2) You can't expect to play competitive basketball with Mikki Moore at the five and Vladimir Radmanovic at the four. Yes, that combo can sometimes be Monta'ed to victory, as it was in Dallas and last night against Indy... but they dig you a pretty deep hole to climb out of. If your two bigs can't affect shots, can't make real offensive impacts and can't grab 10 rebounds per 48 combined, any time you face a real team that's paying attention, A Loser Is You™. Vlad's garbagey Euro style of play is fun, and he could be a useful role player for this team, but only if you pair him with an active shot-blocker. Paired with Mikki, he's disastrous. Mikki was Mikki: dignified, sportsmanlike, and bite-your-hand-off useless.
3) Monta was completely out of gas. That's no criticism of him, but it's worth pointing out to those who have visions of iron men dancing in their heads. You can't just leave a guy out there all night every night, especially on a team that runs like this one. Yeah, Allen Iverson averaged (averages?) 41 minutes a night over the course of his career. Allen Iverson also missed a decent number of games due to injury most years. Playing basketball wears a person down; Monta is, for all of his recent awesomeness, a person. Do not break him, Warriors.
4) When Corey Maggette plays well, it's not pretty. When he has a bad game like tonight's, it's like watching a flu-ridden Harry Dean Stanton try to poop... it's just hauntingly, viscerally ugly. Maggette's good games makes the stinkers more than worth it, and even tonight, he bulled his way to a not-horrible overall line. But Corey, my friend, you can be goddamned hard to watch.
5) Mikki/Vlad was not the only noxiously bad defensive tandem on display tonight... the Curry/CJ backcourt was every bit the sieve one might've imagined. The Nuggets have one of the worst deep benches in the league, and we should've closed the gap a bit in garbage time, as we usually do. Instead, the Anthony Carters and Joey Grahams of the world extended the lead even further, because when you're being defended by C.J. Watson and Stephen Curry, you can do anything.
6) On the plus side, Morrow had a lovely game -- he's getting smoother with his little floaters in the lane, and his defense is not nearly as atrocious as it used to be -- and CJ and Curry were fine on offense. (Well, Curry missed a ton of shots, but no worries, his college shooting touch will come back. Right? RIGHT?!?!?) Hunter had some rough moments here and there, but never lost his composure and still contributed well. I'm gettin' real fond of that kid, and if we lose him because we think Devean George's tiny expiring deal is too valuable to dump, I am going to break something I own.
Onto Thursday, at home against Houston. The Rockets will be tired and their frontcourt is wee -- that game is winnable. But the Mikki/Vlad tandem will not hold the line against Scola and Landry, Aaron Brooks is one of the few players that's quick enough to at least annoy Monta on his way to the hoop, and Battier and Ariza have completely neutered Morrow once already. Will Smart start Chris Hunter and give us a shot at matching beef for beef? Will he run sophisticated enough plays to get Morrow open looks? Will Monta get any marching orders other than "try to be awesome for 48 minutes"? We will win this game only if Keith Smart does some intelligent, proactive coaching. It'll be a good final test for him, before the fat man returns and everything goes batshit again.