In another perplexing, head scratching, odd loss to the Memphis Grizzlies ... the Nuggets fail to score much in the second half and end up losing by three 94-91
If you could find Ty Lawson, could you tell him the Nuggets needed him tonight.
I'm not going to sugar coat it. This loss was frustrating to the point of fury. Several Nuggets had bad games. Two of which (the Nuggets best players) decided to take the game off offensively. I'm speaking of course about Danilo Gallinari and Lawson. The team really could have used those guys tonight.
Gallo did other things. He had 4 assists, 5 rebounds and played shut down defense on Rudy Gay (who only had 7 points, and 0 points while Gallo was guarding him). As usual though, you need your best players to score and Gallo was not looking to score at all. It was reminiscent of the game the Nuggets played against the Philadelphia 76ers earlier this year when Gallo shot the ball just three times, but played great defense on Andre Igudala. It is odd to see these games where Gallo doesn't shoot the ball much ... however if history is any indication Gallo usually follows these games up with an offensive explosion. So we can only hope.
Ty's game was more frustrating and a real head scratcher. He finished with 5 points on (on 2-4 shooting). But he wasn't creating with the ball. No driving. No real aggressiveness. He finished with 4 assists, but you could argue that Gallo was actually a more affective point guard that Ty tonight as Lawson had 6 turnovers (as did Andre Miller, 12 turnovers by the two point guards tonight). This, my friends, is why I have a hard time anointing Ty the point guard of the future. He just has these moments where either he lets the fouling get to him (and Memphis was fouling quite a bit) or he just mentally checks out of the game. You may be saying, "Jeff, you are giving Gallo a pass and being hard on Ty". This is true, but to my eyes Gallo was trying hard and giving effort on every play. Gallo was playing great defense and trying to be a playmaker (although this lack of shooting by him is REALLY annoying). In the meantime, Lawson does not contribute when he's not scoring. It's frustrating.
As for the end of the game ... folks, that is not why the Nuggets lost. Sure, I could pick apart George Karl's decision to sub in Corey Brewer (who was great tonight with 15 points and 6 rebounds) for Ty Lawson instead of Andre Miller , who was AWFUL down the stretch and fumbled the ball away on the last possession when Denver needed a three to tie (he still finished with 14 points 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 6 turnovers). Yet, I have come to terms with the fact that Karl seems to pick his end of game lineups out of a hat at times. I could scream until I'm blue in the face and no one will hear me. However, the Nuggets lost because they couldn't overcome their own mental mistakes in the second half. Plain and simple. These things will come back to bite you every time and the Nuggets couldn't overcome their own miscues. You CAN blame Miller for the poor perimeter defense on O.J. Mayo. No way Mayo should have been as wide open as he was, Dre just won't close out and leaves opponents wide open.
Nene Hilario had a good game with 15 points and 7 rebounds and actually played very good defense on Marc Gasol. Arron Afflalo's shot was a bit off tonight, but he still had 10 points. Chris Andersen had some productive minutes and apparently the Grizzlies though his face was a punching bag because the Birdman was frequently grabbing his head or face in pain. Al Harrington was both good and bad tonight, scoring when the Nuggets needed some points (15 points), but also frequently fumbling away the ball at crucial times (3 turnovers).
Bad loss, shake it off and go on to the next game.
Nuggets of Wisdom
The Nuggets cannot win without Gallo and Ty being productive on the offensive end. They must work out the kinks and go forward. This played a critical component to the loss tonight. This offense cannot be a finely tuned instrument without those two contributing big time. I love Gallo, but we can't have nights where he shoots the ball four times. Ty can't let a couple of bumps and bruises (or whatever it was) keep him from being aggressive. The time is now to change.
As for the rest, the Nuggets need Kosta Koufos and Timofey Mozgov back, if only to serve as space eaters in the middle. This affects the defense greatly and hopefully both will be back soon. Who knows if Wilson Chandler will be back this season at all. The trade deadline is coming up on Thursday, and it will be interesting to see if the Nuggets will make a move. I'm not holding my breath, but you never know what's around the corner.
Nuggets need to forget this one and move on.
Twitter: @jmorton78 https://twitter.com/#!/jmorton78