The Nuggets have found themselves in a hole 0-2, losing to the Thunder in two different ways. The Nuggets lost the first game because we couldn't execute in the fourth quarter. Before the final 2 minutes, the Nuggets did their job considering they were on the road. They kept it close all game and led most of the time, however they couldn't finish.
The second game was just a bad game. We got out coached and out played. The Nuggets routinely settled for jump shots, and seemed to be allergic to the rim. We played sloppy offense, which turned into sloppy defense. Here's a comparison of the two games from an offensive numbers point of view:
1.) In the first quarter alone the Nuggets had 9 missed jump shots and only made 3 (33%).
2.)The Thunder went 3 for 10 (30%,) but they went 6 for 6 in the paint, the Nuggets went 2 for 5 (40%) in the paint in the first quarter. In game one the Nuggets went 6 for 11 (54%) in the first on jump shots and went 6 for 8 (75%) in the paint. The Thunder went 3 for 10 (30%)in the first quarter of the first game, and went 2 for 6 (33%)in the paint.
This just shows how badly we played last night. We let the Thunder score easier in the paint, and we didn't go to the paint. I don't know why we decided to just shoot jumpers. I think that lies on Karl. You have to get the guys running pick and rolls where the big actually rolls to the basket. Where did the aggressive Nene go? Why were the point guards not penetrating? Wilson Chandler sucks at the pick and roll but we kept running our offense through him at times. He doesn't have the quickness to make the pick and roll effective. We need the double barreled pick and roll game with the guards. The problem is that you need somebody who can guard Westbrook better than Felton, Chandler, Martin, Lawson, or Smith. We need AAA back, but it may be too little to late if he can't come back and perform at a high level. We need his D on Westbrook.
I hate to say this, but maybe we should put Swish on Westbrook just to see if he can do it. Also, we need to get rid of the small ball line up of Lawson, Felton, Smith, Harrington, and Bird, Nene, or Kmart. It just doesn't work against this team. How about playing big on these guys? If the Thunder get past the Nuggets and eventually play the Lakers the Lake show will use their size advantage and pound the ball inside on OKC. We may not put this line up on the court this year, but I think next year, you may see the Nuggets play big with Moz and Nene at the same time. With Chandler or Gallinari at the three, and AAA at the two, were going to be a tough team to play. I really feel that this team is different without AAA especially against OKC.
3.) The Nuggets got a whopping 12 assists last night and turned the ball over 11 times. In the first game we got 23 assists and turned the ball over 11 times as well. If we hadn't given up the ball so many times in the first half we could have made this a game.
If we are going to do anything in this series we need a win on Saturday night. We need JR to show up, and everyone rolling to the rim. We need more than 20 assists as well as some new angles on defense, and a lot better rebounding. The season has come down to the next two games. If we don't get both games in Denver the likelihood of us advancing past the Thunder are slim.... GO NUGGETS!!!