January 20, 2010

#40: DEN @ GSW 1/20/10

There's just no good way to spin this one: we're in a lot of trouble. The Nuggets have lost seven of eight on the road, but they're fully rested and fully healthy, and have started employing a Billups/Lawson double-point backcourt that's fearsome indeed. As promising as the Monta/Steph combo has looked lately, it ain't better than Chauncey and Ty. As awesome as Maggette has been lately, he doesn't exactly give you an edge over 'Melo. As spry as Biedrins looked on Monday, he's not better than Nene, and not even Nene's equal, if he can't hit a free throw. And on the off chance that our marquee quartet manages to battle theirs to a draw, we still have to counter Kenyon Martin, the Birdman and J.R. Smith with Devean And The D-Leaguers™.

We've shown a lot of spunk on this homestand, but it's hard to see where a win would come from tonight. We'll need some really favorable refereeing, a surprisingly good performance from a D-Leaguer, and a surprisingly great performance from one of our starters.

Warrior To Watch: Steph Curry, who's heating up and facing a rookie rival. We need him to play with discipline and swagger.
Nugget To Watch: Ty Lawson, who's been the better player thus far, and will surely want to keep it that way.

PostThoughts: Nuggets 123, Warriors 108 (OT)
OY! Another heartbreaking loss to dem Nugs, complete with a foolish end-of-quarter gamble by Monta, but we played very, very well here. The offense didn't flow with real consistency and we had our share of bloopers, but this was an energetic, competitive performance by the Warriors. Good stuff.

Monta was pretty stellar offensively, but this was the first game where I noticed just how many plays he’s taking off on defense to conserve energy. It’s a shame that he saved some of that energy for that stupid play to end the third, because it would’ve been better used elsewhere. Regardless, it’s time Nellie started getting this guy some rest, even if it means we have to use a Curry/Cartier backcourt for a couple minutes a night. And yes, America, Monta Ellis is currently our point guard. Stephen Curry, our shooting guard, wasn’t clicking on offense one bit — four of his six assists were happy accidents off dumps to the high post — but I liked his defense. Billups inevitably beat him a couple times late, but he held up surprisingly well against some big, physical guards, and avoided foul trouble for the first time in awhile. No complaints.

Maggettemaniac though I am, I didn’t love his game here; his five-turnover total easily could’ve been ten. Still productive — single-game plus-minus totals aren’t worth much, and don’t let Kawakami tell you different, as George’s great defense also earned a -12 — but this was Maggette’s weakest game in a good long while. On the other hand, Biedrins had a FANTASTIC night, stupid fouls aside (he’s really gonna have to shelve that stabbing motion, as it draws whistles no matter what it hits). Beans was rebounding, passing and guarding the rim nicely. It’s time Monta started running some S/Rs with him again, because he’s looking awfully sharp. The D-Leaguers were D-cent... nice to see Hunter eventually come to life in front of his folks.

I had no real beef with Nellie tonight, but I don’t know that it was a good coaching performance so much as a default coaching performance, given who he had available. This current octet of players basically prevents you from playing overly small; our injuries have actually made us Nellie-proof. I’m gonna predict that we actually play worse once CJ returns and Nellie’s free to work his mischief again.

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