Nuggets' playoffs disaster: How did it all go to hell so quickly?

Categories: Sports

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Videos below.
The Nuggets have made reaching the playoffs only to lose in the first round a tradition during the George Karl era. That was all supposed to change this year, though. Most wins in a single season since the Nugs joined the NBA. A third seed. Home court advantage against a team -- the Golden State Warriors -- that couldn't match up with Denver this year and had lost its only All-Star, David Lee. And yet, after another loss last night, the Nugs are on the brink of elimination.

What's gone wrong? Just about everything.

Conventional wisdom holds that a team with no go-to superstar will falter when the spotlight gets brighter. Conventional wisdom holds that a team built on running and transition buckets is roadkill when opponents actually start playing defense -- which they do only sporadically up until playoff time. Conventional wisdom holds that a team with an Achilles heel when it comes to the half-court game is not going to advance.

I hate conventional wisdom. But all too often, conventional wisdom is right.

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Denver Nuggets Facebook page
Andre Iguodala and his mates have not been able to dim the Warriors' three-point mastery.
No doubt the Nuggets have run up against a hot-shooting squad. Stephen Curry is a lights-out marksman from long distance, and the zone he's been in of late has been absolutely sick. That's how Nuggets fans feel again this morning after he put up 22 points in the third quarter in last night's 115-101 Denver loss -- and the final score makes the contest seem closer than it actually was.

But the larger issues are home-grown. The Nugs' new-hero-a-night formula, which was so exhilarating during the last two-thirds of the season, has worked exactly once in this series -- during game one, when Andre Miller went wild in the final quarter and stole a game Denver absolutely deserved to lose. But in game two, Warriors' shots seldom hit the floor without going through twine first, and while the perimeter defense improved for game three, the ability to hold a lead didn't -- leading to last night's debacle.

Now, the Nuggets must win three games in a row in order to avoid yet another first-round embarrassment. Thus far, the team has given fans no reason to hope that's possible -- and even if the players, by some miracle, accomplish this task, their weaknesses have been exposed in a way that's absolutely disheartening.

Look below to see highlights -- make that lowlights -- from last night's game, followed by George Karl's post-game remarks and comments from Steph Curry.

An optimistic post from our Sports archive: "Denver Nuggets: Five reasons they will beat the Golden State Warriors."

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15 comments
Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

Wasn't there some kind of MAJOR injury heading into this thing ? It was foolishly downplayed . 

The spreads have reflected differently from the typical close minded Denver sports fan .....

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

Last week in Yahoo, I predicted G.S. in 6 ....

NO TAKERS !!!

Jame Koopman
Jame Koopman

Play man to man and make Curry take ALL of their shots. He ain't going to score 100 against us.

Ana Abigail Iglesias Delgado
Ana Abigail Iglesias Delgado

I think the players need that motivation if they're doing that bad, there must be a disconnect within the team and their priorities.

Mickey Lee
Mickey Lee

They aren't done. They are the best team at home in the NBA and 2 of their last 3 games are home games. I'm not predicting them to win, but they still have a fighting chance.

Curtis Peckham
Curtis Peckham

Another first round exit! BUT OH NO...Don't blame Karl...definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result! Time to make a change!!

Aaron LeForce
Aaron LeForce

get rid of Karl's ass, like they should of years ago, and get phil jackson.

Todd Elsen
Todd Elsen

They are done and Karl should be as well.

Alton Dillard
Alton Dillard

Done, Karl is not a defensive coach. When a team can't defend a gimpy Steph Curry or contain Carl Landry....

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@David Kotzebue It does make you wonder how much different this series might be if Gallinari wasn't hurt. Thanks for the post, David.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Juan_Leg That's looking like a pretty good prediction right now, Juan. Thanks for posting.

ElToroSolo
ElToroSolo

@Jame Koopman I'm actually not positive this is true.

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