The Nuggets are coming apart. They were wiped off the floor in Game 2 of a series they were supposed to be competitive in. J.R. Smith started saying J.R Smith things and now there’s a question of whether all that momentum of Game 1 was a figment of their imagination, or some fantasy concocted by those who like story lines more than actual basketball. For the Thunder, that proverbial “playoff gear?” It would appear they’ve hit it. If Game 1 showed what they could accomplish with only contributions from Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, Game 2 showed the danger of the Thunder at full operational capacity.
The Nuggets have to find a level of defense they haven’t really performed at all season. They were 15th in effective field goal percentage allowed, and while the numbers improved after the trade of Carmelo Anthony, they didn’t improve enough to skyrocket the team into a good defensive position. They don’t turn you over at a high rate, nor do they won the glass, with one of the lowest offensive rebounding rates in the league. The Thunder defensively haven’t been as good as last year, but they do have the fundamental principles to play playoff basketball. The Nuggets have instead gotten away from the positive emotional tone they set down the stretch, and that’s been exacerbated by matchups.
The key for Denver is to get even contributions from all their players. They can’t afford a dip in production from player to player. No one has to be, nor can be relied upon to go off in a game, but they can’t simply disappear, either. J.R. Smith has been a no-show, and while Kenyon Martin and Birdman Anderson can’t be expected to contribute heavily, as they’re there mostly for defense in the lane, which they haven’t been great either, they have to give something.
Aaron Afflalo is expected to return for the Nuggets, and he could help, particularly with defense of James Harden, who blistered the Nuggets in Game 2. At the root of all of it, though, is emotion. The Nuggets have to feed on the home crowd and the “us against the world” approach they took after the trade. OKC is in the new position of being the favorites, up two games to none. They still need to take that attitude of fierceness, however. Slacking off and Denver will seize the opportunity. This series looks firmly in control of the Thunder. But series like this can change so quickly, they had better not leave anything to chance.
Andrew Bogut left just 10 minutes into Dallas’ eventual loss to Charlotte Monday with what looked to be a hyperextended knee. After the game, coach Rick Carlisle said an MRI was coming, but they expected Bogut to miss time.
Looks like it will be a couple of weeks at least, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
The Mavericks are 8.6 points per 100 possessions better when Bogut is on the court, all because their defense is vastly superior when he is on the court.
With Bogut out, look for Dwight Powell to get more run.
Bogut’s name has come up in trade rumors, this kind of injury isn’t going to change that.
Meyers Leonard grew up in Illinois. He played at the University of Illinois.
So, last night’s Trail Blazers-Bulls game in Chicago was a bit of a homecoming for him.
That’s probably why he was particular perturbed the Bulls’ PA announcer kept calling him Myles. So, the Portland big man issued a stern correction:
For anyone in the Midwest, I trimmed this into a handy Vine you can use in case anyone asks which grocery store you’re headed to:
Warriors guard Klay Thompson possessed the ball for 1:28 last night.
Teammate Ian Clark had it for 2:05.
Obviously, Thompson made a little more of his opportunities.
Thompson scored an insane 60 points in 29 minutes in Golden State’s win over the Pacers.
Remarkably, he didn’t hijack the offense to produce those eye-popping numbers. Thompson shot a cool 21-of-33 from the field, and 20 of his baskets were assisted. In addition to Clark, Stephen Curry,Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Shaun Livingston all possessed the ball longer than Thompson.
In fact, nobody has come close to scoring so much while having the ball so little.
Here are the highest scoring games since the NBA began publishing possession time in 2013-14, marking points in time of possession:
The the second-lowest time of possession on that leaderboard was also by Thompson. He scored 52 points in 2:40 of possession against the Kings in 2015.
But even that game required more than a minute of extra touch time.
Who has scored the most points in a game while possessing the ball for fewer than two minutes? Again, Thompson litters the list – with last night blowing the rest out of the water:
- Klay Thompson (GSW-IND 12-5-16):60 in 1:28
- Klay Thompson (GSW-DAL 1-27-16):45 in 1:40
- Bojan Bogdanovic (BRK-PHI 3-15-16):44 points in 1:53
- Klay Thompson (GSW-PHO 12-16-15):43 in 1:17
- Anthony Davis (NOP-UTA 11-22-14):43 points in 1:36
Maybe Thompson knew what he was talking about when he said he wasn’t sacrificing for Durant. Even with his usage rate down slightly, Thompson has still found ways to flourish. He gets hot in a hurry.
It does take him a while to cool down, though.
Ever been so excited you didn’t know to react?
That was Stephen Curry as Klay Thompson worked his way toward 60 points in 29 minutes, running from the bench toward midcourt then doubling back and heading right into the tunnel.
Eventually, Curry found his senses and tried to put out the fire.