Do You Hear What I Hear? Lost in the last four minutes... again...
Dec 19, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea (5) looks to pass the ball during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
The Denver Nuggets once again dropped a disappointing game in crunch time.
The game against Atlanta sounds like an echo. We lost the game in the last four minutes. Do you hear what I hear?
I recently wrote on game management as a reason we were losing, along with fatigue and preparation.
We were reasonably prepared for Atlanta, and well rested, it appeared.
But, critical in game management is the four minute drill. Playing the last four minutes of the game.
First four minutes of the game, don’t get down ten.
Four minutes before the end of each quarter, act as though you are down ten. You have four minutes to catch up, or get up ten.
If you are up or down six or eight, talk and think that it has to be ten to show who is in command.
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This way you can practice your last four minutes of the game.
Dec 20, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jameer Nelson (1) reacts during the third quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. The Los Angeles Clippers won 119-102. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Urgency and Experience
Play with urgency and experience.
Urgency means desperation under control.
Experience means you have practiced the plays, passes, screens and shots in your heads and physically over and over, and then again.
Circumstance, whether by the referees or by fouls or play, has to be compensated for with a proper response, and understanding what exactly is going on in the game.
This is true especially with the four minutes before the end of the quarter.Just think, next time I’ll do this.
Dec 20, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (35) loses the ball while defend day Los Angeles Clippers forward Marreese Speights (5) during the second quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
What to Know
Know the other coach. What is he likely to do?
We should know how to counter his move. As to our defensive and offensive coaches, are you in constant communication with the head coach during the game with suggestions as a result of your laborious preparation?
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Knowing to not get a technical. Knowing to not foul. Knowing what the other team is probably going to do and what their second option will probably be.
More importantly, knowing how we can take advantage of a match-up in the offense. Play terrific defense without an offense and you lose.
And worse if you play lousy defense. Knowing the opposition’s strengths, propensities, and execution probabilities, especially in the waning minutes of the game should be embedded in our players during preparation and film review and collectively discussed.
This means knowing what we should be able to take advantage of in the offense.
Who is hot? Who is not? Who has the eye of the tiger tonight? Who has the experience? Who is the best second shot option? Know the seconds remaining.
Give yourself a little room for the unforeseen.
Dec 20, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler (21) drives the ball defended by Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers (25) during the first quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
The Thorn in Our Side
End game situations seem to be a thorn to the Nuggets side. Before we play the Clippers, will we be prepared? Are we going to practice specific end of game situations when we are close?
If we are ten points ahead with four minutes left, we should play as though we are ten points behind. Otherwise we hold back. Every time. No way to win. Again, don’t play to lose. Champs don’t.
Do we want to stay immature and on the defense, like we better lock up or we might lose?
If we focus on not losing, we will surely be in jeopardy; if we focus on winning each possession as though it is the last one, individually and collectively, our success probability increases.
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We tend to focus on defense in the end, creating the image of trying to not lose rather than winning. Not losing? This creates a possible losing posture.
The urgency should be in winning, with controlled aggression as being much more productive and focused. This is what Atlanta did.
They were urgent to make the right thing happen, not scared as a defensive posture can be. They played the last four minutes.
We must know what is going on, before execution.
Who are the match-ups? What are the options on both sides of the floor?
We understand the ideal that defense is ultimately more important than offense, but, if the defense falters, the offense can get muddled out of fear of losing or “not hitting it.”
Dec 20, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) drives the ball defended by Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler (21) during the third quarter at Staples Center. The Los Angeles Clippers won 119-102. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Clippers the Next Big Match-up?
Oh well, Clippers the next big game, huh. Yea. Huh?
How much end game preparation will we spend on this one?
Will we get close to the end of the game? Use the four minute rule.
Now, regarding management, do we make sure Nurkic has learned his lesson, by darn, even if he might be able to help?
Was leaving Gallo out the right decision with Atlanta? Maybe, or did we learn from this judgement and can we face it and make adjustments.
Adjustments and position is the name of the game.
“I’ll make the end of game choices, regardless of the outcome.”
Sorry to reflect what we see, but, unless we are given an explanation, what does it appear like?
Dec 10, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (0) dribbles the ball past Orlando Magic forward Serge Ibaka (7) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
In everything use wisdom, not pride.
Wisdom is truth and experience, faith and execution.
Pride is “I,” “me,”” mine,” and comes before the fall.
After all that frustration here is something to ponder: What would we be saying if Chandler’s basket had gone in?
Of course, we would be discussing Gallo’s great game.
But not last night.