Denver Nuggets Lack Mental Toughness

By Derek Kessinger

The Denver Nuggets returned from the All-Star break with a win over the Portland Trailblazers. The 104-95 win was just the team’s third win of the year in which they led the whole game.

The Nuggets had a huge 19 point lead at the end of the first half, but saw the lead dwindle to only single digits by scoring only 42 in the second half. The Nuggets once again did not play the entire game with energy and blew most of their lead. Without full time commitment, this team is not going anywhere.

The Denver Nuggets started the season 14-5. They knocked off the Heat, the Mavericks, the Knicks and split with the Lakers. They won all five games on a road trip, which included a back-to-back against Milwaukee and Philadelphia. They have taken a lot of games to overtime and a lot of nights they are close to finishing off wins. In February, they fell apart and now sit at 19-17 , 5-12 since that beginning stretch.

This team does not give enough effort every night. They have lost games because guys abandon the team defense concept and try to force it at the other end of the court. Despite all of their depth, the Nuggets have let injuries take them out of contention when they should have had the manpower to compete.

Andre Miller is one of the biggest culprits.. He is constantly more focused on himself than the duties of being a team player on the court. Miller needs to be the veteran presence he thinks he is. Nene and Al Harrington also sometimes fall into the trap of walking on defense even though they are veterans. All three have had to play too many minutes this season.

Overall, the Nuggets have the players to compete every night. Kenneth Faried, Kosta Koufas and Jordan Hamilton  add considerable depthto the  roster. The addition of Wilson Chandler may be another option.  If the Nuggets cannot find a way to engage themselves in almost every game, it will not matter who is coming off the bench.

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