In a loss that could have been foreseen even if one was blind, an exhausted Denver Nuggets club lost to the Portland Trail Blazers 97-117
It's times like these that you get philosophical. Nuggets just need to ... Stay Frosty
For those who don't know, one of my favorite band's is the Mighty Van Halen. Not Van Hagar, not that crap that was produced with Gary Cherone (uhg). Van Halen, led by David Lee Roth. Its times like these that you look at the week gone by and get frustrated, angry, even want to throw your hands up and stop caring. I throw on some VH and suddenly I'm smiling. I understand that I'm only 33, and VH is a bit older than I should be listening to. I can't help it though. I think everyone has a group, or singer, or something like that they listen to to cheer up, smile, or just plain put things in to perspective.
This is a brand new song from VH's forthcoming album (released this Tuesday). It's a song about philosophy and religion. Right now, the Nuggets need some philosophy and, dare I say, some Zen. Sure, lets talk about the positives. Danilo Gallinari broke out of his slump with 20 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists and pretty much kept the Nuggets in the game in the first half. Kosta Koufos had himself a great night replacing Timofey Mozgov (clocking in at over 34 minutes, which is more than George Karl ever plays Moz) and finishing with 16 points and 12 rebounds. He was always around the basket. These are things the Nuggets need desperately. Once they get some rest, things will even out.
"...don't want 'em to get your goat? Don't show 'em where it's hid."
We "could" focus on the negatives. What would that get us though? Sure, Nicolas Batum hit three point shots from every angle, including when he was using the restroom at the Rose Garden (33 points, 9-15 from three-point land). Well shoot, we could also talk about Nene deciding to stay on the Nuggets' team plane tonight, finishing with 4 points and 2 rebounds (and defense on LaMarcus Aldridge that included gently pressing on him and seemingly giving Aldridge a slight, irritating rash) And we COULD talk about Marcus Camby finishing with 4 points and 20 rebounds, while suddenly becoming "Reboundor: Destroyer of Worlds" (yet, strangely, the Nuggets out rebounded the Blazers 42 to 41). I'd rather not dwell on that though. (I COULD also talk about how utterly awful Arron Afflalo has looked lately...but I won't)
It was clear the Nuggets, after mid-way through the third period just ran completely out of gas (after making a furious comeback to close the first half 53-59). As I told a commenter in the second half game thread, the Nuggets are one of only a handful of teams that were forced to play two back to back to backs this season (thank you so much David Stern and the league office) and this would kill ANY team with fatigue. It was predictable and predicted. Yes, we would have liked to see the Nuggets come away with a hard fought victory tonight - but in hindsight that would have been almost impossible. A b2b2b, combined with the largest snowstorm to ever hit Colorado in February conspired to give the Nuggets a two game losing streak (losing four of their last five).
"...you wanna be a monk? You gotta cook a lot of rice"
It looks like Ty Lawson is rounding into some shape. After five consecutive sub-par games, Ty seems to be shaking off that ankle injury and he finished with 16 points and 5 assists. I didn't have too much problem with George Karl's rotations tonight because it didn't seem to matter much. The Blazers are a good home team (that's about it) and once they expanded their lead in the third quarter you knew what was coming. Signed and sealed. Right now the Nuggets must rest up for Monday night against the Houston Rockets. No more snow storms, no more cross country flights from west coast, to Denver to the Pacific Northwest. Done.
Nuggets of Wisdom
This difficult stretch of basketball is behind the Nuggets. Now they must focus on a three game home stand that includes some rest. They need to take advantage of it and regain some of the ground they lost with this recent slide. Hopefully Moz will heal up. Hopefully Gallo will continue the aggressive play from tonight's game and take that in to next week. Hopefully K2 can continue to impress in limited action, and hopefully Ty can continue to have good games.
One sour note though. Tonight was Chris Andersen's 7th DNP-CD (Did Not Play - Coach's Decision) so far this season. I don't know if the handwriting is on the wall for Birdman to be moved, or if he is so far in the dog house that he can't get out of it. Who knows? All I know is, if you aren't going to play Bird, you might as well trade him. Tonight would have been the perfect time to throw Bird in there with Moz injured, but he was nowhere to be found. I think this is as clear an indication as we are going to get that something is amiss. I feel bad for him, but it's clear he has lost several steps this season. Maybe it's time to move on?
At this point who knows. It's onward and upward time, and quite frankly the Nuggets have a good opportunity to make a run with some wins at home starting with Houston. Take care of business and get back on the winning track is the way to go.
Van Halen - Stay Frosty (full version) (via LibertyLynch)
Twitter: @jmorton78 https://twitter.com/#!/jmorton78