This is just a summary of our last game and Denver’s two games since then. The last scouting report is still up so if you’d like a refresher, it’s there for you to read.
We had a good chance to win the last game even though Denver is the better team. Carmelo had been out of action for about 2 weeks due to personal problems. And, that forced Kenyon Martin to return from his surgery earlier than anticipated. Carmelo was very rusty and didn’t get his game going until late in the game, and Martin saw limited play and had little impact in the game.
The game was very up-tempo with 104 possessions, and we shot only 42%. Tyreke and Beno combines for 17 pts on 7 of 17 shooting, and Garcia and Omri combined for 5 of 16. We were very effective inside of 15 ft (63.6%), but we shot 10 for 43 (23.3%) on the long ball. Everyone seemed to fall in love with the long ball including our bigs which left us with no one in position to rebound. Cousins, Landry and Dalembert were 3 for 9 shooting the long ball and they had some of the best averages. Tyreke and Beno were 2 for 12, and Cisco and Omri were 3 of 14. And, because we were taking shots so quickly, we seldom had anyone around the basket to rebound our misses. We are the 2nd best offensive rebounding team and we ended up with 7 offensive rebounds on 52 missed shot, and we ended up being outrebounded 58-35 and 13-7 on the offensive glass. Nene, Carmelo, and Chris Andersen all had double-digit rebounds and our leading rebounder was DeMarcus with 8. And, even though we did a good job not sending them to the FT line where they lead the leagues in FTA’s, we still were outscored by 14 at the FT line in an 18 pt loss. We played outside our comfort zone, and they punished us. There’s a difference between playing an up-tempo game, and just taking the first shot you get even if the rest of the team isn’t ready. And, if you take it you better be absolutely sure you’re going to make it.
Since that game Denver went on to beat Houston 113-106. Both teams shot well from the floor, but Denver overcame a 13 to 3 advantage by Houston from beyond the arc with a 43 to 15 advantage at the FT line of their own. Denver had an advantage on the defensive board mainly because Denver shot 40 FT’s so the Rockets had 10 fewer misses to rebound. Both teams had 12 offensive boards, and they both were close in turnovers. But, it was obvious that Carmelo had shaken some of his rust off. He had 33pts, 11 rebs and 5 asts in 40 minutes. And Martin is starting to get his game legs back playing 22 minutes and contributing 11pts and 6 rebs. Lawson was the only non-starter to make major contribution with 12 pts and 2 asts in 21 minutes. Denver’s bench continues to be a weak spot.
But, last night the Nuggets found the road to be as tough as always losing to the Clippers in LA 106-93, to bring their road record to 5-11 while the Clipper increased their home record to 8-13. This time it was the Clippers who dominated the glass 57-43 and 19-10 on the offensive boards. Billups had 25 with 5-8 from 3pt range and 10 pts at the FT line. Anthony had 31pts on 12-26 and 7-9 from the FT line, and Martin ended up with 0 pts in 16 minutes.
The Clippers did a good job of not fouling and committed only 23 fouls. And, they limited Denver to only 34 pts in the paint and 17 fast break points. All 5 starters scored in double figures, and they ended up shooting 42.9% from the field to Denver’s 37.5%. The Clippers bench only scored 13 pts but that was enough since Denver’s bench only scored 15pts.
Well, we had Denver’s number last season, and they have been terrible on the road, and their last 2 road wins came against Toronto and Minnesota. We’re not good enough defensively to get into another running game with the Nuggets, their just too athletic and experienced. If we can defensive rebound and create turnovers then we can get out on the fast break. We need to take advantage of our inside game and run our half-court game down their throats. With Martin still recovering, Nene and Melo are the only real rebounders, but their athleticism might present a problem for our bigs. If Melo is going to rebound, I’d like to see our SF leak out because it could present some fast break opportunities if Cuz, Sammy and JT can use their size to get control of the boards.
On the offensive end we have to realize that we can’t get every offensive rebound, and that trying to do so is creating fast break opportunities for our opponents. We have a size advantage in the paint; we no longer need to send 5 people to rebound, so we can afford to get back on defense when we miss. I also think we need to get the ball into the paint at least once every possession. Either by getting the ball into the post for DeMarcus, Carl, or JT, or by having Tyreke, Beno or Pooh drive into the paint (in the first 16 seconds Tyreke not at the end of the shot clock). Defenses are just sitting back and waiting for us to stop dribbling or passing the ball from side to side. It time to make them start to have to defend us by being more aggressive and attacking them. No one believes that we have weapons of mass destruction; it’s time to prove them wrong. GO KINGS!!