While I am not pleased with the result, I definitely did appreciate the effort. The Denver Nuggets hung tough with one of the best home teams in the NBA tonight. Add in the fact that they were shorthanded, playing their sixth game in nine nights and that Chucky Atkins and Anthony Carter were on the court together for 10:16 and the fact that it was a close game is pretty impressive.
The stretch of six games in nine nights is now over with and the Nuggets finished with a disappointing 2-4 record. There is no shame in losing the games they lost. At Houston they came out flat, bounced back and played maybe their best ball of the season in the second quarter, but ultimately fell short. They were demolished by the Cleveland Cavaliers in a game where Denver did not seem to compete physically or mentally very well. The next night they battled Phoenix and still forced Steve Nash to drain two clutch threes despite one of Carmelo Anthony’s worst games as a professional. The final loss was tonight against Portland.
Did we learn anything about the Nuggets during this segment of the schedule? I think we did. Our bubble burst a little bit. There were hopes that the Nuggets may have been the fourth best team in the NBA with Chauncey on board. That is clearly not the case. Denver did not separate themselves from the second tier of teams in the west.
There is good news though. The Nuggets are clearly every bit as good as the Trail Blazers and I think when both teams are healthy and playing at their best Denver is the better team. The Nuggets played four road games during a demanding part of their schedule and even though they only won one of those four games they battled in all of them and every game came down to the last couple of minutes. At this point in the season the only teams in the Western Conference I think the Nuggets definitely lose a playoff series to are the Hornets, Spurs and of course the Lakers, but I think they have a shot at anyone other than LA. That is a great place to be for this team especially considering where expectations for them were in the summer.
The bottom line is while this edition of the Denver Nuggets may not set a franchise record for wins, they still possess a good shot at ending the five year losing first round losing streak. You also have to believe that the front office will be active in an attempt to upgrade the roster. Whether or not that gives you a warm feeling in your tummy I do not know, but
If you find yourself just too down about Denver’s 2-4 stretch just remember if it was not for the Nuggets Boston would have a 26 game winning streak instead of a 19 game winning streak.
Other Observations from Game 29:
This set of six games in nine nights is not only hard on the players, but on bloggers too. I am going to bed. Believe it or not my wife does not like when I sleep in until 11 even though I am on vacation.
Razzle Dazzle Game Stats
Pace Factor – 84.3 – Which is now the slowest paced game of the season
Defensive Efficiency – 119.8 – Clearly their defensive efficiency took a beating in the fourth quarter, but the reason was not poor defense, but fouls. Portland took sixteen free throws in the fourth quarter alone of which they made 15.
Offensive Efficiency – 109.2 – Not bad, especially with the starters shooting a combined 16-46 (34.8%).