Every team goes through it. That one game here and there where it seems nothing goes right, while the other team can’t miss and your team can’t buy a basket.
Monday night the Denver Nuggets had one of those games. They scored a season-worst 81 points and shot a dismal .408 percent from the field. The New Orleans Hornets shot .52 percent and made 6 of 10 from behind the arc.
Carl Landry, Marco Bellinelli and Chris Kaman were nearly unstoppable. Bellinelli got things going in the first half and finished with 19 points on 8 of 13 from the field. Kaman, who has a season average of 10 points, couldn’t miss and scored 20 points. Landry also added 21 on 8 of 15 shooting. All three players had their season best.
But it was on defense where New Orleans earned the victory. The Hornets shut off the lanes to the basket and the Nuggets stopped attacking the basket in the second half. Denver shot 15 free throws in the first half, but only attempted six in second half.
Denver, which usually has the better second team, had its bench outscored 34-25.
- Al Harrington and Andre Miller are usually the two most reliable Nuggets players, but the two struggled big time. Harrington scored two points (1-4) and had three turnovers, while Miller missed all five of his shots and only had three assists. Miller has really struggled over the last two games, he has made only 4 of his last 16 shots and only scored eight points in the last two games.
- Nene is still battling through his injury, missing 5 of his 8 shots and hitting only 3 of 6 at the charity stripe. He was active on the glass, grabbing 11 rebounds and throwing down two massive dunks. However, he still seems a game or two away.
- Rudy Fernandez was the lone highlight for the Nuggets. He scored 14 points and was the only player who could hit a basket, especially in the second half.
- Ty Lawson offered a spark in the second half when he battled back from his injury. He finished the contest with 15 points.
- With the game already well in hand, George Karl decided to put little used DeMarre Carroll in the game, but left rookie Kenneth Faried on the bench instead of giving the fan favorite garbage minutes. While fans can get upset with the move it wasn’t much of a surprise. Karl preaches a winning mentality and putting Faried in a game like that could damage Faried in the future. In time Faried will get minutes, but until then Karl will have a short leash and will be careful with his rookie big man.