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Facing Elimination, Nuggets need to pull out all the stops against Warriors

Apr 30, 2013, 2:11 PM EDT

George Karl, Andre Iguodala

Few people expected we’d be at this point this soon, if they even thought we’d be here at all.

The Nuggets are facing elimination in the fifth game of their series versus the Warriors — a series many had them winning at the outset, with even more jumping on the bandwagon after David Lee was injured in game one.

But since that loss in the first game, momentum is clearly on the Warriors’ side with head coach Mark Jackson making all the right moves while George Karl struggles to find answers to counter them. And really, adjustments are what this series is all about now. Can  George Karl find the right lineups and implement the proper tweaks to his team’s approach to get a win?

With everything on the line, Karl has no choice but to try every trick in his bag to try and get this series back to Oakland. Maybe that means Andre Iguodala guarding Stephen Curry for every minute that Curry plays. Maybe it means playing Andre Miller less with Ty Lawson and going with Corey Brewer at shooting guard more often. Maybe it means playing JaVale McGee more than his usual amount of minutes to give the Nuggets a shot blocking presence and athleticism they lack when he’s on the bench.

Whatever he tries, however, it needs to be different than what he’s been doing because it’s clear those tactics aren’t working.

On the Warriors’ side, the approach is simple: just keep giving the ball to Curry and letting him create until the Nuggets figure out a way to stop it. Curry has proven to be the series’ best player by a wide margin and his combination of shooting, ball handling, and play making has turned the Warrior offense into an unstoppable force.

Defensively, they need to continue to rely on Andrew Bogut to anchor the back line while using their wings to pressure ball handlers into that murky mid-range area where they’ve proven to be less effective. This combination of wing pressure and Bogut protecting the basket has given the Nuggets fits in the half-court while their choice to get back in transition rather than chase offensive rebounds has forced Denver into a more controlled style.

The Nuggets can’t win that way and they know it. They want to try and do it’s create a chaos all over the floor in order to overwhelm their opponent.

Maybe with the increased stakes and playing on their home floor they’ll be able to manufacture the energy needed to turn up the tempo. If they can pressure the Warriors’ ball handlers and create some turnovers, it would go a long way towards getting this win. It would also help if they could get out to a fast start to build some momentum, get the crowd behind them, and then ride that wave of emotion.

Needless to say, the Nuggets need something to go their way after the way the last three games have unfolded. If they can’t turn it around tonight, they’ll have a long time to think on how they let it all slip away after one of their most successful regular seasons ever.

  1. melkipershero - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    I love Mark Jackson’s style. He really has the Warriors doing the right things. Also, that Monta Ellis for Bogut swap isn’t so boo-worthy anymore, huh?

    • herkulease - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      The question mark at the time of the trade is/was Bogut’s health.

      If he could return to being atleast 15 and 10 guy its works out great. But if he can’t its horrible. You traded for damaged goods.

      Bogut got hurt again at the start of the season. Perhaps that was due to being rushed back but questions about his health will continue linger. Kind of like Curry’s ankle issues. Every tweak its like “oh no, not again”

      If the warriors can get him to play 65-70 games a year they will be very happy.
      I’m sure Bogut has every reason to try and stay health. His contract is up after next season.

      • 4thquartermagic - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:37 PM

        Exactly. Bogut has always flashed talent he’s just not exempt from the perils of being over 7 feet tall. Those being, always one play away from getting re-injured.

  2. mungman69 - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    The Warriors look like the far better team. I’m surprised.

  3. kanemoney - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Translation: the Nuggets need to become a defense minded team overnight…

    • 4thquartermagic - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:35 PM

      Actually the Nuggets have been defensive minded all year. Their undoing is the lack of execution on the defensive end.

      4 guys hustling on D, won’t cut it.
      Watching every shot, hoping they miss, and not boxing out, won’t cut it.

      Nuggets won 57 games for a reason,, they ARE a good team.

      A decisive win at home, will remind them of it.

  4. bifford - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    Jackson has really made the Warriors an impressive team. Kudos to him.

  5. 4thquartermagic - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Quite frankly the simple fact is that the underdog has flipped the script and dictated every game. GS amazing shooting has made Denver reactive and forced to the be the team that adjusts.

    You don’t win 57 games and become the #3 seed to be bullied by the #6 seed.

    Karl needs to say, we’re gonna play OUR game and not give up on it when GS makes a run.
    Play tough D, rebound, hustle, and REBOUND!

    If we do those things, and lose, so be it.

    At least we go down doing exactly what brought us here.

    GO NUGGETS!!!

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