As mentioned in yesterday's column, if George Karl wants to take it easy for three-and-a-half quarters, if the Nuggets don't want to run any plays, if the substitution patterns are to remain erratic and the team keeps winning at a .645 clip, I can live with it. But this shtick clearly doesn't work against good teams and I'm starting to wonder when Karl and the Nuggets players are going to realize this.
Tonight's loss was not against the Atlanta Hawks of yesteryear, and yet the Nuggets played them as if they had New York Knicks jerseys on: taking the first half off, lolly gagging through the second half and then, at the halfway mark of the fourth quarter, Karl finally stood up and started "coaching."And I won't pin this entire loss on Karl, either. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith's shot selection was atrocious and Melo's turnovers were even worse - he actually dribbled the ball out of bounds early in the game because he was unaware of where he was on the floor.
When will this Nuggets team start beating good teams already?
For those scoring at home, the Nuggets are now 6-11 (.353 winning percentage) against teams with a +.500 record and 3-4 at home against such teams. So it's not like it's a road thing.
As I've stated on this blog since its inception, we as fans don't expect the Nuggets to win every game. We might whine like we do, but we're not that stupid! What we do expect is for the team to give a competitive effort on a nightly basis. And all too often against the NBA's elite, it seems as though the Nuggets are content with taking a loss knowing that a bad team is around the corner to pad their win column.
Fortunately for the Nuggets, that next bad team is Toronto on New Year's Eve. I'll give Karl and the Nuggets credit for not dropping a game to a bad team yet, but at some point they will. All teams do. And unless Karl and the Nuggets build some consistency with their rotation and play calling (or, check that, start actually calling plays) soon, the way in which they are navigating their way through this season is going to bite them in the ass.