Very few NBA teams have success in mile-high Denver on the back-end of a back-to-back. I think the number being thrown around is 1 win for the road team in the last 18 tries. For the Warriors, with no Turiaf, no Randolph, and a roster of 7, there was simply no chance to make it 2 for 19. With no players to contend with the Nuggets’ size inside, inevitable foul-trouble, and dead legs, the Warriors ceased to be competitive in the second quarter. The stats reflect three quarters of garbage time.
A few quick player notes:
Monta Ellis: The Nuggets were the first team I’ve seen so far this year to aggressively trap Monta Ellis at the three-point line to force the ball out of his hands. It worked, partly of course because Monta lacked the legs to really attack the trap. But it will be interesting to see if other teams try this defense as well. It will really put the pressure on Monta to be a distributor, and on Curry, Morrow and Vlad Rad to step up and hit their open shots.
On one fastbreak Monta had Morrow wide open on the wing for a three, and fumbled the pass. Don’t want to make too much of a silly mistake on a night when he was clearly exhausted, but Monta’s inability to hook up with Morrow is reaching the laughable stage.
Vlad Rad: Did you see that ridiculous slam over Nene? The nice one-on-one move and step-back against Carmelo? The sweet outside shooting (OK, he hit one in five threes)?
Did you see the two ridiculous giveaways on lazy one-handed back-taps?
Two words describe every NBA underachiever who ever lived: Tantalizing and Mysterious.
Stephen Curry: Curry is struggling with his shooting, and it’s obvious from his demeanor that he’s letting it get him down. Smart confirmed as much in his post-game. I’m still liking what I see from the rookie, though, in terms of his mental approach to the game. His defense, in particular, continues to impress me. For some one with his limited athletic gifts, he does a terrific job of staying in front of his man, and his nose for the ball is remarkable.
Chocolate Rain: I’m not too impressed with Morrow’s 27 pts., because he got most of them in the extended garbage time. I did like his courage and effort in the first quarter while matched with the much stronger Carmelo. With no shot blockers to back him up, though, he was forced to foul.
Rony Turiaf: Rony dressed but did not play. One can only guess that he tweaked his knee in the last game. When O when will this team get healthy?
The Blackhole: I just have to add this in. The ThaiBlonde (my girlfriend) has taken to yelling “What are you doing?” every time Maggette loads up for an outside shot. I personally have never said anything, because I don’t mind that he takes them. So where did she get this? Is it in the air?