I typically don’t focus my articles on the other team, (I usually don’t even mentioned who scored what for them), but in this case I think that its important to examine the fine tuning of the Suns. This fine-tuning that I'm speaking of are the intangibles that a team with a pure team concept embraces. Take a look at the stats if you don’t believe me. First, the Suns collectively passed out 27 assists to the Nuggets 14. This signifies that not only do the Suns make the smart pass to open teammates, but even more importantly is they make passes from good shot opportunities to better opportunities. They move the ball phenomenally, especially around the perimeter.
Next, and most importantly, is the way that the Suns make you play their style of game. They realize that they are the best at what they do and if they can make another team try out score them. Nine times out of ten they are going to win the game. This is where I felt the game was won and lost. Trading buckets with the Suns and trying to win the game is basically a mission impossible. The Nuggets never really hunkered down on defense when they were closing in on the Suns and consequentially were out gunned.
The usually suspects were all involved for the Nuggets. Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points. Andre Miller scored 24 and passed out six assists, but turned the ball over four times. Marcus Camby tossed in seven points, rejected three shots, and snared 15 rebounds. The last stat column in the game that the Nuggets were outfoxed in was bench scoring. The Suns were huge off the bench with 31 points compared to the 17 the Nuggets mustered.
It is obvious that the Nuggets didn’t exactly play their ‘A’ game, but there were incredible positives that can be built on from this loss. They were right there with a chance to win in the fourth quarter with the Suns. Maybe with a little bit more of bench contribution Denver wins this game. Maybe with a little bit tighter defense the Nuggets win this game by a big margin. Maybe, maybe, maybe... However, this loss doesn’t kill the Nuggets. They still have the third seed come playoff time and can look at this game and fine tune the areas that it’s going to take to beat the Suns in a potential second round rendezvous.