The Denver Nuggets lost game two to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs. The series is now tied at one as both teams head to Oakland for game three on Friday night. Every team is going to lose games in the playoffs, even the Miami Heat. However the effort from the Nuggets on Tuesday night was awful.
The Warriors shot 65% from the field and scored 131 points. Some credit goes to the Warriors but the defense from the Nuggets was non-existent. It’s one thing if an opposing team is running a bunch of different things at you but the Warriors were doing the same thing every single time down the floor, and the Nuggets had no answer.
Actually, that’s not true; they knew the answer but were too lazy to follow through. All the Warriors did all night was run a simple pick and roll play, if the Nuggets went with the roll guy then the outside guy buried a three-pointer. If the Nuggets covered the outside guy, then they ball went inside for an easy dunk. This is a play that eighth-grade teams know how to defend, it’s not hard.
The Nuggets know how to defend, I’ve seen them do it but the big guys were either clueless or lazy on Tuesday night. Kosta Koufas looked like he had never seen a pick and roll in his life, and JaVale McGee refused to step out on the shooter. No one is asking McGee to cover a guard, just step out on him so he’s not shooting a wide-open jumper.
Stephen Curry of the Warriors is the best shooter in the league and apparently the Nuggets thought the best way to defend him was to leave him alone. The Warriors had four players score 20 points or more, four in a playoff game. Not only were there four guys with 20+ points, most of those points came on uncontested jump shots. The Nuggets weren’t beaten off the dribble or because the Warriors have better athletes, they were beaten because their effort was pathetic.
That’s a harsh word but it is the first one that comes to mind, and it fits. Its one thing to get beat because the other team played better, that happens all the time and is acceptable. The Warriors played well, give them credit, but they won in larger part because the Nuggets chose game two of a playoff series to mail in the effort.
If the Nuggets go onto win the series, game two will be forgotten. If the Nuggets lose the series, then they are going to have a whole summer to explain why the defensive effort in game two was so atrocious.
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