The Denver Nuggets just got outed.
Out-hustled, out-shot, out-defended, out-rebounded (48-32), out-assisted (34-15), out-blocked......just generally out-played. You get the point.
The Nuggets played their worst game of the season, and it was as bad as the final score indicated. Wilson Chandler had 20 points and 5 assists, Ty Lawson had 14 points and 10 assists, but no other Nugget scored more than nine points in the 30 point loss.
Where Was The Effort?
The first six minutes of the first quarter was solid. Denver went to Afflalo early in the post, against the smaller Bradley Beal. Wilson Chandler was taking full advantage of the old man, Paul Pierce, repeatedly getting open for shots. Denver's defense pressured the Wizards into coughing up the ball early, pushing the Nuggets out into transition, giving them the shots they wanted early.
Their defense was active enough to keep the Wizards from getting to their sweet spots on offense. In particular, they did a great job of keeping John Wall out of the middle of the lane, enough to prevent him from skipping the ball back out to the three point line. Bradley Beal didn't score in those first six minutes, but it all changed once Timofey Mozgov (who leads the NBA in fouls in the first quarter for centers) picked up his second foul with 6:11 left in the quarter.
Then the bottom promptly fell out.
Bradley Beal hit three straight 3-pointers (two of them coming on transition baskets). You can blame Arron Afflalo for cheating to help down low, which wouldn't have been necessary had Mozzy still been in the game. In both cases I would say that it wasn't necessary and that Beal was the more dangerous player, but who am I?
Denver made some lazy decisions and had six turnovers by the end of the first quarter. More on those turnovers in a second.
Kenneth Faried was abused by....Kris Humphries. You read that right. It was a crying shame how many mid-range jumpers a man can hit, before his defender decides to put a hand in his face. In the case of Faried, he never did. That kind of non-effort was missing from everyone, except Mozzy, Chandler, Lawson (in spots), and maybe Alonzo Gee. At one point in the third quarter, Chandler had his 20 points, and the rest of Denver's starters combined for 25!
Denver's offense outside of Ty Lawson drives was non-existent. Some credit does go to Washington's defense, as they were aggressively closing out well and throwing multiple bodies at any Nuggets player that got into the paint. Lawson didn't even make his first field goal until close to a minute left in the third.
It didn't help that Denver was missing everything, open and contested. John Wall got out on the break after each of those shots for easy baskets, and lagging back on defense commenced. John Wall was literally getting wherever and whatever he wanted on the floor.
The Wizards collected forced 19 turnovers (21 points off of turnovers), 11 blocks, and 12 steals. The first three minutes of the second quarter produced a Kevin Seraphin block on J.J. Hickson's jumper, a Nene Hilario block on Nate Robinson 's 20-foot jumper (which happened on a mismatch, where Nate had Nene alone on the perimeter), and a Otto Porter Jr. block on Gary Harris's jumper. Denver turned the ball over four times, and shortly after that, the Wizards lead grew to double-digits and never looked back.
The Denver bench, devoid of a true anchor at any position, suffered through a terrible quarter that tanked the any hope Denver had. Faried and Darrell Arthur were the worst culprits, recording 5 turnovers in 18 minutes, and four in 15 minutes, respectively.
Faried was a mess, throwing the ball out of bounds, forced bad passes, and offensive fouls from attempting to do too much. This is the energetic side of the Manimal that makes you question how if he'll ever become what he gave us glimpses of during the summer. He looked completely flustered by the size of the Wizards front court.
I understand the health of JaVale McGee, Danilo Gallinari, Nate Robinson, the ineptitude of J.J. Hickson, and the inconsistencies of everyone else outside of Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler, but this was bad. It was a culmination of all three of those issues.
The Nuggets looked worn out the moment Mozzy hit the bench, but it was that stretch in the second quarter (behind a rag-tag bench full of turnovers and fouls - Nuggets lead the NBA in foul per game as a team) that really put this game out of reach early.
The Nuggets desperately need health and maybe some fresh talent, because this team's inconsistencies have it on the crash course for a .500 season.
Yet, there is some good news, I mean, they can't get much worse than this. Right?