Kevin Garnett and the Celtics brutalized a lazy, defensively poor Nuggets squad on Wednesday night
Well, itâ€™s over. Â Western Conference Finals Game 1 in LA. Â A home loss to Milwaukee followed by a road loss to New York will do that.Â Itâ€™s time the focus shifted from catching LA to dealing with Dallas, Utah, Phoenix, OK City and all the rest of the capable teams within striking distance.Â The 2 seed is of the utmost importance considering the Nuggets havenâ€™t won a road series since 1994.
At least the Nuggets have Boston tonight to find their legs.Â Yes Boston and Denver have played even the last couple of years (1-1 four years straight, 8-7 last 15 meetings), but in recent games against Boston when Denver wins they dominate and when Boston wins itâ€™s close.Â Denverâ€™s starters are about even with Boston, but the bench tends to play big against the Celtics. (Chris Anderson in particular, who Boston has shown time and time again they simply have no answer for.)
11:45 First play out, the Nuggets elect to leave Kevin Garnett unguarded under the basket, easy alee-opp.Â Â Not a good sign.
8:38 Both teams, are playing some pretty lazy defense out of gate (Boston up 10-9) The only reason the scoreâ€™s not higher is that Boston keeps the pace so slow.
5:28 A nice slow game just as the Celtics like it, and oddly enough Boston is by up 3 early with better transition play.Â Â The Nuggets offensively are getting good looks and getting good drives, they just need to finish.Â After a Johan Petro travel, Boston calls a timeout (odd for Boston to call the timeout, theyâ€™re on a roll).Â
4:27 Aaron Afflalo has found his range: heâ€™s 2-3 with a 3pt and a FT for 6 points.Â So far heâ€™s being left open.Â The Nuggets are turning up the speed of the game and starting to get the scoring going.
End Quarter Celtics 30-27
Pretty boring, slow-paced game.Â Blame the high score on the refs calling a high-foul game (13 first quarter fouls) which resulted in load of FTâ€™s.Â Glen Davis and Rajon Rondo each have two fouls, so itâ€™s time to give the ball to Carmelo Anthony and let him carve up the bench players.
2nd QuarterÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
9:13 The Refs are continuing to calls loads of fouls, which is contributing to the slow pace but also keeping the Nugget in a game theyâ€™re playing a little flat in.Â
6:31 The Nuggets are showing some commitment to letting J.R. Smith just run the offense and so far it has elicited mixed results.Â Every play has been good, resulting in points or open looks or foul shots.Â The problem is J.R. Smith is 1-4 from the charity stripe.
3:50 The Nuggets defense has fallen off a cliff. Â No one rotating, shots arenâ€™t being challenged.Â
3:31 I addition to the poor defense, the Nuggets have suddenly forgotten how to make a FT (11-18 FTâ€™s).Â Between Nene and Smith theyâ€™ve missed 5 FT in the last two minutes.
5:23-0:01 Celtics go on a 17-7 run, due to lazy defense, poor rebounding, and missed FTâ€™s.Â The key sequence was one Boston possession in which the Celtics got 5 offensive rebounds and the Nuggets got 2 fouls.
End Quarter 61-51
51 in one half against Boston is respectable.Â Allowing Boston to score 61 is pathetic.Â Â Boston had two 30-point quarters.Â Keep in mind that the Celtics are averaging 99 points a game and they are already almost two-thirds of the way to that average halfway through the game.
Pretty much everything must get better.Â Â The Nuggets are trailing in virtually every category:
FG 54%-53%, FT 82%-65%, Dimes 19-11, Boards 21-16, TO 4-7
The Nuggets are still in it though, and it certainly says something that they are only down by 10 in game they should be down by 20.
10:32 The bad defense continues right into the second half.Â Â No energy.
7:08 The Nuggets canâ€™t get a break, Anthony has had three layups in a row rim out.Â On the other end either the Nuggets donâ€™t block out, or they do and the ball bounces out to the perimeter.
4:07 Nuggets put together a few good possessions in a row to claw back to 16 poinst downs.Â Â It all began with a Â drive to the basket.Â
1:31 Ty Lawson is back in the game and the Nuggets have closed the lead to 10.Â Melo is starting to get the offense going.
0:58 Nuggets cut the lead to single digits on a Melo FT.
0:00 Nuggets play great defense to force a bad 3 pointer from Nate Robinson, Anderson gets a fantastic effort rebound and then throws a pass all the way down to J. R.Â who buries a three as time expires.Â Â 6-point swing.
End Quarter Celtics 87-80
Nuggets have clawed their way back into the game. Â One more good quarter should win it now.
9:35 After the Celtics come out of the break hot, the Nuggets reestablish the defense and are threatening again.Â The Celtics are settling for jump shots and that helps.
6:46 The Refs are giving nothing upâ€¦ thereâ€™s been questionable whistle on the last four possessions.Â
4:14 Celtics are up 14 and are in burn-the-clock mode. Â
2:32 The Nuggets have given up.Â
End Game Celtics 113-99
Bad game all the way around for the Nuggets and now the Mavericks have the 2-spot.Â This is the type of game that can only have one of two long-term consequences.Â Either 1.) The Nuggets will regroup and become focused and angry and win 5 of their next 6, or 2.) the wheels will come off and the Nuggets will lose 4 of their next 5.
The next game is Toronto, which represents the best chance to win left of this road trip.Â I think we will know very quickly which Nuggets team will show up over the next week and a half.