As you all may know, I go to a Nuggets game from time to time. Tonight the Nuggets game was also a Blazer game. Seeing that this is a Blazer site, I’m going to talk about it here. If you have a problem with that, talk to Snug. Anyway the game was basically decided by two problems from the Blazers end:
Obviously Kenneth Faried is an absolute animal and he will get his, but he got way too many way too easily last night. If he’s going to get offensive rebounds, make him rip them away. And the ability of the other Nuggets to basically use misses as putbacks was ridiculous. The Blazers now basically start three forwards and a center, but Kosta Koufos and Timofey Mozgov simply clobbered the front line on the glass. Actually, let me correct that, there was generally very little “clobbering” to do. Most of those extra possessions were uncontested.
It was as horrible in person as it looked on TV. LaMarcus and Gerald looked like they had no idea what to do once a shot went up, unless they were under instructions to actively run as far away from the ball as possible.
Inability to exploit matchups
In soccer a common saying is that a team with two strikers will have difficulty controlling the midfield but should be able to finish chances more efficiently, while a team that plays one striker will create more chances but have trouble finishing. That’s sort of how I feel about the Blazers’ current lineup. Playing a shooting guard with three forwards and a center or four forwards gives the team tremendous size mismatches (Wallace is as big as Faried, to make no mention of the hilariously skinny Corey Brewer).
Unfortunately, neither Wallace nor LaMarcus Aldridge looked particularly interested in destroying the inadequate defenders the Nuggets tried to run at them. You can make plenty of excuses here: Mozgov and Koufos got away with pretty physical play, and Crawford obviously isn’t a natural point guard so the sets didn’t look butter smooth. But c’mon, it’s freaking Timofey Mozgov and Kosta Koufos. And Corey Brewer. These guys are trade throw-ins and the Blazers’ best players (if we’re still calling Wallace that) need to expose them as such.
Really that’s all there is to say about this game. It was an atrocious effort by the Blazers, and the scoreline was only respectable because Jamal was on fire and the Nuggets were cold from deep. At no point after three minutes into the game did it feel like the Blazers could summon enough energy to make a comeback and actually win.