I will not say anything about the Golden State Warriors in this recap, aside from saying they played a spirited second half after falling behind by 12 points to the Nuggets. Outside of that, this game was all about what the Nuggets did, or rather, didn't do in the second half that led to what the final result does ... and a 2-1 series deficit.
You can't say enough about Ty Lawson. He is coming of age before out eyes and tonight tried to take this Nuggets team on his back and lead them to victory. Lawson had 35 points and 10 assists, and basically kept the Nuggets from losing their cool completely several times during the second half of the game. Granted, he did dribble the ball off of Draymond Green's knee in the final five seconds with an opportunity to win. However, it still remains that Lawson was tremendous tonight and deserves tons of accolades for his performance. For all intents and purposes, he out-dueled his counterpart Stephen Curry (who also came up big in the second half with very tough shots down the stretch).
Yet, after a first half where the Nuggets trapped the pick and roll consistently, and were effective in completely taking Klay Thompsen completely out of the game -- they inexplicably went away from that game plan in the second half. Leaving the same problem the Nuggets had in Game 2 exposed, bad pick and roll defense. Jarrett Jack was killing the Nuggets over and over and over again on the pick and roll because the Nuggets stopped trapping completely. It was WORKING!! Whether it was player ineptitude or a coaching decision doesn't matter, the point remains that the Nuggets cut off their nose to spite their face yet again.
Andre Miller had a poor game. He had 7 points and 4 assists, but was never "in" the game and was his usual defensive sieve. With all that being said, Andre Miller was NOT the Nuggets problem tonight. They HAD the correct game plan. A crucial 14-2 run by the Warriors in the third quarter (helped by the Nuggets settling for jumpers) stemmed the Nuggets momentum from the first half, and the game was basically even after that. I do wonder, however, if a time out could have been called a bit earlier to stem the tide a bit would have been a suitable idea. The Nuggets were floundering a bit, and it seemed like they could have used some pick me up. That's just me though.
Andre Iguodala had a great first half, and a terrible second half. Check that, he had a great first QUARTER, and a bad second half. Two crucial trips down the floor during crunch time seemed to sum up the experience for Iguodala as he made two horrendous decisions to pass out of layup attempts when the Nuggets were only down by 2. These decisions helped the Warriors keep the Nuggets at bay. This was a "oh god, I don't want to take the shot" moment where you have to wonder what was going through his mind. It seemed like Ty was the only one who wanted to step up.
Meanwhile the Nuggets didn't respond to the physical play again. This is becoming a very sad refrain with this Nuggets team. If they weren't dictating the pace, they were getting dictated to. Letting Andrew Bogut push them around is a bad sign. Yes, JaVale McGee got into it with Bogut, but it was one of those too little too late moments that you wish would have happened earlier when the Nuggets had the momentum. Alas it wasn't meant to be, as the Nuggets scored 66 first half points, but only 42 second half points.
I'm not going go get into a "Nuggets miss Danilo Gallinari" rant. We all know they do. Saying that over and over is loser talk. Quite frankly the Nuggets are a superior team even without Gallo, and they are playing like a 6 seed. That's more offensive than anything else. Whether it be Kosta Koufos becoming the worst player on the court, or Corey Brewer gambling too much and leaving players wide open for shots. While you could say that George Karl's lineup experiment with Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler "worked", without the proper execution it went for naught in a very tight game.
The Nuggets MUST win the next game. Excuses are not allowed. The pressure is on, get this win.
Twitter: @jmorton78 https://twitter.com/#!/jmorton78