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Denver Nuggets: Pressure Prompted

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NBA: Denver Nuggets at Brooklyn Nets
Mason Plumlee and Torrey Craig apply a little pressure to DeMarre Carroll
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

You lollygag your way around the first quarter... You lollygag your way around the second quarter...

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“I get by with a little help from my friends... No, you’re on the third, you @#$%&$.”

The first of those sentences was sung out loud, actually. It was meant to represent the Beatles tune you know and most of you love, statistically. I was in the back seat of a four-seater car that had six people in it. It was a little stuffy, and the song had just crashed in a way I was hoping the car wouldn’t. We’d recently found out that a song we’d originally been contracted to learn and sing was meant to be a two-parter, leading into the song we were now desperately trying to learn. We’d learned we needed to know it about four hours before we were supposed to go on. We were scrambling to not embarrass ourselves in front of a couple thousand people as we drove over an hour to the gig.

A few hours later, the show was over, and I’ll be damned if the song not only came off without a hitch, but might have been one of the more successful things we’d done that evening.

It was probably the worst thing that could have ever happened to us.

We learned we could lollygag. We learned we could pull something successful out of our nether regions and work a lot less hard than we had before to get the job done. As we continued to get bigger and bigger opportunities, that habit bit us a couple of times before we got our act together to be as well-prepared as we’d been in the past. It was a painful but valuable lesson. Some chances you just don’t get back. It is simply so easy to give in to the pressure-prompted response cycle. I can have how much for how little?

Your Denver Nuggets have suffered a series of slow starts to games of late, coming out of the gates with a lower-third ranked defense, and disjointed offense. To their credit, they found a way to dig themselves out of nearly every hole they got themselves into over that stretch, and turn those games into wins. They found out they could dig down deep, and come back from several sizeable deficits. But boy, does it take a lot of energy to scramble back.

Denver has had much better first quarters in each of the last two games they’ve lost, rectifying the habit that was taxing them so heavily. Sadly, they simply shifted those disappearing acts to other parts of these two losses, going defense-light in at least four of their last eight quarters. With two of their defensive stalwarts on the bench in Gary Harris and Paul Millsap, the Nuggets still had moments of defensive exceptionalism, but far too many others where they decidedly gagged on a lolly. The film and box score show where the holes were better than I ever could, but it was apparent the patchwork had worn itself a little thin in a few spots. Even so, nearly every Denver player had a lapse or three during the game. After all that, the Nuggets stormed back to within three points late in the game last night, after letting the deficit sag into the twenties. Brooklyn was sweating a little at the end. Denver’s pressure prompted response just kicked in a little too late.

There is so much to be excited about with these Denver Nuggets coming into the All-Star break. They’ve exceeded even the most optimistic preseason prognostications thus far, and are three games away from a wildly needed breather to refocus and heal up before pushing to the postseason. Three games. 144 minutes. A gross. Let’s see how many of those minutes are neither gross nor lollygagged upon. Please leave your adverbs below.

Poll

Three games left until the All-Star break. Philly, Miami, Sacramento. The Nuggets go:

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    win, win, win
    (127 votes)
  • 2%
    win, win, loss
    (14 votes)
  • 2%
    win, loss, win
    (16 votes)
  • 55%
    loss, win, win
    (332 votes)
  • 4%
    loss, loss, win
    (27 votes)
  • 7%
    loss, win, loss
    (45 votes)
  • 0%
    win, loss, loss
    (5 votes)
  • 5%
    loss, loss, loss
    (33 votes)
599 votes total Vote Now