net Nick Ruland

        the problem with the Nuggets is either that guys like Lawson, Iggy and Gallo are not able to execute the identity GK wants this team to have, or GK hasn’t developed an identity for it.

        I just can’t see this team changing from a collection of good role players into anything that can compete in the west.

        None of the players on this team has an alpha personality ot mindset, which is why you can’t expect any of them to develop.

        They’d be a great team with Melo, however, haha.

        • park hill

          Remember Bird? This is nothing new in Denver. One would think defensive positioning is not too hard to coach, but GK puts a priority on steals and disruption on D. Marcus Camby did it right, but those players are rare.

  • http://www.yahoo.com prospector

    What drove me nuts is when NY put Novak in the game. George Karl in all his wisdom had Faried guarding him… All Novak does is spot up for threes… that’s it…. So faried had to play outside the paint and thus his rebounding went to zero…. DID we make an adjustment? Maybe make a subsitution and move Faried inside and have a brewer or miller guard him… Anyone but FARIED…. Karl is not putting his players in position to succeed right… The book is out there on our strategy, and like chess we need to counter… COME KARL MAN UP AND COACH!!!

  • Bryan

    George Karl teams: Can’t set screens to save their lives, can’t defend the pick and roll. I wonder if there is some relation.

    This team was supposed to take a step forward this year and it looks to be regressing. And a lot of the issues appear to stem from the coaching philosophies and in game management. I think the game may have passed Karl by.

  • http://knickerblogger.net Nick Ruland

    Also, Jeremy is right about hedging, but he is wrong to say that any team can reasonably expect to have bigs with the lateral movement to execute it.

    The great Tim Duncan does not hedge on screens. Even great sceen and roll defenses like the Bulls don;t hedge screens.

    there are only a few bigs in this league who have the lateral movement to keep a guard from going around them way out on the perimeter.

    The Nuggets don’t have those bigs, which is why they don’t try to hedge screens (Kenyon Martin could hedge screens)

    Screen and roll with a quick pg who can shoot and a center who can set a good screen and finish is the hardest play in basketball to guard, expecially when you have shooters you can’t help off of.

    That’s a big reason the Knicks probably have the best half-court offense in the NBA.

  • Kw

    Switch everything. Slip every screen. No set offense. Run. Just do your best on D.

    Who wouldn’t want that coaching job?

  • JetLife82

    Anthony Randolph should start at PF with Faried off the bench. I think Andre Miller should start over Ty as well. Iggy, Gallo and Koufos deserve to be starting.

    If Randolph gets abused like Faried is, then I’d like to see Gallo get the start at PF with Brewer or Hamilton taking his spot.

  • Mark from Charlotte

    Nugget fans we will be in for another disappointing season this year. Nugget management needs to understand that GK is the problem with this team. Their is a lot of talent on this team, Ar15 and Jham should be in the rotation and this coaching staff needs to be replaced with a different staff.