Cats are sneaky animals as a rule, especially when in a hunt. And tonight the Charlotte Bobcats slowly but surely crept away from the Denver Nuggets in the second game of a back-to-back, dropping a tired Nuggets squad to 0-2 in this five game Eastern road trip. The Nuggets were never out of the game, but every run they made seemed to be matched by a run of equal-or-slightly-higher quality by the Bobcats. Charlotte rarely made it more than a double-digit lead, but...
At the end of the first quarter, Charlotte led by three points. By the half, they had tacked on another three. In the Nuggets "Kryptonite Quarter", the third, Charlotte tacked on another five point advantage, and suddenly were up by 11 against a team that looked to be running out of steam early. The Nuggets put on a solid run, and with less than three minutes in the game, were down by four, and had possession of the ball off a sweet Ty Lawson steal, and looked to be in position to possibly spirit one away from the Bobcats and foil their chances at a sixth straight home victory, a rarity in Charlotte.
Alas, that was the last of the fumes in the Nuggets tank, and shots refused to fall after that. It became primarily a game of free throws from there, and the Bobcats were far better from the line than the Nuggets (82% vs 67% FT shooting) which wrapped up the result, final score 105-98 Charlotte.
So, what went wrong? The Nuggets were obviously tired from an overtime game last night, and it was three minutes into the game before either team hit a shot. Arms were often not raised for rebounds, rotations were slow on defense (although I do think Evan Fournier was picked on in the foul department tonight. Some terrible calls against him in the game), and turnovers were still an issue. The Nuggets shaved 12 TO's off of last night's total, and still had 15 for the game. It will be interesting to see how much Denver can shave that number back on a per-game basis as they continue to work on improving themselves in these last 19 games.
The (s) exists as it was an amazingly "meh" evening for most of the squad, but Ty Lawson once again came to play. I wish he'd had at least one less turnover (four tonight), but in his 40 minutes worked for every one of his 24 points tonight, and would have had a double double (only six assists), if not for some sloppy play, especially by...
Again, only one stiff for me tonight, but "Meh" was less than meh tonight. For those who do NOT follow the naming conventions located deep with the Denver Stiffs commentary nightly, "Meh" is Wilson Chandler, and Will had a rough game this evening. 31 minutes on the floor garnered Chandler nine points and three boards, all on three of 13 shooting from the floor, including an astounding two of 10 from behind the arc. Ty might have had that double double tonight if Wilson (and others) hit a few more shots.
Nothing tragic about tonight's game in my eyes, and for the "higher draft pick" crowd, this is the result they've been looking for. What did you see tonight, Nuggets Nation?