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.
- Derrick Rose on sexual assault suit: “I am confident I will be proven innocent” 0
- Report: Kyrie Irving likely not back opening night, could be out until January 10
- Legendary Sixer, backboard-shattering dunker Darryl Dawkins dies at 58 12
- After Rio Olympics next summer, who takes over at Team USA coach? 6
- Kobe, Shaq discuss regrets over feud that ended their Lakers era 47
- NBA fines Clippers for attempting to circumvent salary cap with DeAndre Jordan 10
- The most overlooked – and maybe most significant – reason Carmelo Anthony won’t waive his no-trade clause this season 17
- Phil Jackson is optimistic about Knicks coming season, except the start 7