Well...the only way to describe the Nuggets effort in the second half was pathetic. While it seemed like the Dallas Mavericks could hit any shot they wanted, the Nuggets decided that layups were scary. Couldn't make one to save their lives.
Nuggets lose 112-95
Maybe Dallas is just a bad matchup for the Nuggets? Seems like they can't get anything accomplished against Dallas' defense and length. Length. That's an interesting word. You know, it seems like good coaches in basketball that have length tend to use it. Rick Carlisle seems to understand this and use it very effectively against opponents. Man, it comes in handy when you have that advantage. Man ... I wish the Nuggets had...
...wait a minute. THEY DO! Huh, curious that we didn't see much of said length in this game. More on that later.
The bad news. Andre Miller suffered a shoulder contusion sometime in the first half. Basically threw the offensive flow of the second unit completely off and Ty Lawson was forced to play almost the entire game. On top of that, while attempting to block a shot at the rim Danilo Gallinari fractured his left thumb. The bad news is he fractured his thumb. The GOOD news is it's his off hand. Not sure how that will affect his game going forward. Now word on how long Gallo will be out.
On top of that the Nuggets just couldn't seem to get anything going. Arron Afflalor was the best offensive weapon the Nuggets had tonight (24 points) and Wilson Chandler acquitted himself fairly well in his first game back (13 points) but quite frankly that was it. The Nuggets were sabotaged by poor defense, small lineups and a stretch in the fourth quarter where they missed 6 straight layups (let that sink in 6 straight layups). It was brutal to watch.
It didn't help that Dirk Nowitzki was going all Dirk Nowitzki on the Nuggets (33 points 11 rebounds 6 assists) and it occurred to me late in the game that the Nuggets strategy of putting the shortest forward on the court to "bother" Dirk may not "bother" Dirk at all. Just an observation. However, the Nuggets couldn't stop anyone and it was a poor effort all around, which was curious indeed. Least forgiving was making Brandan Wright look like the second coming of Moses Malone. Inexcusable
Sloppy, uninspired playing and coaching all conspired to give the Nuggets another disappointing loss at the hands of a team they used to dominate with other players. Sad to watch. Rick Carlisle has done a very nice job these last couple years with maximizing what he has on the court and using Dirk to the best of his abilities. In that way it seems like he was the best coach at the game.
Nuggets of Wisdom
I'm not going to blame this loss on George Karl. The effort in the second half was awful, and the team seemed to lose heart after both Gallo and Dre went out of the game. However, if there's one consistent criticism I have of Karl is his lineups, and tonight's "effort" was bad. A true center was only on the court for the Nuggets for 25 minutes. That's it. Meanwhile the likes of Gallo (in the first half), Al Harrington and Kenneth Faried were left playing center against much bigger players.
WHY? For the love of god WHY!! It makes no sense. If you are going to play someone at the center position you have FOUR ON YOUR BENCH TO DO SO!! Why on earth wasn't newest acquisition JaVale McGee on the court? Why wasn't Chris Andersen on the court? Why wasn't Timofey Mozgov on the court? Kosta Koufos seemed to be the only big guy that played, and he got schooled by Dirk. Ridiculous.
There are many, many, many other factors as to why the Nuggets lost tonight, but it's starting to get tiring to see Karl once again trot out his "trust guys" when we have advantages on the bench. It's getting harder and harder to make excuses for it and at this point why should we. There is the FACT that Dallas seems to be a much better team than the Nuggets, but that doesn't excuse the blatant disregard of an asset on the bench. If you have length, use it. Period.
On to the next game.
Twitter: @jmorton78 https://twitter.com/#!/jmorton78