The Battle of The Stars was Even, But The War Goes to the Old Veteran; Cleveland 125-109 Over Denver
Points: Cavs’ LeBron 27, Nuggets’ Jokic 27; Boards: LeBron 5, Jokic 13; Assists: LeBron 12, Jokic 4.
The Cavaliers had just too much firepower last night in Cleveland. There was just too much experience with the Cavs. There were just too many All-Stars against the Nuggets. There were just too many tired legs for the Nuggets. There were 3 starters out for the Nuggets.
Denver played valiantly. Against the world champions they fought even for a half, 59-55 But the reality of 4 games in 5 nights, playing back to back games with three starters out became apparent. How can you win under these circumstances?
After the first half the Nuggets couldn’t shoot and the opposition could. This has happened before during this year although Denver has been better during the third quarter as of late.
Notwithstanding tired legs, this is all mental and preparations focus.
The Nuggets missed the target and the Cavs plastered the target.
Tired legs equals poor defense.
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Tired legs led to hoisting 3 after 3 for Denver as it’s easier than driving, but with tired legs results: 12-37, 32.4%. Their arrows missed the mark and were largely short.
Cleveland shot over the Nuggets beyond the rainbow hitting 15-30, 50%. They took better shots. There was a 9 points differential.
Under the rainbow it was Nuggets 39-97, 40.2% and the Cavaliers shot 46-84, 54.8%. That’s a 14 point differential. End of game.
The Cavs had more effort on defense. This was the result of the difference with their fresh legs. The Nuggets had big hearts but tired legs.
Good Effort Coach Malone
Give Coach Malone a good grade for game plan and focus. He substituted with tired legs in mind, even giving Mike Miller some significant time.
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But, shorthanded, the Nuggets could just not compensate when the Cavs came out with a blitzkrieg to start the third quarter with a 18-0 run.
Remember, outside of maybe Kawhi Leonard, perhaps no one in the league can stop LeBron James.
There was a valiant effort by the vets and Jamal Murray to get it close, but no banana.
Jamal showed he is ready to attack regardless of who he is playing with 16 points on 5-11 shots in 17 minutes.
He probably should have played more. When he gets stronger, he will be able to D-up more effectively on the Kyrie’s and Curry’s of the league.
There were still some bright spots
New observations from this game include an O’Bryant viewing. The powerful youngster had 6 points and a couple of boards in 11 minutes. At 157 pounds he can bang, move and is aggressive. He averaged 18 in the D-league and probably deserves more exposure. He is also tough as a defender.
The Nuggets particularly missed Danilo Gallinari’s accuracy and Kenneth Faried’s rebounds and if they would have played, the game could have been closer.
This was a tremendous experience for the young Denver squad. Get some rest and get the squad cars out for another fun run on the West Coast on Monday vs. Golden State.
Hope our men are more healthy and rested.
If they hedge and trap Golden States three point guns, it might be closer than you think.