The Denver Nuggets went into Dallas with a little confidence and were seeking some revenge on Wednesday. However, it didn’t take long for the confidence to evaporate and the Nuggets to fall behind the Mavericks and their veteran squad.
The Mavericks, which featured a lineup with an average age of 34.2 years old, started the game off by throwing Shawn Marion on Ty Lawson which caught Lawson and the Nuggets by surprise and took all of Denver’s energy out of the game.
There are numerous factors that weighed in to the loss, but the most telling story was the Mavericks experience.
- The Mavs youngest player in the starting lineup was 32 (Brendan Haywood), which was six years older than the Nuggets oldest player (Arron Afflalo).
- The Mavericks starting lineup has a combined 463 playoff games, the Nuggets starters had only played 52 games – which is less games then four of Dallas starters.
- Four of the starters for the Mavericks have played more games the Nuggets starting lineup combined.
Lets just say the Mavericks took completely advantage of the Nuggets inexperienced. They cut off the lanes to the basket, so Lawson and Afflalo couldn’t attack the baskets and they left Corey Brewer open for outside shots. The Nuggets responded by playing into the Mavericks game plan.
Afflalo set the tone for the Nuggets by attempting a 3-pointer on the first possession as the 24-second clock was running down. Lawson followed by shooting another jumper, then Kosta Koufos didn’t help matters by turning the ball over on the Nuggets next two possessions. Afflalo was able to get to the line, but only made 1-2 free throws.
Then, the Nuggets possession went as followed – Brewer missed a jumper, Lawson turned the ball over, Koufos missed a jumper. FINALLY after four minutes, six missed baskets (four jump shots) and three turnovers the Nuggets scored on Brewer’s offensive rebound.
Of course the Nuggets offense was inept after that as well. The Nuggets didn’t make another field goal for nearly three more minutes and in that time Denver turned the ball over two more times, missed two more baskets and made 1-2 free throws. To slow the onslaught Karl went to his bench, Rudy Fernandez, Andre Miller and Al Harrington helped the Nuggets at least go even with the Mavericks the rest of the quarter. But the damage was done, not on the scoreboard but with the young Nuggets confidence.
- After averaging 22 points and making 16-24 shots, Lawson only scored three points on 1-8 shooting on Wednesday. It was apparent from the get-go that the Mavericks wanted to take the Nuggets point guard out of the game. They started the game by putting Marion on him and anytime he got in the paint they threw an extra defender in his direction. The attention obviously got to Lawson early and he stopped attacking. In the first quarter, Lawson missed three jump shots and had two turnovers. All seven of Lawson’s misses were jump shots. His only basket was inside the paint.
- Like his counterpart in the backcourt, Afflalo wasn’t being aggressive early on and was settling for jumpers. He missed all six of his shots (four of which were behind the arc) and only hit 3-6 from the free throw line. Afflalo was averaging 23 points over his last three games and one reason why was because he was attacking, finding his spot on the floor and not forcing shots or settling for jumpers.
- Koufos was probably the best starter for the Nuggets, the big man had a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds. He made 6-of-7 shots, however Koufos didn’t start playing well until the second half – where he scored all 12 of his points.
- While the rest of the Nuggets couldn’t make a baskets (as a team Denver shot as 35.7 percent), Fernandez gave the Nuggets a little spark. He hit a pair of threes and made 5-9 shots and leading the Nuggets in scoring with 14 points off the bench.
- Jordan Hamilton saw scrub minutes, but showed that he has some game. Unlike the night before, where he had two turnovers, Hamilton came into the game hit a pair of threes and scored a career-best 10 points and grabbed four rebounds. While he probably won’t be in the Nuggets rotation this year, but he should find a spot there next season.