This game had a weird feeling to it from the start. If one thing the first half told us, if the Nuggets put forth any kind of sustained effort throughout the game this would have been a win. However, due to an obvious case of the blahs the Nuggets didn't put forth that consistent effort and lost to the Phoenix Suns.
The Nuggets were led by Andre Iguodala with 17 points and 9 rebounds, and Danilo Gallinari came in with 15 points and 9 rebounds. If we were shown anything in this game it was that you are going to get tremendous rebounding from the wing positions from the Nuggets. Iguodala did his usual solid work on the defensive end, but even then he seemed rather lackadaisical at times. Gallo seems to be getting his confidence back, but still needs to kick up the shooting percentage just a little.
Kenneth Faried was magnificent in the first half, but was pretty much non-existent in the second half, however, he did end the game with 14 points and 11 rebounds. After Markieff Morris undercut Manimal's legs, sending him crashing to the ground on his back (and come on now, that was clearly intentional) it was questionable whether or not Faried should have even been in the game.
Yet, when we boil down this game to its essence we find that the Nuggets back-court was thoroughly dominated by the Suns' guards and wings. Specifically point guards Goran Dragic (who threw in 21 points and had 7 assists) and strangely Sebastian Telfair. While Telfair only contributed 2 points, his tough (some would say multiple fouls were missed) defense on Ty Lawson completely took Ty out of the game. Ty was decent in spurts, other times he was nonexistent and had a very hard time guarding Dragic or even staying in front of him.
This was one of those, "why is George Karl playing Andre Miller this much" games. Mostly because, outside of some early second quarter lobs to JaVale McGee, Dre ended up being an enormous liability on defense (he finished with 8 points, 6 assits and 3 turnovers). He also made questionable decisions on offense. Dre has been solid this year; so I'll give him a pass for this game.
Corey Brewer came back to earth tonight. His three-point shot was off, and the energy he usually provides wasn't there. Wilson Chandler looked a bit better in this game. He hit a couple shots and got a couple rebounds. He finished with 7 points and 3 rebounds and generally looked better than he has all year. McGee had a good offenseive game, but had a hard time staying in front of Marcin Gortat (12 points) and Louis Scola (12 points). Both players took advantage of JaVale being out of position to grab offensive rebounds. This was a key issue in the Nuggets loss (not just JaVale, Kosta Koufos was also often out of position too).
Credit where credit is due, the Suns wanted this game more. The Nuggets looked like they had nothing left, and were sleepwalking through the second half. It's unfortunate, but it happens.
Nuggets of Wisdom
Not much to say other than you have to shake this case of the blahs and come back re-focused for the Miami Heat on Thursday. The Nuggets get back to Denver tonight and have two full days in between games (up next vs. the Miami Heat on Nov. 15th). The Nuggets know they can hang with the defending champions, so it will be interesting to see what happens on national television.
Keep this in perspective. This was the Nuggets fifth game in seven nights, three of the five on the road. This was bound to catch up with the team eventually. Tonight it showed. As long as the Nuggets don't let tonight's issues (poor point guard play, bad defensive positioning) affect them going forward, the team will be just fine. Remember, the Nuggets are playing an extremely road heavy stretch of games PLUS three sets of back-to-back games in the first eight. That's pretty grueling work.
Come home, get some rest, work on your free throws, and refocus your efforts. This Nuggets team has many positive things going for it, and it will be exciting to see what they will do.
Hey, at least they aren't the Lakers right?? Right??
Twitter: @jmorton78 https://twitter.com/#!/jmorton78