The Nuggets have dropped two in a row to subpar teams, which hurts in a tight playoff race. Their head coach is most likely out until the postseason. Their defensive leader may also be out until the playoffs. Their stud starting point guard Ty Lawson may have lost his job to journeyman Anthony Carter. Their two star players have all but forgotten how to pass the ball. They have arguably the toughest schedule to the end the season and not to be overlooked they are again tied with the Dallas Mavericks as second in the West and only one game ahead of Utah. So should the Nuggets worry?
No, there is no time to worry. Not only do the Nuggets have another tough game today in Boston against a team that is out for revenge, it is almost a must-win for the Nuggets. But its not like it takes a genius to see what the Nuggets need to fix. They need to move the ball, play tougher defense and be stronger mentally.
Obviously the biggest culprits of not passing the ball were again Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups and interestingly enough Billups stated that “The way that we play we’re not going to beat many teams when we have 13, 14, 15 assists. It’s just not going to happen. It’s not going to cut it.”
So shouldn’t Mr. Big Shot look in the mirror and realize that he is the biggest culprit. It is his job as the point guard to set up his teammates instead of trying to score by himself.
The Nuggets offense has become quite predictive and easy to guard with the way Melo, Billups and even JR Smith have been playing. I personally think Billups is getting a little worn down and while Anthony Carter has played well, Ty Lawson is a better option and a better weapon.
Defensively, there should be no reason that Joey Graham starts at Power Forward. Sure he is a beast, but again we are leaving Nene alone in the middle to battle by himself with the bigs with a midget at the 4-spot. Johan Petro has been a better option and while he isn’t the best player his length more than makes up for it. Not only that it seemed like Nene has become more motivated at the 4.
- Despite playing selfish basketball, Carmelo Anthony had a very solid game. He scored 36 points on 14-of-26 shooting and made all eight of his free throws.
- Arron Afflalo finally got back on track, hitting 3-of-4 from behind the arc and scoring 11 points.
- Graham grabbed seven boards in 25 minutes.
- Petro received a DNP, while Malik Allen went 1-of-4 from the field in 14 minutes. Maybe it was matchups, but I think Petro would be a better option than Allen on the floor any day.
- After having a great first half, Billups only made five of 13 shots and hit one of five threes.
- Not to be outdone, JR Smith was pedestrian as well, hitting only four of 16 shots and making only 2-of-7 treys.
- Nene only scored 10 points and had three turnovers.
The Celtics have been on a roll of late, winning five of their last seven games and five of their last six home games. However, the Nuggets have matched up well with the Celtics. As long as Petro and Nene start in the post the Nuggets should be alright. However, if Graham is in the starting lineup once again I’m chalking it up as a loss.