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Western road trip stop: Denver

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (0-3) at Denver Nuggets (0-3)
  • Date: November 6, 2012
  • Time: 9:00 p.m.
  • Television: FSDP

What to look for

The Detroit Pistons will play the third game of a six-game western road trip tonight when they take on a Denver Nuggets team that much like them is desperate for a victory.

The Nuggets will be playing their first home game of the season and will probably benefit from finally being at home after struggling a little on the road this season. Indeed, George Karl’s group had the best offense in the league last season but are only sporting an offensive efficiency of 95 (24th in the NBA) after three games.

This is particularly odd considering that the Nuggets are scoring a staggering 52 points in the paint on average per game, which is the second best mark in the NBA.

Denver gets so many looks at the basket thanks in large part to the combination of Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller and to some extent Danilo Gallinari. Karl likes to have the Nuggets run multiple pick-and-rolls in the same possession to force defenses to open up the lane because of their rotations. For instance, they might start with some screen roll action at the top of the key with Ty Lawson and then give the ball to Andre Iguodala on the wing and ask him to do the exact same thing; at this point because defenses are already caught in rotations, they might want to trap him hard to nullify whatever advantage he has (Iggy and Lawson are good at splitting the trap), but because the former Wildcat is good at reading defenses and delivering the ball, he will usually make a quick decision to feed the open man rolling at the basket.

More often than not, the players that end up with the ball around the rim are the likes of Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee who do a good job of finishing but also clean up their own misses quite well for second chance opportunities (Denver is second in the league in offensive rebounding per game).

In addition, Karl likes to post up Andre Miller against smaller guards for easy scores and he also likes to occasionally run a pick-and-roll with his point guard (Lawson or Miller) and Gallinari late in the shot clock to force the switch — most teams switch the pick-and-roll with under 10 seconds left on the shot clock — and quickly post up the former Knick.

All of this offensive action helps the Nuggets get a multitude of looks directly in the paint where they abuse opponents. And yet, their offense is nowhere near its level of efficiency from last season.

The Nuggets are only converting 42.7 percent of their field goals this season because they tend to have issues with running their half-court offense (more on this later) and thus end up with the ball in their hands late in the shot clock having to force a low percentage shot. Couple that with the fact that they have been shooting an abysmal 24.6 percent from 3-point range so far this season (dead last in the league), and it’s understandable that the opposition has tried as best they can to pack the paint and force shots from the outside, even though they are not always successful. Heck, with that kind of shooting, it’s incredibly impressive that they have still been able to get a multitude of shots at the rim.

The crux of the problem for George Karl’s unit has been the team’s defense in their first three games. They currently have a defensive efficiency of 105 (25th in association) and it has hindered their ability on offense.

Simply put, Denver has struggled to close out possessions defensively so far this year, despite having reputed stopper Andre Iguodala on the team this season. Their issues mostly come in the form of their inability to defend pick-and-pops as well as side pick-and-rolls.

In the pick-and-pop scenario, they simply concede the jumper to the big man and retreat to the paint, which is tricky if the opposing team has a good shooting big man (think Jerebko or Monroe from mid-range).

In side pick-and-roll situations, the Nuggets will have their most athletic big people (Faried and McGee) hedge hard on the screens to contain the dribblers, but they aren’t the quickest defenders, which means that ball-handlers can in fact turn the corner on them and get into the paint to create damage.

Add it all up and Denver surrenders 45.3 percent field goal shooting because they allow teams to score on the interior to the clip of 42 points in the paint per game (15th in the league) and also surrender a fair amount of uncontested mid-range shots.

 This poses a huge problem for a Nuggets team that houses the athleticism and quickness of Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala, Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee. They are all meant to get out in transition and get easy scores as well as wear down their opponents with the fast break and secondary break. However, so far this season, they just haven’t been able to capitalize on their strengths because their defense hasn’t been getting done.

One would assume that the Pistons would be getting the Nuggets at the perfect time, but with Denver playing their first home game and Detroit being unable to stop teams from scoring on the interior — dead last in opposition paint scoring in the NBA — it might in fact be the worse time for Lawrence Frank and company to stroll into the Pepsi Arena.

Read about the Nuggets

Roundball Mining Company.

44 Comments

  • Nov 6, 20128:12 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    I hate to bring this up but i will anyway. There are 3 left without a win this season Washington, Denver and us. So if we lose to Denver it will be down to us and Washington to launch their season. If we can’t get up against the Nuggets then maybe we can get Sacramento tomorrow night. I am not good with history but does anyone know if the Pistons ever been the last team to get a win.

