Apr 20, 2011, 7:27 PM EST
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.
- Pacers win first Conference Finals rematch vs. Heat 0
- Days before he faced LeBron, Paul George said Durant is NBA’s toughest cover 22
- A day later, Kobe didn’t think he played quite so bad 12
- Why question “When did basketball get so bad?” misses mark 51
- Adam Silver: NBA to consider doing away with divisions 21
- Dwight Howard frustrated with Rockets’ effort in recent losses (54)
- Why question “When did basketball get so bad?” misses mark (53)
- Durant tells “60 Minutes Sports” he’s still tired of being No. 2 (35)
- Report: Heat shopping Joel Anthony, seeking depth behind Wade (35)
- Fan wanders onto court while game is going on during Cavaliers-Clippers (VIDEO) (34)