Thursday, April 26, 2007

Nuggets vs. Spurs Game 2 Notes

Well, it looks like my sweep prediction has gone to the crapper, but I've gotta say.... I still feel pretty good about the series. With all that went wrong for the Nuggets yesterday, and don't be fooled by anyone we played absolutely awful in the first half of last nights game, we still had a chance to win the game at the end, down only three points with a minute left. If Marcus Camby makes that dunk.... who knows. Here are some things I noticed from last nights game:

1.) The Spurs wanted it more, especially in the first half. If you watch the game again, watch how many loose balls our guys (especially Steve Blake for some reason) sat and stared at while the Spurs hustled after the ball. Even on some rebounds, our guys sat around looking at each other, waiting for someone else to grab the rebound, and they did.... only they were on the opposing team. It just looked like the Spurs knew it was a do or die game and were playing like it.

2.) Missed layups. Seriously how many layups can one team miss in a single game? I felt like I was watching my 5 year old niece play. No matter how much I scream at her and threaten violence, she will NOT MAKE A LAYUP!!! Seriously though, some of these were contested layups, but a lot of them were uncontested wide open layups. Camby missed a couple easy ones (including that crucial dunk), Nene missed a couple, Melo had at least one complete gimme that he missed, but the real culprit was AI. I don't know what was going on with him, if he was trying to get contact and a foul, but he had to have missed at least 8 layups in the game. And probably 4-5 of those were easy ones. Which leads me to my next point......

3.) AI played terrible. That was one of the worst games I've seen him play since he came to the Nuggets. He was forcing too much, his handle was a little off which led to him constantly trying to regain his dribble, his shot was off, he was missing layups..... until the last 4 minutes. Suddenly he turned back into AI and wouldn't miss and, along with Melo and Nene, willed us back into the game. That was good to see.

4.) The comeback. The Nuggets could have easily rolled over and gave up. They were down 17 on the road, hostile environment, they already had their one win, Ginobli was rolling..... but they didn't. They sacked up and started playing. We finally started moving the ball and hitting some shots, setting good screens, and generally playing more like we did in Game 1. I hate the idea of moral victories as much as anything in the world. There is no such thing as a good loss in my mind. That's something I guess I got from my college coach Ricardo Patton (I also learned the phrase "athletically molested" from him, which I am on the brink of applying to Nene vs. Duncan). But that late run last night sent a message. The Nuggets are going to fight the Spurs to the end. It reminded me of a 12 round boxing match, where one fighter comes out and completely pummels the other for the first 6 or 7 rounds only his opponent doesn't go down. In fact, he starts fighting back and whooping his ass for the last few rounds and the first fighter is hanging on for dear life hoping to win on points. What I'm saying is, it had to rattle the Spurs a bit that they couldn't put us away.

5.) Nene's game 1 wasn't a fluke. Like I said, I'm almost prepared to declare that Nene is athletically molesting Tim Duncan. Athletically he is far superior to Timmy. But let's not get carried away. Duncan is a 3 time MVP of the Finals, he is arguably the greatest power forward of all-time.... He is going to get his against Nene regardless. But the interesting thing is how difficult Nene makes it for Duncan to get his points. And it isn't a small thing that they cover Nene with Francisco Elson as much as possible. They know that Nene can get Duncan in foul trouble.

6.) Melo is playing well. After his 1-9 start Melo settled down and had a good game. He has definitely figured out how to score against Bowen. If you compare his play this series to the series in 2005 it is night and day. If only Melo had a bit more help earlier in the game....

7.) Blake / Kleiza / JR Smith need to step up. Anyone? Please! Come in and make some threes, play good D, push the pace.... something..... anything. We can't win this series with zero help from our bench.

So there are some good things and some bad things that happened during last nights game. The bad things are that we played one of the worst halves we have played all season in the first half of that game. We looked sloppy, we were out-hustled, and we missed incredibly easy shots. We let Ginobli wake up too. On the other hand, all those things happened and we still had a chance to win the game at the end. All I know is that I can't wait for Game 3 at the Pepsi Center. I'll be there.

Some quick notes about the Golden State / Dallas series:

My old teammate DJ and I were talking during the game and we noticed a couple of different things.

1.) Monta Ellis looks like he must have been a premature baby. In the words of DJ, "He has the hops of a grown man and the face of an 8 month old fetus".

2.) You knew that Stephen Jackson was going to go crazy at some point. Here's the thing about Stephen Jackson, in Indiana he was under wraps. Indianapolis isn't exactly the crime capital of the world and there isn't a whole lot to do. But now he's living in Oakland! This is like moving a serial rapist into the Delta Chi sorority house and letting him run wild. I predict in the next couple of years he will do something so insanely crazy it will put everything outside of Mike Tyson to shame. I mean, you may read about him killing a police officer with a sling shot because he wanted his dress shoes or he wouldn't let him hold his baton or something like that. He might carjack the Mayor of the city for his headrests. Anything is possible with Stephen Jackson in Oakland.


Nels Bells said...

Well done...I feel like Karl should start running some down screens to get Duncan on Nene. I'm confused as to why this hasn't happened to a larger extent.

Hallux Valgus said...

#1 was a great point. I watched Bowen do his quick reach in swipe thing that knocked the ball loose from Blake, but the ball was still closer to Blake than it was to Bowen, and Blake immediately retreated into defense mode, just letting bowen take the ball. "Naw, dude- it's cool. I'll get you next time." I wanted to slap him.