I use terms such as “feel-good win” or “moral victory,” but there is only one term that describes the loss that the Denver Nuggets were dealt by the Golden State Warriors and that is “U-G-L-Y. Denver ain’t got no alibi. They ugly. Yeah, they ugly.”
It’s the absolute truth when Denver lost another heartbreaker, 105-106, and there were clear issues that need to be addressed, but with a tough road schedule over the next 7 games, don’t expect the fix to happen anytime soon.
First, the good…..
Kenneth Faried, despite his early foul trouble and the incessant ramblings from twitter analysts about his lack of defense, was sensational. He had a pair of chase-down blocks that were phenomenal. In addition to those two blocks, he had three additional ones, his numbers may have been on the low-end, but you would have to be blind not to see the type of impact player Faried is. If there is one player that should never be on the trade block for Denver, that is Faried. Every other player on that roster is tradeable, but Faried is not to be touched. He’s pure talent, skill, heart and hustle and he gets better with every passing week.
Gallo was effective in the first half and efficient with a total 20 points, 9 rebounds, but would disappear and appear to be ineffective in the fourth quarter. Andre Iguodala nearly had the game-winner if only there was an extra .2 seconds on the shot clock; he accumulated 22 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and three steals, but once again, not enough offense was presented for Denver in the second half.
Ty Lawson had flashes of his former self during the game and ended up tabulating 17 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists, and 4 steals, but he disappeared during times when Denver an extra bucket.
The offense was inspired the second quarter; three-pointers were going down, penetration, and ball movement, but one-quarter of fantastic offense isn’t going to cut it.
It was great to see Jordan Hamilton get some burn in the first half, but after a mistake, he didn’t see any additional floor time. He’s getting the J.R. Smith treatment and it’s horrendous to watch, especially when Corey Brewer can chuck shot after shot, and let’s be clear, Brewer is NOT the answer.
Free throw shooting was improved — Denver was 19-of-24 — from the charity stripe, it’s still not good enough until it’s over the 80% mark. Three-point shooting was improved as well, but Denver needs to be a consistent 40-50 percent three-point shooting team, but Denver’s most reliable shooter from downtown, Hamilton, needs to see more minutes, especially in the second half.
GEORGE KARL’S 4th QUARTER DECISIONS AND HIS LACK OF DRAWING UP PLAYS WAS TURRIBLE!
There. I said it.
George Karl was thoroughly the ugliest part of this loss; that inbounds play was just horrible. If he wasn’t going to use JaVale McGee — for all intents and purposes, he looks lost on both sides of the floor — he should have used an Iggy catch-and-shoot on the 3 seconds play, not the atrocious cross-court-lob to the shortest player on the court. ARE YOU SERIOUS? It was just bad.
Also, the fact George Karl’s love for Corey “I’m good as an energetic defensive man, but I chuck up shots, which kinda negates my defense” Brewer. Seriously. Kenneth Faried can not –at 6’7″ — defend David Lee or any stretch-four or center for that matter. Kenneth Faried is amazing at so many things, but Karl is expecting him to do things he just can’t. You know what would have worked? No, not freaking Brewer, but rather one of your seven-footers.
The thing with George Karl is this, he’s a good coach — despite what Nuggets fans think — he is that. Teams just don’t accidentally get to playoffs, but George Karl is s so in love with his style of play, the small ball, he forgets — or refuses – to make the adjustments to the opponents lineup. This will continue to be a problem with Denver IF they can’t make free throws, IF they can’t find consistent three-point shooting, and IF they can not play four quarters of basketball, there will be more horrible single-digit losses.
Takeaways from the game ……
Denver’s offense is coming along, even if it comes and goes, it’s improving. Gallinari and Iguodala are becoming more effective and efficient with their shooting as well as their defense.
With that being said, Denver will still be at full strength when Ty Lawson decides he will be 100%. Point blank. He’s the missing link in many of these losses, as well as Karl playing his bigs.
He has several seven-footers, he has to be decisive in the manner he uses them as well as the front office regulating George Karl in these close games.
No time to panic.
The NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint; Denver has played 11-of-16 on the road and, well, Denver is pretty damn lucky to be just at .500.