Ok, surprise I got my computer back tonight so I am going to go ahead and try and put one of these together.
I will be honest with you I really don’t want to do this as I don’t want to come across as being nothing but negative, but frankly I don’t know what else to be after tonight.
Yes we were on another back to back, yes we were tired, and yes we were missing George Hill and Jeff Foster.
None of that really matters. We’ve played 27 games this was Denver’s 28th. While we are missing a backup center and a backup combo guard they were missing their starting forwards as Gallinari missed the entire game and Nene missed the second half.
Honestly the last time the team played a good game was in Dallas and every since then even in the games they have won they have looked very shaky at best in playing.
I wish I could put my finger exactly on what is going on because in all honesty I don’t know. I would start at the defensive end as it just seems like our defensive play has slacked off and IMO a lot of that is being done on the perimeter. Earlier in the season we were getting a lot of ball deflections and even when we weren’t stealing the ball or changing possessions we were causing the opponents to get set up in their offense late in the shot clock often times either forcing a shot clock violation or causing a very poor shot to be hoisted up. This just doesn’t seem to be happening nearly as much lately. Also I’ve noticed that teams are now forcing Roy to the top of the key and sometimes beyond on the pick and roll and thus leaving the lane uncovered for what is now becoming an easy lay up at the rim.
Also on our offensive sets it seems we are starting to take more and more jump shots and it seems like our ability to work the ball into the post in the lane is waning. Now some of that is going to just be natural with teams adjusting their defense. But some of it is quick perimeter jumpers.
The worst part about all of this is that we have Miami staring at us on Tuesday night and while it is not a guaranteed loss, it will not be a walk in the park either.
Also while I’m at it I am going to do something I am loath to do, but I am going to criticize Frank Vogel for a couple of things. First and foremost he has got to stop letting other teams get such big runs before he calls a time out. I believe Denver went on a 10 point run before he made the first time out; he did this vs. Utah as well. Look I know both sides of this argument. There is the Rick Carlisle thinking that any time a team scored 2 unanswered baskets Rick was calling a time out (Ok that is a slight exaggeration but you get my point) and then there is the Larry Brown let the players play through it thinking. I’m not sure there is an absolute right way to do it, but I think we wait to long to make adjustments. Also when they have a 15 point turn around I would not only call time out after time out to get it stopped I would change out every player on the floor if it was necessary (again exaggeration but you get my point)
Second while I certainly understand the egg timer substitutions and mostly agree with it, there are times you have to turn off the timer. Granger was on fire at the end of the first. Why not let him play into the second to see if he is still going and then take him out. Not bench him, sit him for 20 min. of real time and then put him back in cold.
Like I said I hate to say anything about him but I can’t help but think that these two things tonight contributed to this loss.
Let’s just do grades for tonight, although I’ll warn you now it won’t be pretty.
Danny Granger: C Could have been much higher, but 5 turnovers and only 2 rebounds tends to drag your grade down when the team loses. Cory Brewer also looked like Bernard King for awhile tonight and while I don’t say Danny played horrid defense like some will, I won’t say he played good defense either. As he walked off of the court tonight he threw his towel hard into his seat and he looked very mad. I’m not sure about what either, and then I read that he refused to talk to the media. Don’t know what happened there.
David West: B Very efficient offensive game, good rebounding numbers. Had a bonehead pass to kill any chance of a comeback but I’ll give him a pass here because without his offensive plays we wouldn’t have had a chance anyway. However when Roy is out of position, which is happening more and more, David’s lack of lateral quickness is becoming more and more of a liability. Guards get beat, it happens to the best of them, so somebody has to step up and often times it is the power forward that has to do this. David is not doing it. I don’t know if he can’t or just doesn’t.
Roy Hibbert: D I’m being generous with the D btw. In the second half of this game he was outplayed by Kosta Kofous, yes I’ll say that again he was outplayed by Kosta Kofous. Roy you so far have had a great season, an all-star season but these past few games you have put in some old Roy Hibbert type games. I am just going to go pray that this is because you are tired and need some time off and that this isn’t the annual drop in production that you have suffered in the past. BTW his stats tonight were worthless because if you look at them you will think he had an ok game, he did not. He was horrid; in fact we would have been much better off with West and Hansbrough.
Paul George: C- Don’t let his final point on the board fool you. He did not have a good game either and if it wasn’t for hitting 3 three’s in the 4th he would have had a miserable game on the offensive end. His defense wasn’t hideous, which is what is saving him from a Roy like grade, but there were times where Arron Afflalo looked like Dwayne Wade cutting past him. I do appreciate the fact that he does get on the boards though. But I don’t like the fact that he only got to the line twice, which just tells me he wasn’t driving nearly enough.
Darren Collison: C- I’m probably being to gentle here as well. Yes he did a very good job in the first half at running the offense and yes in the 4th quarter he started running a good pick and roll with West. But my God his defense on Lawson was just embarrassing. I mean its one thing to let your man get past you once or twice but the entire game? Lawson was not only able to get into the lane he was able to get wherever he wanted whenever he wanted. Yea, I’ll stick with the C- but it felt worse than that.
Tyler Hansbrough: C+ Honestly we should have seen more Tyler tonight. He wasn’t as active maybe as you would like early on but just before he was taken out he was really down in the paint battling. I wish he would have gone to the rim more tonight because I have a feeling they would have fouled him. In fact it is a crime we only got him 3 shots which is troubling to me as it does seem that we have gone away from the interior smash mouth basketball we were playing at the beginning of the year. Roy was dead in this game so I think Tyler only playing 17 min. was a mistake.
Lance Stephenson: B+ If only he had a jump shot. He was about the only player tonight who I was certain of who had a pulse on our team. He had a couple of great steals and a terrific rebound off of a missed free throw for a put back. Also he had a pass to Dahntay Jones that was eye popping. He is still young and still has inconsistent games but I really like where I think he is headed.
A.J. Price: B+ Yes he shot too much, it just so happened tonight he actually hit some of his shots. However that is not what merits him the high grade. He along with Lance provided a spark of life in what was a lifeless team in the 2nd & 3rd quarters. He played fairly decent defense as well. In fact he did a better job on Lawson than Collison did.
Dahntay Jones: C Was still in control, which I’m about to quit even mentioning anymore as this hasn’t been a problem since the second week of the season. But he did miss some shots tonight that he really needed to hit. But then again you can say that about everybody on our team tonight (minus David West). He is still a good free throw shooter and got to the line as many times as Paul did (one was shot for a T but that is why I’m saying he shot as many and not more).
Lou Amundson: C- He was a human foul magnate tonight but he still played better defense than Roy. Oh how I wish he would not have missed that dunk, that would have been epic. But he did so it just looked bad. Not going to spend a lot of time on him because he really didn’t play that much.
I am not panicking by any means; I mean it’s just a three game (probably going to be a four game) losing streak. But I really am starting to be concerned, we just have not looked right for several games now.
Here this is what George Karl had to say about this game.
"We won the game because we had more effort and energy." - Denver Coach George Karl
I don’t know about you guys but that bothers me.