I do not know if Golden State was not ready to play or if the Denver Nuggets were determined not to get caught sleeping on a bad team like they did in the first half against the Timberwolves, but the Nuggets sure came out of the gate fired up. Denver put up 13 points before the Warriors got on the board.
Denver finished the first quarter up by 14 and the game was pretty much over. I loved the way the Nuggets ran at the Warriors, who were playing their sixth game in the last nine days, and made sure Golden State never was able to get any confidence. Denver did an adequate job on defense against a team, who like the Nuggets last season, is a little overrated on offense due to the fast pace with which they play.
I loved the way the Nuggets played on offense and it started with Carmelo Anthony. After his record tying performance against the Timberwolves he could have chucked up a bunch of jumpers, but he looked for cutters behind the soft double the Warriors threw at him and did not settle for perimeter jumpers.
Defensively, I do not think the Nuggets played quite as well as the stats would suggest. Golden State missed a lot of open threes and Steven Jackson, who makes the Warriors go, shot a deplorable 1-13. However, even if a few more of those shots fall the Nuggets would still have finished the game with a decent defensive efficiency rating.
As ugly as the loss to the Spurs was they responded well with three wins, two of them in blowout fashion, since then. All in all it was a good win for a team heading into one of the two toughest stretches of the season. Denver gets a chance to rest tomorrow and Monday it is time to head to Dallas.
Other Observations From Game 23:
- Chris Andersen played great tonight. In only nine minutes he ended up with six points, five boards and four blocks. There was an article in the Rocky Mountain News that shared that the Birdman was still feeling the effects from his fractured rib. I think Karl is being careful with his minutes because of it. Plus Balkman was a great play at power forward against a team who likes to play small like the Warriors.
- I mentioned this in the game thread, by the way great conversation during the game everyone, Renaldo Balkman is really showing a decent midrange jumper. I always thought he could hit from 15-16 feet, but everything I read about him following the trade that sent him to Denver from people who watched him play more than me said that he was an atrocious shooter. He did get a little carried away at one point as he actually took a three pointer with fourteen seconds on the shot clock towards the end of the first half. I hope someone took him aside and informed him that just because he receives a swing pass on the three point line does not mean he has to shoot it.
- Martin is trying a little too hard to bank in shots. The backboard can be a tremendous tool for any shooter, but only if you use it at the right angle. Kenyon has tried banking a few shots where he was either too close to the middle of the floor or too close to the baseline. Tonight he took a banker from too close to the middle of the floor and the ball never had a chance.
- Sticking with Kenyon, I stated in the preview that I was not sure if I would suit him up tonight to make sure he was as healthy as possible. Well, he was taken out on a fast break with 3:39 left in the first half by C.J. Watson who was trying to take a charge which led to a Humpty Dumpty like fall and it clearly hurt that sprained wrist. I also understand the need to get him some floor time, but I wonder if it is worth the potential damage to a as of yet unhealed joint. The impact clearly hurt his wrist, but it looked like it hurt his shoulder more.
- We all liked to keep track of the Nuggets record when Allen Iverson tabbed double digit assists and that made sense to us because we all wanted AI to play unselfish basketball. We know Chauncey plays unselfish, but it may be worth noting that the Nuggets are now 5-0 when Chauncey pushes his assist total up to at least 10.
- There was a point towards the end of the third quarter where Denver got a little too three point happy. From the 3:15 mark in the third quarter the Nuggets took ten shots and eight of them were three pointers. You could tell there was an increase in the Nuggets perimeter play by the number of free throws they shot. They attempted 20 in the first half, but only three in the second which included a grand total of zero in the fourth quarter.
- The Nuggets dominated in transition winning the fast break points battle 31-13.
- It was not a great night for everyone. Linas Kleiza had a decent game as he ended up with eight boards and some decent defense, by his standards at least, but he missed all four of his three point attempts and is now shooting only 32% on the season. Anthony Carter had a game to forget as well ending up with six of the Nuggets 17 turnovers and shooting 2-8. However, he did notch seven assists and six rebounds so like Kleiza his night was not a total disaster.
- The Nuggets now have a two game lead in the division over Utah and Portland. The Jazz lost at home tonight to Orlando who was playing without Dwight Howard and have dropped three of their last six with two of those losses coming at home. The Trail Blazers have lost three in a row and they have dropped four of their last five. In fact, they are a Steve Blake three pointer with eight seconds left in Toronto from having a five game losing streak.
Razzle Dazzle Game Stats
The pace factor from tonight’s game blew the previous season high out of the water. For only the third time this season the Nuggets pace factor was over 100 at 108.4. Their previous season high was against Memphis where they had a pace factor of 104.7.
Thanks to the fast pace and the Warriors poor shooting the Nuggets ended up with a very good defensive efficiency rating of 96.8. After a stretch of six straight games with defensive efficiency ratings over 100, they have now put up ratings below 100 in three of their last five games. For the season the Nuggets defensive efficiency is down to 103.4.
The Nuggets continued their roll of impressive offensive efficiency ratings. For the thirteenth game in a row they posted an offensive efficiency over 100 and they have ended up with offensive efficiency ratings of at least 110 in eight of their last ten games. Their offensive efficiency for the season is up to 109.4 and it is a very, very good 111.6 at home. The Nuggets offensive efficiency rating since Chauncey joined the team is an equally impressive 111.2 which would be fourth in the league.
Over at Golden State of Mind they answer the question if you should believe what Nyquil tells you.