Marlowe blog: Not a road trip to remember
Performance against defending champs encouraging for Nuggets
“Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” -- Clement Clarke Moore
The plane ride home from Miami to Denver was as quiet as I’ve ever seen it. No loud music, no big laughs, no jokes, no storytelling.
Players, coaches, staff, and assorted media types were all subdued after a 0-3-road trip to start the season.
To make matters worse, the Nuggets lost a road trip ending heartbreaker to the NBA Champion Heat.
In my mind, there are two categories of close losses:
Games you COULD have won but didn’t really deserve to.
And games you SHOULD have won but just couldn’t get the job done.
Saturday’s game at Miami falls into category No. 2.
The Nuggets did everything but win. They scored 116 points, shot 51.5% from the field, out-rebounded the Heat by 15, committed only 13 turnovers and put seven players in double figures.
So why didn’t they win?
In my opinion there were two reasons for the Denver loss.
First, defensively they allowed 119 points! You won’t win many giving up that many!
Second, on the biggest play of the night, leading by one, the Nuggets couldn’t get the stop they needed. Cory Brewer came off Ray Allen to help with LeBron James and got burned.
As you may know, Ray Allen is arguably the greatest jump shooter in NBA history. (“Maverick—you never, never leave your wingman.” -- Top Gun)
Now to the good news . . . against Miami, the Nuggets finally looked like the team we expected to see this season!
They ran, passed, hustled and scored at will.
Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee were sensational, running, jumping and rebounding.
Andre Miller scored 17 points on 8 of 10 shooting and continues to give the Mile High Crew a big lift off the bench.
And, best of all, newcomer Andre Iguodala showed All-Star form and a propensity to hit big shots. Like the one he made against Miami with 14 seconds remaining to give Denver a one-point lead!
Ever since Carmelo Anthony was traded to the New York Knicks, Denver has been looking for a replacement closer. I think they finally have one in the new AI.
He is tall, fast, jumps and has the escape ability to be able to shake defenders and get off a last second shot attempt. And better yet, the Philly Flash wants to take the big shot!
That is reassuring to know going forward.
It wasn’t a road trip to remember, and I’m guessing that as the season goes along and the Nuggets start to win, it will be quickly forgotten.
Remember, it’s not always how you start, it’s how you finish!