As pointed out in the comments section of Colin Neilson’s excellent recap of the Nuggets‘ victory of the the Clippers on Tuesday night, the Nuggets have produced great defensive games in 4 of their last 6 contests. Observe:

Charlotte Bobcats110-88
at Los Angeles Clippers100-112
Los Angeles Lakers126-114
at Dallas Mavericks106-85
at Memphis Grizzlies72-81
Los Angeles Clippers – 92-78

Additionally the Nuggets held the Clippers to 39% shooting and the Memphis Grizzlies to 40.4% the last two contests.

The Nuggets have held opponents to under 90 in four of those games (three victories). In one (Memphis) both teams played excellent defense and only when the Nuggets ran out of gas at the end did the Grizzlies semi pull away. We have seen a coming together of the Nuggets defensive abilities of late, and while the constant defensive switching does still leave people open for wide open three-point shots the Nuggets interior defense has been stifling.

It's odd, that even in the loss to the Clippers on Christmas Day, you still got the feeling that the Nuggets defense was playing fairly well outside of the nightmarish second quarter. Even in the Portland Trailblazers game in which the Nuggets missed all 22 three-point shots, they actually played excellent defense for the whole game.

It makes me wonder if we have been focusing far too much on the difficulty of the Nuggets schedule, and not paying enough attention to the Nuggets actual improvement. Specifically on the defensive end. The Clippers game was encouraging for many reasons, not the least of which was the Nuggets ability to shut down Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Will these trends continue?

On to the Links

NBA PM: A Better “A.I.” for Denver – Bill Ingram, Hoopsworld
A pretty good article from Bill Ingram about Andre Iguodala and his adjustment to the Nuggets. On a personal note, while there are massive faults in Allen Iverson, the man was damn entertaining to watch. He got the Nuggets through a period without Carmelo where they might have been sunk. Even though he was a questionable influence on the young Nuggets, I have a soft spot for his time in Denver.

The Denver Nuggets’ Championship voice? – Derek Page, Hoopsworld
Another Hoopsworld article, this time about Corey Brewer. While I am of the firm belief that he get’s far too much crap on Stiffs at times, I will say that George Karl seems to be using Brewer as the ultimate crutch. Probably not recognizing soon enought when Brewer’s shot is off and he’s “chucking” (ala Jamal Crawford) and turning the ball over. Thus is the dilema of the NBA coach I suppose.

Nuggets end Clippers' 17 game win streak with swarming defense – Benjamin Hochman, Denver Post
Here is the Post' recap of the Nuggets vs. Clippers game from last night.

Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio out for game against Nuggets – Denver Post/Associated Press
In something that will affect the Nuggets next game, Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio will be sitting out the Wolves game in Denver on Thursday because of a bad back.

Here's JaVale McGee's buzzer-beating three point shot against the Clippers last night.

JaVale McGee’s “Finger Lickin’ Good” Three (via NBA)

Have a good day folks


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