Is there anything positive to take out of game two? I think there is.
If you wanted to argue that had
I am going to address the defensive end of the game today and then tomorrow focus on the offensive side of things for the Nuggets (which was really pretty poor).
There has been a great deal of discussion regarding what type of defense the Nuggets should try to play. Many people almost completely dismiss the idea of playing zone at all, even if it just to change things up here and there. I charted all of the Lakers half court possessions to see how much the Nuggets played zone as well as how effective it was.
The number of possessions and points will not add up to the total number of possessions and points from the game because I removed possessions where the Lakers either scored in transition or in their early offense. That fact may reduce the accuracy of what I compiled, but I wanted to take a look at how the Nuggets did in half court situations when they were able to set up and implement their plan. Of course, that is assuming they had a plan and all five players remembered what that plan was.
Over the course of the game the Nuggets played man to man 71 times in half court situations and the Lakers scored 83 points on those possessions equaling a defensive efficiency of 116.9. Not good. There were 21 possessions where the Nuggets played a 2-3 zone during which the Lakers scored 19 points. That translates to a defensive efficiency rating of 90.5. That is pretty good.
There was also one possession where I was pretty sure the Nuggets were playing a 1-3-1 zone until I realized there was no other possession in the game where they played a 1-3-1. I then went back and watched the possession again, and again, and again and again. After that I really had no idea what defense they were in. The Lakers scored two points on that possession giving the hybrid zone/man/chaos defense a defensive efficiency rating of 200. I hope they do not play that defensive scheme again.
Granted this was far too small of a sample size to draw any concrete conclusions, but it is pretty obvious the Lakers have little problem scoring on the Nuggets man to man defense. I may go back and check the man and zone splits for game one, but it all depends on how perilous spending that kind of time with my head buried in my laptop would be to my marriage. I am already in dutch for watching Cloverfield on Tuesday night at midnight without Mrs. Pickaxe.
It is clear that the Nuggets man to man defense has some deficiencies. When the Nuggets play man to man I understand having Kenyon Martin guard
I have really grown to love Eduardo, but he has no chance on
The Nuggets quickly realized that was a poor idea and Linas Kleiza took over after a couple of minutes. Unfortunately that did not help.
The other observation I will make regarding
I was not impressed or even really encouraged by
The problem is I believe Melo does not see the benefit of giving it his all to make things hard on
If only Melo, and the other Nuggets for that matter, would realize that is where the true glory lies.
Other (Defensive) Observations From Game 2:
- The Nuggets also did a little too much switching on screens, and even just cutters, when they were playing man to man. There were situations where Melo would get stuck guarding Gasol or AI was on Luke Walton. There are absolutely instances where a switch is the best thing to do, but the Nuggets seem to switch because of their desire to exert the least amount of effort possible.
- I expressed concern before the series that the Lakers take care of the ball well enough that the Nuggets would not get the turnovers they need to jumpstart the fast break. So far that has been accurate.
- Marcus Camby was playing very well and had 15 rebounds when the Nuggets went ahead for the first time in the second half with six minutes left in the third quarter. Marcus played another 12 minutes, but only totaled two more rebounds. When Marcus left the game for good with just under three minutes left in the game the Lakers were up by 18. I am not saying the Lakers rally was Camby's fault, but he certainly did not do much to alleviate it.