(Boulder-CO) Let me go on record right now as saying I don't like anything about tonight's match-up with the Celtics. Compounding my position is the way Denver played in the second half last night. The first half against the Cavaliers was marvelous, but in the second the entire ball of yarn unraveled for the Nuggets. There was no sharing of the ball, very little defense, and it looked as if everyone was out for themselves.
For instance, there was a point in the game when Carmelo, instead of passing out of a double-team, tried to split Zydrunas Ilgauskas and LeBron James and turned the ball over. On another occasion, Linas Kleiza, who had just hit a three-pointer, without conscience hucked up another heat-check attempt on the next possession. J.R. Smith did the same thing later in the game, which drew criticism from Reggie "Tayshaun Prince Ended My Playoffs" Miller. Same goes for Renaldo Balkman, who I do not think has the kind of range to be shooting from 20+ feet, when he decides to let fly from deep in the corner. Call it selfish, call it desperation, but I call it players playing outside of their game and the result last night was the Nuggets displaying old tendancies and taking a loss.
Contrary to the way Denver played last night is the way Boston has been playing since their current six-game win streak started. These Celtics know how to play as a team. There's no heroes on this roster, rather only guys who do their job, play within themselves and the situation the game calls for. Furthermore, the Boston Celtics don't take quarters, halves, or nights off on the defensive end. They are allowing the second fewest points per game league wide, and are doing so by keeping their opponents to only 30 made field goals per game on the league's best opposing shooting percentage so far this season. So, forget about this notion of how well the Nuggets shoot being a gauge of whether or not Denver walks away from the Garden with a victory tonight, but rather consider how many bad shots the Nuggets are forced into by the Celtic defense serving as the true barometer of the game's outcome.
I've got a bad feeling about tonight, but I'll say it anyway....