The Denver Nuggets haven’t been that successful in the postseason; to be honest they have resembled a team of mediocrity once playoffs begin due to the slowed tempo, tightened defenses, and half-court setting.
They have struggled with shaking the “first-and-done” stereotype from their repertoire.
Could this be the year they move to the semifinals? Perhaps.
The key is homecourt advantage, and after a BIG win over the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday night, Denver is within striking distance. While, Memphis isn’t going to start losing multiple games, the key is, Memphis WILL lose a game and Denver must capitalize on those nights that the aforementioned occurs.
Let’s be honest. without Wilson Chandler Friday night, Denver loses; they get blown out. It’s that simple. There’s been substantial rhetoric that Chandler wanted traded from the Nuggets organization (this came from translating tweets) and Denver fans have unfairly criticized him. Wilson stepped up when Danilo Gallinari and Andre Iguodala were both struggling. Denver made seven three-pointers, 6 of those belonged to Wilson. He played exceptional defense for multiple possessions on Kevin Durant, and he ran the floor.
I realized when I’m a little fond of Chandler and it’s the fact he’s cold as far as his emotions; he’s like a poker face and last night he had a Royal Flush.
However, fans shouldn’t expect Wilson to drop 35 points again. It was just ONE of those nights, but I do think 15-18 points of the bench would be an acceptable amount to contribute to the team.
Ty Lawson struggled offensively a good portion of the night, BUT he hit a BIG shot when Denver needed a player to perform in the clutch. That was Lawson, not to mention he pushed the tempo most of the game until the final six minutes when it seemed Andre Miller was playing sixth man for the Thunder.
I’m labeled as a Miller “dick-rider” – although, I think it’s because I don’t HATE a player for silly things – but he nearly lost Denver the game. He couldn’t guard Russell Westbrook to save his life and allowed Reggie Jackson to walk past him. He slowed Denver’s tempo as Denver was outscored in the final quarter 28-20, and killed Denver’s momentum. Before that six minute stretch, Denver had their gas to the pedal; enter Miller who was the brake.
As much as a lot of blame is to be placed on Miller, George Karl gets a brunt of the blame as well. He coached a near perfect game when he pulled starters when they were a liability on both ends of the floor – Kenneth Faried – but his selfish trustworthiness in Miller is an issue and in such an important game as this one, it nearly killed Denver.
Cut the cord, Coach.
With that being said, this was an excellent game. Denver protected their homecourt once again and the bench outplayed the starters.
Denver’s starters: 34 points, 15-of-45, and a -29
Denver’s bench: 71 points, 28-of-50, and a +39
It’s not often that Denver’s bench out produces the starters in a drastic way, but it was readily appreciated Friday night; just understand don’t expect this type of production. nor should one base future games solely on this win.
I may have not highlighted the exceptional game – and defense – from Corey Brewer, whom it took Thunder over three quarters to adjust to; JaVale McGee had an effective minute allotment during this game – sans a few flubs – as he altered shots and kept possessions going.
There was good takeaways and a few bad ones, but all in all, this was a solid win for a team fighting to gain homecourt advantage.