FanShot

Nuggets-Jazz Game 4: Nuggets Don't Beleive They Can Beat Jazz

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My take on Game 4: A sample: Denver actually started off the game with several offensive tweaks designed to create more room for Carmelo Anthony to operate. Middle screen/rolls put pressure on Kyrylo Fesenko to make aggressive shows, or stay in front of Melo’s drives, something the youngster had nary a prayer of doing. Denver also used a weak-side split cut that freed up Melo for an open layup. Aside from these tweaks designed to get Melo away from situations where Utah’s defenders could anticipate his drives and coax offensive fouls, the Nuggets let Aaron Afflalo attack off the dribble and draw a foul to start the game. These were signs that the Nuggets weren’t going to play as passively as they did in Game Three, and that Carmelo was going to find different ways to attack the basket aside from setting up on either elbow where the Jazz had preplanned strategies to shade or double him. After blitzing off to an early 18-11 lead, perhaps the Nuggets had come to play. Perhaps not. After the initial few minutes, Denver settled back into their predictable iso routines for the rest of the game, with several screen/rolls thrown in for show. The split and diagonal cuts tapered off, and the Nuggets again settled into playing one-on-one basketball. One-on-one basketball never works in the playoffs unless individuals have heroic performances. Unfortunately, too many Nuggets were complete no-shows.

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