While curled into the fetal position, trying to concentrate on the game...I realized that my illness gave me an interesting perspective on the Denver Nuggets recent play.
Nuggets lose 114-106
They sure started off ok. With Nene pounding the Thunder inside and Ty Lawson becoming the unstoppable penetrating force Chauncey hitting a good percentage of shots for a change. It was all looking good, even after a sub par second quarter.
Then the second half came. Sure, the Nuggets managed to stay in the game but they didn't look or feel right. Something was missing. Make no mistake, with Kevin Durant making contested shot and wide open J's was not helping matters...but sometimes you just can't avoid that. (Durant finished with 44 points) It was James Harden who killed the Nuggets tonight. Left open for threes and easy drives, you just knew that it wasn't going to be the Nuggets defensive night.
In the fourth quarter the Nuggets collapsed and there was little they could do. They were just missing that special kick that really gives them a chance. I wonder what that special something is?
Chauncey Billups 30 pts
Nene 21 pts (15 in the first half) 12 rebs
Kenyon Martin 10 pts 4 rebs
Ty Lawson 19 pts 5 ast
Kevin Durant 44 pts
Russell Westbrook 19 pts
James Harden 21 pts
Jeff Green 12 pts 6 ast
What leaps out at you is there was nothing particularly special about the Thunder tonight outside of Durant and Harden. Westbrook had his hands full with Ty, and was clearly frustrated in the first half. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, they aren't good enough to overcome the absence of Carmelo Anthony. While, again, the offense moved with some efficiency in the first half...the same standing around plagued them in the second half. I have no doubt in my mind if Melo was around the Nuggets would win that game. The Thunder weren't playing exactly inspired basketball, and quite frankly...there's nothing special about the Nuggets when Melo isn't in the game. They are just an average team without him. When they needed that extra umph...they had nothing. While the defense let them down, I'm convinced it was the result of empty possessions on offense. At one point in the fourth the Nuggets went eight straight offensive possessions without a score. And the Thunder weren't exactly running "Boston Celtics" type defense at the time.
Good news is, they play the Sixers tomorrow at home. With the way the Nuggets play at home we can probably chalk up a win.
Meanwhile. I'm going back to bed...