Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Nuggets Are In Trouble

Waiting for the fourth quarter to start during last night's Lakers/Nuggets game, Allen Iverson had 49 points, and it looked as though L.A. had no answer for "The Answer". Furthermore, Kobe Bryant had only 13 points. The crowd was going nuts, AI was on fire, and everything seemed in place for a Nuggets win. But then, Kobe started going off, Iverson got cold, and the Lakers pulled out the W. So what happened?

The same thing as always. Denver started throwing up ill-advised jumpers, got away from Iverson, and failed to play any defense at all. There are two people to blame for all of this: George Karl and Carmelo Anthony.

A lot of credit is due to Phil Jackson and company, since they did a good job getting the ball out of Iverson's hands, who had only 2 points on 1-4 shooting in the fourth. But before the Lakers went on lock down mode, the Laker's best defense was Denver's offense. In the middle of AI's shooting spree, they went away from their star, settling for jump shots. Anthony did this the most, shooting fade aways and jumpers while double teamed, not even looking for Iverson. When a guy has 49 points through the first three quarters, you must attempt to look for him. The Nuggets did not.

George Karl didn't do much to help his team's cause, either. He obviously didn't do enough to make sure Iverson got looks, never reprimanded Melo for his selfish play, and as always, couldn't get his team to play a lick of defense. It's absurd how this team plays considering the talent that they have.

Unless they get things figured out, quickly, it will be another one-and-done come playoff time. Once the Laker's made a conscious effort to shut down Iverson, everybody else on the Nuggets seemed lost on what to do. So Anthony took horrible shots, and so did J.R. Smith. The Lakers basically played 3 on 4 defense and still shut Denver down.

With the lack of discipline and direction that is plaguing the Nuggets, one wonders what has to change. Either Karl or Anthony has to go. In Karl's defense, it's hard to have any chemistry when your franchise star is selfish. Anthony has to defense. He has a hard time sharing time with Iverson, even though the latter has changed his game to better the team. He has no concept of team play.

If the Nuggets want to make that leap towards the top, either Melo has to swallow his pride or the Nuggets need to deal him. But they won't let him go, so that leaves only one option. And since Karl can't seem to right the ship, Denver has to bring somebody in who can. Sad, yes. Fair, no. But it's the only way.


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