my gut tells me the Nuggets come out with some pride tonight, and if they keep up these habits, they will continue to see more and better things on a nightly basis.
What idiot wrote THAT?!?!? Wait, I think I was that idiot. The first half of the first quarter (the first eighth?) of tonight's Denver Nuggets game against the San Antonio Spurs was a close game. At the six minute mark, the Nuggets led the Spurs 13-12. I'd like to stop the recap here, but...
As in Wednesday's game, things started to slide ever so slightly. The Nuggets started missing shots, stopped defending the 3-point line, and yielded to everything the Spurs decided to do. The active verbs in that last sentence all amounted to a traffic wreck for the Denver Nuggets once the bench came in late in the quarter. Marco Belinelli got hot from the uncontested three point line, Darrell Arthur did not, and suddenly an even contest became an eight point deficit at the quarter. (Belinelli finished the night with 27 points on 10 of 15 shooting from the floor, including six of nine from the arc. Somehow the Nuggets still seemed surprised every time he got the ball.)
To begin the second quarter, Darth hit a three... and maybe things would turn... around... But all was not on Darth tonight. He and Timofey Mozgov struggled mightily down low (Mozzie was two of five on DUNKS), Ty Lawson could not get much of anything going early, and the Nuggets just watched the half slip away while San Antonio built a 19 point halftime lead (they stretched it to 21 at one point), and you had to hope the Nuggets could mount a comeback similar to the one they did Wednesday night, maybe even pulling out a win.
But even though hope is a good thing, maybe the only thing, tonight's Spurshank Redemption was NOT meant to be. Tonight, poor effort throughout the third quarter led to a 27 point deficit at the 4:30 mark, and a 23 point difference by quarter's end (97-74). The Nuggets were simply slow at most every turn, and it was contest to see if the Nuggets or their fans who stayed would lose interest first. It was a close call.
Highlights (lowlights) of the fourth quarter included the emptying of both benches, a several-minute-long Wave by the fans, and a 35-point deficit TWICE in the quarter. That and me saying the word "Duck" a lot. I think it was Duck, anyway. I've blocked a lot from my memory at this point.
Bottom line, the Spurs take their sweet streak to sixteen, the Nuggets lose their home-game win streak, and also turn in their most apathetic performance in days. The Nuggets have a couple of days to sit in the corner and think about what they've done before the Memphis Grizzlies roar into town trying to maintain their place in the playoff race (currently sitting in the seven slot in the West)
Short list. Maybe Kenneth Faried, who put up a double-double with 18 points and 13 boards, and may or may not have been a defensive liability. It would have been tough to feel with every other defensive liability on the floor. Once it got rough, the Nuggets did not answer the bell as they have of late, and I'm betting there will be some interesting chatter amongst Brian Shaw and the team after this one. Hard to pick another performance that rose above "decent" across the team.
Mentioned before, but Darrell Arthur went three of 13 from the floor, including one of six from three point range. Timofey Mozgov struggled mightily down low, and although he may have missed out on a few foul calls, he was playing poorly and rattled from the get-go. Quincy Miller finished with two points in 24 minutes as a starter, and aside from a pretty block on a Tim Duncan layup, was ineffectual as the Spurs vets turned him inside out play after play.
Final score, 133-102, Spurs over Nuggets... And I'm not sure it was that close. Anyone left out there, Nuggets Nation?