The Denver Nuggets live on points in the paint. In game 1 of their playoff series with the Los Angeles Lakers, they had no problem getting into the paint, what they had a problem with was scoring once they got there. The story of the game was the triple double by Andrew Bynum who completely controlled the lane defensively for the Lakers.
All hope is not lost; the Nuggets need to simply do a better job of taking advantage of the times they get in the lane. Denver finished with 44 points in the paint, a respectable total, but when you consider how many more points they could have had if they did not offer up so many meek attempts that were thrown back, there is hope Denver can get their offense back on track. In the Film Room session below, we take a look at what Denver must do to improve their offense in the paint.
The most difficult matchup for the Denver Nuggets in their playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers is Andrew Bynum. Bynum is the dominant offensive center in the NBA and the Nuggets must make sure that he does not score at will. Unlike in the past when the Nuggets bigs consisted of Nene, Birdman and Kenyon Martin, Denver has plenty of size to attempt to matchup with Bynum and Pau Gasol.
Out of Denver’s four centers, the one who does the best defending Bynum is Timofey Mozgov. In the Film Room segment below I have strung together six clips from the April 13 game where Mozgov is defending Bynum.
The Los Angeles Lakers are a very good defensive team. A big part of that is they do a good job of forcing their opponent to go to their second and third option on offense thus encouraging their opponent attempt low percentage shots. Against the Nuggets L.A. will attempt to pack the paint and close off the driving lanes to the basket. As a result the Nuggets will be able to get open looks from the perimeter, but they are low percentage shots. In the following Roundball Mining Company Denver Nuggets Film Room segment you can see the Lakers’ philosophy of remove the first option and close off the lane in action.
The Roundball Mining Company Film Room is back! Today we are going to compare the Nuggets offensive execution against Oklahoma City in the second quarter to their offensive execution at the end of the fourth quarter. Maybe there is a reason why they struggle at the end of close games.
The film does not lie. Free flowing offense getting shots in the lane versus standing around and awaiting the inevitable horrible shot. I have no idea why they get away from what works in an attempt to do things the way everyone else does. The devotion to iso heavy stagnant sets with one player who is not suited for the role tries to play hero is baffling. Surely over his long and illustrious coaching career George Karl has picked up a few nice plays to run in that situation.
What is interesting is the group that was moving so well was comprised of players who most fans would expect to struggle to score. It looks to me like they could teach the starters a thing or two.
I have written about how the Denver Nuggets have a low defensive IQ. There have too many breakdowns in communication and positioning that should not be happening at this point in the season. In their hard fought 124-118 overtime loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder there was a perfect example of that. On a key play in the game where Denver needed a stop, they had two players fail to think and communicate. The result undermined very solid defense by their teammates.
Al Harrington has been a Denver Nugget for over three weeks and I have yet to show him the respect of a proper Film Room segment. Today that unfortunate streak comes to an end.
In this segment I take a look at what Al Harrington can do, and not do, offensively. We had a lot of material to work with thanks to his 43 point outburst against Denver last season. Watch the video and then we will dig a little deeper into what Harrington has to show us.
Video after the jump.
The Utah Jazz are a very sound offensive team and they devour teams that make even the tiniest mental or physical errors on defense. Right now the Denver Nuggets are making some big mistakes and some small mistakes and Utah is gorging themselves on each and every one.
Fortunately, Denver does not have to play perfect defensively to defeat the Jazz, but the clearly must play better. Below you will see clips of individual mistakes that can be easily remedied through communication or increased focus and attention to detail.
The Denver Nuggets played tremendous half court defense against the Phoenix Suns in their 105-99 victory at the Pepsi Center. Below is what was originally supposed to be a few clips that turned into a mass quantity of clips documenting the Nuggets’ successful implementation of their switching scheme.
A couple of things I forgot to mention in the video was that switching defenses are usually employed to prevent a team from getting open perimeter shots. Give the coaching staff and players credit for having the guts to implement the switching scheme and stick with it. Secondly, I forgot to mention that Nene and Kenyon did a very good job of not reaching. It is easier to reach than move your feet and they both expended the additional energy to play defense with their legs and not their arms.
The one comment I will make is I was disappointed that George Karl fell off the wagon and chose to play Anthony Carter over Ty Lawson and Arron Afflalo. The Nuggets won and Carter obviously did not make any crippling plays, but I thought Lawson was doing a good job of defending Nash and Afflalo was playing exceptionally well defensively. I would have greatly preferred to see Afflalo in the game down the stretch, but as the Nuggets did pull out the victory it does not make for a very convincing case.
Even so, as was pointed out during the Altitude broadcast, give Carter credit for answering the bell and playing solid basketball.
I also thought the Suns desire to push the pace probably contributed to their downfall. Coming off a tough home game the night before against the Magic, their breakneck pace probably contributed to the outcome in the Nuggets’ favor. The Suns ran Denver out of the gym in the second quarter, but in the second half the Nuggets were much quicker to loose balls and seemed to have a little more spunk to their movements. Plus we have seen the Nuggets settle for jumpers when they become fatigued and I think the Suns played into the Nuggets hands a little bit as they settled for jumpers for much of the second half.
Congratulations to Denver on a good win, but as I pointed out after the loss to the Pistons, the Nuggets do not prove their worth winning home games, but winning road games. Still, a loss to the Suns in that situation would have been devastating and Denver deserves credit for pulling out a hard fought win.
I thought it was interesting Michael at Valley of the Suns mentioned the game last January where Grant Hill lost his balance at the end of a game in Denver. I expected the no call against Nene at the end against Nash would bring back old memories of that finish for Suns fans and I guess it did.
With Carmelo Anthony out for three to four weeks the Denver Nuggets are going to have to pay a little more attention to detail on offense in order to earn good shots. So far they have done a very good job in the first halves of their two games they have played without Melo. However, in the second half of those two games they have stopped moving without the ball and attacking the rim. They begin settling for outside jumpers and as a result their production really falls off. They got away with it against the Miami Heat, but the Nuggets basically handed the Detroit Pistons a win due to their poor second half execution.
For my very first Film Room segment at RMC I have compiled some clips from both halves of the Detroit game to show the stark contrast between how the Nuggets have played offense in the first half compared to the second half.