    • Nov 6, 20128:54 pm
      by Reaction

      Reply

      Washington is without Wall and Nene.. They will win a lot more when they are back.
      Denver is still working out the kinks with acquiring Iggy and they are still building chemistry. I think Denver will beat the Pistons this game 

    • Nov 6, 201210:58 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      That’s a tough stat to dig up.

  • Nov 6, 20128:34 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Oh and while i’m bring up old sh1t…the last game against the Nuggets was that game we lost (March 21) where McGee’s had that dunk with five seconds left and Ben Gordon hit his first 9 3 pointers without a miss.

  • Nov 6, 20128:36 pm
    by I HATE U FRANK

    Reply

    All i wanna see is adjustments…. thats all 

    • Nov 6, 20129:17 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      Did you change your username Ray?

      • Nov 6, 20129:19 pm
        by Patrick Hayes

        Reply

        He did a couple days ago. It’s subtle, isn’t it?

        • Nov 6, 20129:59 pm
          by I HATE YOU FRANK

          Reply

          Yeah! Until I see change!

          • Nov 6, 201210:03 pm
            by gmehl

            I guess you’re not voting for Obama either Ray :-)

          • Nov 6, 201210:11 pm
            by Vince

            Hehehehehe

  • Nov 6, 20129:24 pm
    by Lee

    Reply

    Is there any way to watch the games without having cable/satellite via the internet or something?

  • Nov 6, 20129:42 pm
    by Vince

    Reply

    Drummond for 3! Hahahaha that was awesome.

  • Nov 6, 20129:53 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Our bench is outscoring our starters 22 to 18

  • Nov 6, 201210:05 pm
    by Vince

    Reply

    Maxiell can’t defend Faried for sh*t

    • Nov 6, 201210:10 pm
      by Vince

      Reply

      I’m going to start counting how many times Maxiell fails to box out Faried or lets him have his way… I’ll start at 4…

      • Nov 6, 201210:12 pm
        by Vince

        Reply

        Wow. You know you’re doing a poor job when the coach sends Charlie Villanueva to replace you.

      • Nov 6, 201210:13 pm
        by gmehl

        Reply

        We are getting out rebounded 24-12.

  • Nov 6, 201210:06 pm
    by I HATE YOU FRANK

    Reply

    Our bench has shooters …. Scorers/athletes….and shot-blockers ….all of the things our starting line up doesn’t ….

    A little adjustment could make out team so well rounded

  • Nov 6, 201210:11 pm
    by I HATE YOU FRANK

    Reply

    We need shooters in the starting line up …. And a real shot blocker ….. I’m tired of us losing for the same reasons

    • Nov 6, 201210:14 pm
      by Vince

      Reply

      Hey they’re playing pretty well tonight, granted the subs always play well, but Monroe and Stuckey seem to have woken up, defense is a bit better but Maxiell is shockingly bad. Drummond should’ve kept playing.

  • Nov 6, 201210:14 pm
    by zdwtr

    Reply

    fire frank!

  • Nov 6, 201210:16 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    “AND ONE !”

  • Nov 6, 201210:24 pm
    by I HATE YOU FRANK

    Reply

    They need to give Drummond a chance in the post…. He has a physical mismatch problem

  • Nov 6, 201210:30 pm
    by I HATE YOU FRANK

    Reply

    Kosta Kuofus and Faried are killing us on the inside ….

  • Nov 6, 201210:38 pm
    by Vince

    Reply

    I can get Gortat, Howard and Asik owning us inside, but Kosta Koufos… Its friggin KOSTA KOUFOS. Maxiell is letting Faried do whatever he wants, Greg is trying his best to limit Kosta but its obviously not enough, wouldn’t it be nice if we had a 7 footer… or two … who can block shots and play D? 

    Oh wait. 

  • Nov 6, 201210:42 pm
    by Vince

    Reply

    Rebounding is a game basic. My high-school coach told us that you can’t win without rebounds, it can’t be that hard for an NBA coach to realize that we’re getting killed on the boards and that its affecting us offensively.

    They’re playing well but damn man, they haven’t been rebounding well at all, not today and not since Opening Night. Defense and Rebounding are really shifty, and I hope it gets better as the season progresses…

  • Nov 6, 201211:02 pm
    by I HATE YOU FRANK

    Reply

    I hate this defense too much switching …. It leave 3 point shooters open and it take rebounders out of position…

  • Nov 6, 201211:05 pm
    by I HATE YOU FRANK

    Reply

    I guarantee Frank has lost this team… They don’t even play like they trust the coach…. Make the change now!

  • Nov 6, 201211:12 pm
    by I HATE YOU FRANK

    Reply

    Back to back blow out just great for a young teams self-esteem!!!! Back to back to back to back games where our starting line up is dominated again on the inside…

    Bright Side: both Dwight and McGee shows how fun it would be if we had an athletic big man to use …with loops and alley oops … (Sarcasm)

    We have the worst coach in the NBA!

