The odds were stacked against the Denver Nuggets as they landed in a snow-ravaged Boston early Sunday morning; not only were they on the second-night of back-to-back, but they were in THE Garden, which is one of the toughest arenas in the league, and for most of the game it looked as if Boston would handle Denver easily.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, Denver wouldn’t die – and with a friendly assist from an official – they were tenacious in their late game effort, but poor defense, an Iguodala injury, ill decision-making, and botchy games from multiple players proved too much, and Boston would end Denver’s winning streak.
Look, it would be far too easy to look at this game and point out the myriad of offensive, defensive, and coaching mistakes and adding fuel to the fire of the malcontent of fans, but perspective is needed.
Denver has went 9-1 in their past 10 games.
Denver has went 22-7 since December 13th, 2012.
Denver is just a ½ game outside of fourth seed.
Denver didn’t look like they had a chance in hell in the 4th quarter when they were down 10 points.
Denver’s winning streak was bound to end and a back-to-back in Boston was a recipe for a loss.
It’s easy to focus on Andre Miller – and he was god-awful down the stretch with ill-advised three-pointers, poor decisions, but was also important in getting to overtime – and it’s also easy to forget the other bad decisions during the game including George Karl only playing JaVale McGee only 4 minutes in the first half, playing the dual point guard lineup (31 minutes), 58.8%’free-throw shooting, not closing out on the perimeter, Kenneth Faried getting lost on defense, or Andre Iguodala’s injury.
My point is, it wasn’t *just* Andre Miller’s really, really, really bad choice, but numerous other circumstances, as well.
It’s easy to forget Denver’s tenacity and effort down the stretch; it’s easy to forget Ty Lawson’s amazing performance despite his rough start; it’s easy to forget Wilson Chandler’s defense during Denver’s runs; it’s easy to forget Danilo Gallinari’s defensive awareness; it’s easy to forget George Karl playing McGee 28 minutes for the remainder of the game (32 total); it’s easy to forget McGee’s altering Boston shots at the rim; it’s easy to forget Corey Brewer’s energetic defense kept Denver in the game.
As much negative there was in this game, there was nearly as much positive.
Does this game sting? Of course it does; just as much as losing to the Wizards, Minnesota Timberwolves, or the Miami Heat at home. And just like those were ONE game(s), this was one game; that doesn’t mean George Karl’s coaching ineptness, the fact he played Miller too much in the 4th quarter versus Cleveland, which in turn, set up the team up for failure, nor the questionable decisions from Miller or anyone not named Lawson or McGee isn’t infuriating.
Fact is, if Andre Iguodala – we’re going to assume he played hurt during the game – was Andre Iguodala, a different outcome could have been different.
Far more telling is how Denver recovers against Toronto on Tuesday.
In summary, there was no shame in Denver’s game.