Kosta Koufos and the Nuggets were out-manned all night.
Some signs the Nuggets have stopped listening to head coach George Karl ... on ESPN's featured "Wired" segment Karl asked his team to make it a 20-point fourth-quarter and for his team to take good shots. Well, with Andre Miller (25% from deep) and Corey Brewer (26% from deep) launching threes and the team coughing up a 27-point quarter that went in direct violation of what the coach asked for. Perhaps the confused Nuggets thought they were supposed to score 20-points in the fourth ... they did accomplished that by scoring 22 points.
We were also treated to the rebounding lineup featuring Ty Lawson, Andre Miller, Arron Afflalo, Corey Brewer, and Kenneth Faried. With those guys corralling any-and-all boards, Karl inserted Al Harrington for Faried to make sure the Warriors would have no chance inside or be able to get any rebounds.
Hopefully my sarcasm isn't being wasted here ... Nuggets lose to the Warriors 112-97.
Remember all that stuff I said in the preview about the Nuggets fighting for their playoff lives against the Suns? Well, go ahead and print that preview out, crumple it up, light it on fire, and sweep the ashes outside to blow away in the wind. The Nuggets playoff push took a serious step in the wrong direction, once again.
This team's only consistency is being inconsistent.
The Nuggets found themselves down 5+ points most of the night and down by as many as 17-points. The Nuggets did make one semi-serious push to make the score 92-87 with about 6:00 left to go in the game. The Warriors responded by feeding the ball inside to David Lee, where he had little opposition (Miller) for a lay-in. Klay Thompson hit a big three and then Lee put in another easy one in the paint, pushing the Warriors back out to a comfortable double-digit lead that they would not relinquish.
Karl waved the white flag just a few minutes later by inserting Julyan Stone, Kosta Koufos, and Jordan Hamilton into the game with the Nuggets down by 15+ points. It was another ugly night, too many to count.
The interior defense was non-existent for much of the game for the Nuggets and the rebounding efforts by Karl's team were ... less than desirable. The Nuggets were once again out-rebounded, this time by a 41-35 margin and Denver gave up 14 offensive rebounds and countless second chance opportunities on balls fumbled out of bounds and turnovers.
Afflalo had a nice first quarter, pouring in 13 points and getting just about any shot he wanted. After that though, he scored just three more points to finish with 16 points on the night.
The problem with Brewer ... he seems like a great guy, awesome teammate, and all around hustler. But he struggled to get minutes with the Mavericks for a reason (after coming over after the Carmelo Anthony three-way trade as a free agent) and getting wins with a Timberwolves team that was counting on him being a lottery talent, not a end of the bench guy. With Brewer playing 29 minutes you can see how much this Nuggets team is struggling to find any kind of spark. Why does Karl continue to use him when he's clanging threes at a rapid rate? J.R. Smith surely wouldn't get that kind of freedom. Hamilton has looked good in limited time and needs more run. It's a shame he's not getting his opportunity.
I'm not sure how Masai Ujiri feels about seeing the three seven-footers sitting on the bench at the same time, but they did tonight for extended amounts of time in the second half as Faried and Harrington were called on to play the five-spot.
Look, Faried is a wonderful luxury to have, but he really should not be counted on to anchor the defense and the rebounding. Faried likes to wander and fly around the ball for rebounds. He'd be much more effective playing alongside guys like JaVale McGee and Harrington. Asking Faried to box out true centers is taking away from his ability to fly in and steal rebounds from unsuspecting opponents. When he's the only one out there trying to rebound, his effectiveness is damaged.
When you're preaching defense and needing rebounds, it really isn't going to help when you play five guys under 6'8'' ... David Lee made sure of that.
Frustrating game, frustrating season, and a frustrated fan-base.
We can scream for Danilo Gallinari all we want, but this team has so many issues beyond him that I'm not sure how much of a difference he will make with this current mess.
Third time better be a charm against the Warriors Monday night ...