You would think that after getting absolutely punked in a playoff game, a professional basketball team would come out the next game ready to make a statement or maybe show a bit of pride. If you’re referring to the Denver Nuggets, you’d be dead wrong.
Utah ran the table for the second game in a row, handing the Nuggets a ridiculous xx to xx loss. The Jazz were sparked by the return of Mike Conley, who got the easiest 27 points of his life while shooting 7-8 from three. In the frontcourt, the Nuggets avoided Rudy Gobert like the plague - they couldn’t defend him as he scored 24 points and grabbed 14 boards, and on offense the Nuggets were petrified of even going anywhere near the basket. Here’s a crazy stat: the Nuggets starters only shot two free throws the entire game. No willingness to attack, at all.
Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 15 points but giving him any sort of credit in this game is an absolute disservice. Jokic quit tonight. He’s the catalyst for how this team plays and he looked like he couldn’t have cared less about the game. Unfortunately, nearly all of the Nuggets followed suit.
The game was over after the first quarter and in a rare playoff moment the entire fourth quarter was straight garbage time. If you were fortunate enough to not have watched this game, you really didn’t miss anything.
There is an exhaustive list of X’s and O’s and schematic things and lineups that Denver just straight up did wrong, but the biggest problem is that they had no heart, no pride and no effort. It’s like they thought they could walk into this series after sweeping the season series and not game plan or do anything else and be okay. Meanwhile, Utah read Denver like a book and had an answer for everything the Nuggets tried.
The series is 2-1 Utah but it sure feels like it’s over.Game 4 is Sunday. Will anything change?