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Furious Fourth Quarter Comeback Not Enough For the Nuggets to Overcome Thunder

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In a game the Nuggets should have won by double digits, they trailed most of the game by 20+ points and fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 102-91.

This summed up the night for the Nuggets.
This summed up the night for the Nuggets.
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

From the opening tip it was apparent that the Denver Nuggets were going to be in for a long night in Oklahoma City.  Steven Adams easily won the tip from Timofey Mozgov, ran right to the paint, established position, caught a pass from Andre Roberson, turned and delivered a nice hook shot within the first 15 seconds of the game.  The Thunder would never trail in this matchup between the Northwest Division rivals.

The Nuggets got punched in the mouth right away and could never recover.  Let's just get right into the bad things that happened tonight.

Ice Cold Shooting

Nuggets vs. Thunder Q1 Shot Chart

Nuggets vs. Thunder First Quarter Shot Chart

Nuggets vs. Thunder Q2 Shot Chart

Nuggets vs. Thunder Second Quarter Shot Chart

There wasn't exactly a lid on the basket because the Nuggets had 15 shots go down in the first half and tacked on two free throws.  The first jump shot did not go down until there was 4:26 left in the first half.  In the first quarter the Nuggets were 0-9 on jumpers and in the second quarter they were 0-10 before they hit their final two to end the half.  So for those of you keeping score at home, the Nuggets were 2-19 on jumpers (13-23 in the paint) in the first half.

On the plus side their jumpers were going in at a more efficient rate than their layups and dunks in the third quarter.  Wait, not sure that is a good thing exactly.

I am going to give the Ice Cold Chucker of the Night Award to Wilson Chandler, who shot 2-12 from the field and 0-5 from three.

I can't talk about this anymore, it's too frustrating.

Coaching

I had a few issues with the coaching of one Brian Shaw this evening and I'm just going to list them out here, feel free to agree or add to it in the comments.

1.    At what point did Brian Shaw think it was a good idea to try and not run OKC off the floor?  Did he not realize that Kenneth Faried, Timofey Mozgov and JaVale McGee were slightly more athletic than Serge Ibaka (I can't be the only to notice that he's dragging through the first three games), Nick Collison, Steven Adams and Kendrick Perkins?

2.   He realized that Sebastian Telfair was the only point guard for OKC, right?  Telfair has never been one to be in the best shape or make the smartest decisions under pressure.  Yet Telfair was never constantly pressured despite the Nuggets being much deeper at every position.  When they had Perry Jones running point they never trapped or pressured him once.  That's cool, he hasn't run point since middle school or anything.

3.   Why did Danilo Gallinari guard Kendrick Perkins for an extended period of time in the second quarter?  Perkins was 4-4 against Gallo and three of those came on consecutive possessions.  Gallo isn't exactly known for his defensive prowess in the post.

4.   Late in the game both Telfair and Andre Roberson had five fouls, but the Nuggets never attacked them again when they were on the floor.  Could have gotten rid of their main ball handler and a lanky perimeter defender.  Would had it been so wrong to have Jones as the point guard for the final three minutes, with Lance Thomas at the two and then three immobile bigs?  This goes back to point one.  Had the pressure and attack been there all game, could have potentially forced this lineup even sooner or gotten to a point where Thomas or Ibaka would be forced to bring the ball up.

Complacency

It never seemed like the Nuggets were there all night.  They were slow on their defensive rotations all night, playing under screens, leaving the Thunder wide open for jumpers, over playing guys who can't shoot and then getting burned for an easy layup or dunk.

On offense there was zero ball movement, on most possessions it was one pass, contested shot, brick, Thunder rebound and they score.

The Nuggets must have thought that they were playing a rec league team from Loveland or something, because that was the type of effort that we saw tonight.  The Thunder were missing three of their best four players and the I think the Nuggets just thought they were going to roll over and die.

They didn't and it was the team from Denver that seemed to be the ones that rolled over.  It was my worst fear about this game, it happened with Portland on Wednesday and with the Clippers on Thursday, they thought OKC would be a pushover and they competed.  Not sure why it would have been any different at home.

Positives

They all pretty much came in about a ten-minute stretch in the fourth quarter.  We learned that Ty Lawson can still take over a game.  He was 4-6 from the field, 5-6 from the line and scored 14 of his 25 points in the quarter.

As a whole the team shot 62% in the quarter and came from very close from erasing the 26-point deficit, cutting it three.  McGee was very active on defense, he even knocked down a fifteen-footer.

Alonzo Gee had some amazing defensive stops and started the fourth quarter comeback by hitting a three pointer.

What were your positives?  What do the Nuggets to do Monday to beat the Kings?

Denver Nuggets at Oklahoma City Thunder
Nov 1, 2014 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH SCORE
Denver (1-1) 17 16 23 35 91
Oklahoma City (1-2) 29 26 21 26 102
Denver Nuggets
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
Ty Lawson 34:44 8-12 1-3 8-12 2 5 1 0 7 25
Arron Afflalo 36:10 5-11 2-6 2-2 3 4 0 0 1 14
Danilo Gallinari 20:27 2-6 1-2 0-0 2 2 1 0 0 7
Kenneth Faried 25:03 3-8 0-0 1-2 6 0 0 2 1 7
Timofey Mozgov 18:01 4-6 0-0 2-2 2 0 2 1 2 10
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
Randy Foye 22:03 2-6 1-4 0-0 2 3 0 0 2 5
JaVale McGee 20:10 4-6 0-0 0-0 4 0 0 4 1 8
Wilson Chandler 17:59 2-12 0-5 1-2 7 2 0 1 0 5
Alonzo Gee 17:05 1-3 1-2 0-0 7 1 0 1 1 3
Nate Robinson 13:16 1-2 1-2 0-0 1 1 0 0 1 3
Darrell Arthur 09:26 1-6 0-2 0-0 3 0 0 0 0 2
Jusef Nurkic 05:36 1-2 0-0 0-0 2 1 0 1 1 2
TEAM TOTALS 35-80 7-26 14-20 41 19 4 10 18 91
Oklahoma City Thunder
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
Sebastian Telfair 38:35 1-10 0-4 2-4 4 9 4 0 1 4
Andre Roberson 35:25 2-4 0-1 4-4 8 5 0 3 3 8
Perry Jones 40:36 9-18 3-7 2-4 4 2 2 0 3 23
Serge Ibaka 29:41 10-19 3-7 0-0 2 1 1 1 2 23
Steven Adams 26:49 6-10 0-0 1-2 3 1 1 1 2 13
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
Lance Thomas 25:07 3-9 0-0 6-9 8 2 0 0 2 12
Nick Collison 24:04 0-3 0-1 2-2 7 4 0 1 0 2
Kendrick Perkins 19:44 6-7 0-0 5-6 5 0 0 0 0 17
TEAM TOTALS 37-80 6-20 22-31 41 24 8 6 14 102