Apr 20, 2011, 7:27 PM EDT
The Denver Nuggets are a really good team. In the classic sense of team.
They play good team defense. They move the ball on offense. They are well coached. They play hard. They play smart.
Three times in the last month the Thunder and Nuggets have met — the last time being in Game 1 of the Western Conference playoffs — and each time Denver has played hard but the two elite players on the Thunder have been the difference. In Game 1 it was Kevin Durant dropping 41 points. And Westbrook with 31.
Yes, there was the terrible tip in call. The Nuggets should have had a better chance at the end. The referees robbed them of that chance. (Maybe we need more replay.) As hard as it may be, Denver needs to move past that.
The bigger issue is that if Durant and Westbrook continue pile on points bad calls on late tip ins will not matter. The Nuggets need to deal with big issues.
The other thing the Nuggets need to deal with is keeping James Harden under wraps. He had just 5 points for OKC in Game 1, but when Durant or Westbrook do not go off he seems to.
The Nuggets need their own star power. J.R. Smith is capable of having one of those games where he takes over the fourth quarter. Gallinari can get hot and seem to knock down everything, too.
It’s pretty simple for Denver — they need to limit the Thunder’s star power and find some of their own. And that is a whole lot easier said than done.
- Justin Bieber and Kevin Durant share brunch (photo) 17
- Clippers CEO: If Sterling remains owner then Doc Rivers, players, sponsors all ready to bolt 45
- Report: Cavaliers trying to acquire other players to put in Kevin Love trade 59
- Report: Bulls making push to trade for Kevin Love 71
- Seven standout players from Las Vegas Summer League 10
- Maverick Carter: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade still speak nearly daily 37
- Red hot Ray McCallum leads Sacramento Kings to Summer League title with 77-68 win against Houston 3
- Lakers great Michael Cooper diagnosed with cancer 16