    • Nov 6, 201211:20 pm
      by Vince

      Reply

      Starting to look a bit foolish now aren’t ya?

    • Nov 6, 201211:33 pm
      by Reaction

      Reply

      Can you please stop posting? It’s like spam now… completely pointless and useless

  • Nov 6, 201211:30 pm
    by Vince

    Reply

    Woooo Shabazz ’13!

    • Nov 6, 201211:33 pm
      by Reaction

      Reply

      Yuuhaaa :) Future Superstar right there if we get em

    • Nov 7, 20128:25 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      And then he can sit on the bench with Drummond.

  • Nov 6, 201211:50 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    Yada Yada Yada Yada get a new coach. We get out rebounded and you don’t consider monroe and drummond. ?????????????????? I’m numb now when I watch Pistons games no reaction, cause I know when we’re on a fast break I know we’ll bobble the ball and turn it over. Monroe good game but play better defense and stop saying And One every time you shoot the ball, just make a good shot. Knight , shoot the ball. And Frank , go back to video analyst your not a coach sorry . IMHO
     

  • Nov 6, 201211:58 pm
    by I HATE YOU FRANK

    Reply

    LOL@ Spam!

    Are you watching the same game that I am? And Denver isn’t even a good team…

    We have talented enough players to have a legit starting 5 … With a solid 5-6 player rotation …

    But because the defense is so wack …and the rotation is horrible…its like we are screwed …. Other than the Houston game we are alway trying to rally from 10-15 points down…with like 4 minutes left …

    That how bad we are right now, I comment on the game and it seems like spam

    • Nov 7, 201212:06 am
      by Vince

      Reply

      Ray, you used to make good observations, now you just talk crap. Denver isn’t a good team? Really? The Denver Nuggets, the team who has made the playoffs for the past what? 6 ish years? Who’ve had a good offseason and have a very intriguing mix of young players with talent on their roster? Sure they started off bad but come on! Denver is always in the playoff mix, they’re a good team.

      I’ll agree that our defense is terrible, and the rotations sometimes inflexible and curious, but tonight’s game was good, apart from Knight/Prince and Max, they played well and the rotations actually worked out well.

      Its frustrating to see how they’re playing after all the hype and buildup surrounding them during the offseason, but damn man. Lighten up.

      • Nov 7, 20128:10 am
        by I HATE U FRANK

        Reply

        “Denver isn’t a good team? Really? The Denver Nuggets, the team who has made the playoffs for the past what? 6 ish years? Who’ve had a good offseason and have a very intriguing mix of young players with talent on their roster? Sure they started off bad but come on! Denver is always in the playoff mix, they’re a good team”

        They havent played well during the season(outside on the Miami Game where u can argue they caught Miami the end of a back to back)….and they didnt play well during the last 4 games of the pre-season…. as factor of fact…if you include the last 4 games of the pre-season they had lost 7 games in a row…

        As a team they were shooting 27% for 3′s … against us they shot 10-30 in 3′s… but from the looks they recieved from our defense they could have easily shot 50% or better…  Gallinari, Brewer and Lawson all missed 3 pointers where they were wide open and had enough time to set there feet due to our (GREAT Trapping Defense, that my nephew could decipher..)

        Denver coming into the game against us only averaged 97ppg…but against us they scored 109….They allowed 101ppg …but we were held to 97 points…including two meaningless buckets in the last minute….

        so they have not been a good team….We have just been a WORSE TEAM!

        “I’ll agree that our defense is terrible, and the rotations sometimes inflexible and curious, but tonight’s game was good, apart from Knight/Prince and Max, they played well and the rotations actually worked out well.
        Its frustrating to see how they’re playing after all the hype and buildup surrounding them during the offseason, but damn man. Lighten up.”
        We lacked Size,Talent,and speciaility players last year, so losing was acceptable because we made soo many strides as a team…. especially based on the mess that happened the year before….

        This year, im not saying we are a power house or loaded…but the talent,size, and speciality players have improved….

        Drummond – Size and Talent
        Kim English – 3 point Specialist
        Singler – Scoring Talent

        They have shown they can be effective and productive when given the opportunity to make an impact…. But we have a coach that refuses to adjust…. so that I will not lighten up on Frank because he is going to lose this team…. the same way Kuester did…

    • Nov 7, 20121:04 am
      by Reaction

      Reply

      Denver is an amazing team. They are just having trouble adjusting right now. Wait for the end of the season to call Denver not a good team.

      • Nov 7, 20124:55 pm
        by I HATE U FRANK

        Reply

        we did not play a good Denver team…what they will become i dont know , but what they were before last night was not a good team..,,

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