Oh well. This game wasn't competitive from the opening tip, and it seemed like the only players who were able to get ANYTHING going was Danilo Gallinari who finished with 20 points in 30 minutes on 8-12 shooting (he didn't play the fourth quarter). Gallo was drawing charges, throwing his body around trying to get steals, guarding (with mixed results) Tiago Splitter, Kawhi Leonard (who guarded him most of the night) and Matt Bonner. You could tell he cared. I believe the whole team did but were just overmatched by a superior Spurs team. (Should be noted Kawhi Leonard had an amazing first quarter 15 points and didn't miss a shot)
After that first quarter, the Nuggets never recovered. Closing to within 17 points in the third quarter, but the lead soon balooned to over thirty and in the fourth quarter the bench was cleared and we were in line for extended garbage time. Joy of joy's. Even Ian Clark got in there when the lead got close to 40. Aron Baynes had 18 points tonight. That's just unacceptable on every single level.
Some minor bright notes. Gary Harris provided some energy in the fourth quarter. He still struggles with his shooting, but he is getting better and better on the defensive end. Jusuf Nurkic got extended garbage time minutes ... while he had foul issues in the first half, he managed to stay out of foul trouble in the rest of the game and finished with 6 points and 9 rebounds. Clark got a small amount of playing time.
Now for the bad notes. It was another kind of blah game for Ty Lawson. It's hard to translate to the average person what Lawson is capable of, and what he delivers. You can tell when it's not all there, and when he doesn't lay it out on the line. While Gallo was out throwing his body around in a meaningless game, trying for steals and guarding everyone ... Ty sleepwalked his way to 7 points and 7 assists. It's frustrating because you KNOW he is capable of more even when he half asses it. Tonight he wasn't even there. It's sad and extremely frustrating.
Kenneth Faried was overwhelmed by having to play Tim Duncan. No question. He wasn't getting foul calls, his shots were often left short and that affected the rest of his game. Sometimes playing a 6'7" center has it's advantages, against the Spurs it was a definite disadvantage. I give him points for giving it full effort, but he just had no chance. J.J. Hickson was so bad I hate giving him space in the recap. Which leads me to this point ...
Sometimes Interim Coach Melvin Hunt struggles with rotations. Over-relying on Hickson repeats a horrible offense of the previous coach. He has struggled at times adapting to the lineup changes of the other team, and will put forth some perplexing lineups. Tonight we saw that. Now, with the current arrangement ... we don't know the reasons certain players don't see minutes. Why Joffrey Lauvergne never saw the floor is up for interpretation.
It's just another loss. The Nuggets aren't losing ground in the Lottery race anymore (for those that care about such things) and are now 28-48 with the Los Angeles Clippers coming into town tomorrow night. They are firmly in the 7th lottery position with the Sacramento Kings just above them. Such things have no interest to me, but since so many people like to follow those things I've decided to throw it in.
On to the next.