Carmelo Anthony looked tired and uninterested from the opening tip. He only scored 15 points in 29 minutes. Rueben Patterson was the Nuggets best offensive threat. He logged 20 points on 9-16 shooting and pulled four rebounds. Marcus Camby was the only other bright spot for the Nuggets. The Nuggets center had ten points, 17 rebounds, and rejected two shots. As a team, the Nuggets only shot 40% from the field, and 20% from behind the three-point arch. The tempo was slow and there wasn’t much fast break. Andre Miller only handed out one assist.
For lack of better words, the Nuggets really mailed this one in. They were only down seven at halftime, but at that point the Nuggets had thrown in the towel. The second half collapse only fruited 37 points and saw the Nuggets ending up playing eleven deep. My question is this; If your going to tank the final two games, why not just sit every starter except Andre Miller, (because of the consecutive game streak), in hopes of coming out fresh for the playoffs? The Nuggets have made no attempt to compete in the last two games since winning the Northwest Division, and now have two games that have little to no playoff implications left. Any chances of securing home court advantage have escaped, and now the Nuggets are just waiting to see who lands in the sixth seed.
The thing that has me most paranoid about the way the Nuggets are playing right now is the potential negative momentum they are compiling with the big show about to begin. Either they are giving us an Oscar worthy performance of playing possum, or are legitimately trying to win these last few games and can’t figure out a way to get fired up. In any possible scenario, the Nuggets are going to need to flip the rhetorical switch in about a week because I predict that starters are going to be sat against the Rockets and Sonics. Luckily, the Rockets will be without Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming when the Nuggets host their last home game of the regular season. So maybe Denver’s reserves can outplay Houston’s bench in a game that should resemble an inspired practice scrimmage. With no incentives to actually win either of the last two, why would the Nuggets play with any sense of urgency now? They will be watching Memphis and the Clippers and altering their game plan accordingly.