That was a looooong game. When you're losing 48 minutes seems like 6 hours.
It became pretty apparent we were going to lose this game from the outset, even when the score was still relatively close in the first quarter. There wasn't anything especially wrong, it's just from the get-go shots that had fallen against Dallas and Detroit weren't going in. When you saw them clang off of the rim for Lamarcus, Brandon, and Martell you knew we were in for a rough ride. When you saw the look on their faces--consternation and deflation mostly--you knew we weren't coming back. This will happen sometimes. Lamarcus was open from 18 feet early. That shot had been falling with regularity. It just didn't tonight.
One thing you can say is that when Plan A didn't work out right the Blazers didn't do a very good job of adjusting. We'll get to that more below. Hand in hand with that was when the offense started misfiring the defense eventually followed suit, which is as sure of a way as any to lose in this league.
Let's look at the "What I'd Like to See" portion of the preview:
Although Frye did have one of his better offensive games and Jarrett was about the only guy providing a winning-level spark out there combined they and Travis only scored 33 points. We needed more like 45. Nobody really got on a hot streak so there was nobody to ride.
Denver had 17 turnovers. We had 17 also. That is precisely their M.O. No good.
We got this half right. We were patient. In fact we slowed the game way down, which could have been a good strategy. The problem was passing the ball around (as in around the perimeter) was all we did. We seldom penetrated with pass or dribble which made it devilishly difficult to get those good shots. We ended up taking jumpers and we fired against the clock more tonight than I've seen all season. On the plus side we ended up with 22 assists on 32 made buckets but that wasn't nearly enough to make up for shooting 39% overall.
Again, we didn't drive nearly enough. The last I heard we were getting outscored 52-26 in points in the paint. That's about the time I stopped listening to the stats. We did a good job of drawing free throws (mostly from them pounding on Lamarcus all night) but did a poor job of converting them, finishing the game shooting 25-36, or 69.4%.
They did, and we didn't. Well, except for that one time Joel was fittin' to throw down with Marcus Camby. That was a good response to the foul that caused the fracas.
Yah...didn't really happen. The Nuggets threw multiple people at him and Brandon never got off the ground. He hit a few jumpers and notched his usual good assist and rebound numbers (5 each) but he was never really in control of this game.
The other key stat was that we allowed the Nuggets to shoot 52.5%, many of those off the break. This wasted a night where they shot less than 8% from the three-point arc.
In short we needed more energy, more cohesion, more penetration, and more fortunes with our shot falling. We got none of those. The result was a blowout.
There will be no individual notes tonight. The stats and the eyes both say the same thing: the guys didn't play horribly but they didn't play well either. Besides other than the occasional nifty pass nobody out there was really making anybody else look good tonight (at least not anybody in the friendly uniforms) and in an environment like that individual accolades are pretty much wasted.