It's really easy to get sucked into Denver's style of play. Especially for a young team.
Ty Lawson, looks ridiculously strong. Like I swear his body mass is the same as AJ and DC's put together. I didn't notice how short he was because of how strong he looked.
That being said, the defense surrounding him was terrible. DC's improved defensively, but he's not good. AJ's been really really good defensively this entire year, but even he struggled to keep Lawson in front of him.
That said, the biggest problem, as always, came on the PnR. Our bigs, other than Foster, are just awful with it. Roy's just too slow and Amundson doesn't know what to do with himself. Tyler hedges off the PG well, but doesn't recover to his man quick enough, and West recovers to his man, but flat out gets in our PG's way (or Paul George's). Really really bad.
AJ, if we're going to throw out a lineup of Tyler, Lou/Foster, Lance, and Dahntay, he's going to have to shoot. I know everyone has their ideal of what they want the point guard to do, but you have to look at the reality of the situation. There's no perimeter offense, unless a streaky (at best) AJ gets it going.
I know spacing the court has become a bad word here. But it is needed. We threw the ball to Tyler, 4 people were covering Tyler...and Dahntay's guy was hedging between staying on Dahntay and heading towards Tyler.
Dahntay, although improved shooting wise, would prefer to drive to the basket, as would Lance. Lou/Foster simply aren't going to score from the perimeter. If AJ's taking and making his open shots (which he's getting, because the team's defense is entirely focused on Tyler) the offense becomes much smoother. AJ was able to make two really nice passes (Tyler was able to get an +1 on one, and I think he got fouled on another) to Tyler because he (AJ) had proven that he was worth guarding. (So, he needs to keep proving it)
I think AJ is most likely to succeed in a situation where he isn't forced to look for his shot (Like when Hill was on the floor) and he can simply run the offense and pick his opportunities. The reality is, he isn't in that situation. And asking Lance to supply the perimeter offense is just plain unfair.
Now onto Lance. I'm still not impressed with his game. He's not so much a combo guard as he is a "nopo" He doesn't have a position. He's incapable of running an offense for a variety of reasons (which we've been through) and struggles (although has improved) at moving without the ball, he hasn't proven he can shoot. And really, needs to be in transition to do anything positive.
That being said, he is quite good in a transition game. And something I hadn't expected was the amount of positive energy and effort he brings to games. He's not a good defender, but if the rest of the team put in the amount of effort on the defensive end that Lance puts in we'd be one heck of a defensive team, and the result of his effort is usually one or two good defensive stops. I like seeing effort out of players, it's why..despite his shortcomings, I adore Tyler. But at the end of the day, the bench rotation needs to be AJ/Hill/Dahntay/Tyler/Jeff (hopefully). We can't afford to not play a point guard and Hill is easily the better shooting guard. Lance needs to develop in a position before he's ready for playoffs and the like. Short memories have forgotten the struggles the bench was having before GH's injury, we were going to lose these games anyway because when the Pacers won, it's pretty much always been the starters.
Roy, is obviously struggling right now. I don't believe Vogel has changed the offense. Sure, he wants to run a bit when possible, but that's just adding another weapon to our team. We should be running when possible. That doesn't change the fact that Roy's struggling in the half court.
I'm not too worried though. Vogel's in tune with the players. Most likely, he'll make it a point to get the ball to Roy. And he's good at building their confidence up, which is usually what Roy needs. I do think Roy still needs to toughen up, physically and mentally.
That said, every single one of our players has gone through an up and down patch this season. This is Roy's first. Guy's go in funks, and guys pop out of them. He'll be okay, he's just got to play through it.
Danny, it's nice to see Danny has his shot back, but for some reason his defense went with it. How many times is someone going to go backdoor on him? I'd rather him focusing his energy on defense.
PG has been in a funk right with Roy. But it's a long season, he's very young, and he's shown a lot of improvement this season. He'll be fine.
DC, I think he's done quite well this season. But he struggled last night. Lawson is a really tough matchup for him. DC's not a good defender, and Lawson is significantly stronger - and might be just as fast. Then Ty started making jump shots and it was all over.
and then when we'd switch PG onto Ty, and DC onto Andre...Andre would post him up. Rough game. He's been very good this season as well, and is allowed to struggle. In fact, considering how many minutes he's had to play the entire season, I'm surprised he's not struggling more.
Kobe Jones. He's turned himself into a valuable role player off the bench. Although sometimes the bench unit could use him going all Kobe on the other team, I like the more subdued version. You can just tell he's an excellent teammate.
West, like Danny his offense has been great, but his defense..not so much. And he's a vet, who has played on a good team, he should know better. I tend to give him leeway on certain things, because, as I've repeated, people coming off of knee injuries go through their ups and downs. But I've felt like there's an effort problem on the defense and rebounding side of things, which wasn't there earlier in the season. Maybe he's just worn out (I don't really buy that because of his offense.) But effort matters to me. I can forgive Lance, DC and Tyler for their defensive mishaps because I know the effort is there. They're just usually lost or physically unable to defend well for whatever reason. Lack of effort bothers me.
Lou...oh Lou. Vogel was cracking me up when he didn't care that Lou kept fouling.
Now onto Frank. I adore Frank, and I think he's done a wonderful job, but he's hit a snug here. I understand the reason for some of the things he's doing. (IE: instead of staggering the bench in with the starters, he's playing each as a unit. I can see not wanting to mess with the starters chemistry) But he needs to get better with the timeouts. And I do think he needs to consider subbing when things go south. (Like he did last night, when he inserted AJ and Dahntay in for DC and PG.) Although, that's still debatable and I understand his reasoning for not doing so.
At the end of the day, we've lost these three games because of defense, rebounding and turnovers. Easily fixable, but suggests a lack of mental focus more than anything.